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منگل، 17 جولائی، 2012

US policy on the issue of Kashmir

 It is unfortunate that the world continues to ignore the reality of the denial Kashmiris birthright to decide their own future, it merits reterating is not marred by an insurgency against a lawfully established government but is a case of forcible occupation being maintained by the daily enacting of a humanitarian tragedy.

 By ruling out any solution from outside to the Kashmir dispute, US President Barack Obama may have hit the headlines in the Pakistani media. But there is nothing new to what he has said. Yes, candidate Obama did speak of working actively to give a stab to the Kashmir imbroglio during his presidential election campaign. But once in office, the formidable military-industrial complex and other US powerful lobbies exerted themselves decisively. He changed his stance and stated again and again that it was up to India and Pakistan to settle this dispute bilaterally. Not just that. He even struck off India from the equation Afghanistan-Pakistan-India that he had advocated all through the hustings for the pacification of Afghanistan and for regional peace and stability.

Yet, if in spite of that, if someone feels disappointed by this utterance of Obama, he better feel cool. For one thing, if at all by some quirk of miracle the US ever gets involved in the Kashmir dispute, the resolution would not be what some starry-eyed people in this country have given themselves to believe. The American involvement, firstly, would be prompted solely by America's own interests. And in those interests, India will definitely figure high in primacy, as the Americans have throughout envisioned India as a counterweight to an emerging China in the region. Furthermore, the Obama administration has assigned India the status of a linchpin in its new geopolitical and strategic configurations pertaining to the Asia-Pacific region as part of its China containment policy.

That is a different matter if India would play ball with the Americans and do genuflect and cringe in the American court as do the rulers of Islamabad. The chances are the Indians would keep an independent posture, as they are presently pursuing a policy of keeping their ties with China correct and cooperative. Nevertheless, if the US does get involved and the Indians too acquiesce into its mediation, the final outcome certainly would not be what the UN resolutions on the dispute envisage. It would not even be what the Kashmiris aspire for; nor what Pakistan too hopes for. It would be something else, favouring India.
All the telltale signs are there; only our political elites and the commentariat have let them past unnoticed. At this point in time, the human rights violations by the Indian trigger-happy military in the Indian-occupied Kashmir are creating ripples in parts of the West and certain section of the western media. This outcry has been sparked by the discovery of mass graves in various areas of the Occupied Kashmir, believed to be carrying remains of some 8,000 Kashmiri youths who were taken away by the Indian military years ago never to be seen again. Even the UN human rights community has begun crying over the gross mass-scale violations of the caged Kashmiris by the Indian army. Yet no voice of concern, leave alone censure, has come out from Washington. Not even on India's persistent refusal of entry in the beleaguered Kashmir Valley to a UN human rights rapporteur.

Not just that. The US had let to hide comfortably in California an Indian army major facing indictment back home for murdering more than a dozen Kashmiris, including respected human rights activist Jaleel Andrabi, in 1996. Major Avtar Singh, who recently killed himself, his wife and two children after being discovered by some journalists, had indeed escaped to America in very mysterious circumstances, manifesting collusion between the establishments of India and the United States. Firstly, the Indian army was unwilling to investigate and prosecute him but it had to cave in to tremendous public pressure in the Occupied Kashmir. Gingerly, it instituted inquiry against him and he was put on the exit control list.

And yet he made it to America. What does it show if not that both the Indian officialdom the American administration acted together to help him out of India and hole up in California? And if a further proof of this collusion is needed, that comes from the inaction of Washington and New Delhi on the red warrant issued against Singh by the Interpol. Although the local police in California had intimated his whereabouts to the Interpol, neither the United States repatriated him to India for trial nor India asked for it.

And quite significantly, right in the Kashmir valley the Indian and American militaries have just lately conducted joint counter-terrorism exercises. That alone should tell what an American intervention or mediation in the Kashmir imbroglio would mean for the Kashmiris and Pakistan. Given this, it is better if Obama keeps his hand off Kashmir dispute. His involvement won't bode well. In any case, if a solution has to come to the dispute, it has to come from negotiations between India and Pakistan. And, so far, India has shown no mind to resolve it. It is s as simple as that.

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