Dastardly deterrence and averting peace
In a bilateral discord, any international pronouncement will hold little water as matters will boil down to the crisis of implementation of corrective measures
The afternoon of June 14 came with what might have added a glimmer to the festivities in Kashmir. By evening, the lurking butchers of cheer planted a grave message.
In a first, the United Nations released its report on the situation of human rights in Kashmir (primarily, and PoK cursorily) and related developments from June 2016 to April 2018. The Indian Union's response to it is but obvious: that it is biased and reeks of some interest that it does not recognise the terrorism exported, outsourced and monitored from Pakistan. As a matter of fact, there happens to be nothing ground-breaking about this assessment. It highlights the same things which are discussed at length at various levels of political engagement. The label of the United Nations on the freshly packaged old discourse of Kashmir dispute did, however, bring respite to the separatist brigade and its UN-hallmarked acknowledgement gives validation to the persevering pursuit to draw attention to and address a deteriorating condition of humanity in Kashmir.
The UN's intervention in this bilateral dispute is an obligatory mediation and serves no real purpose. Reiterating the obvious and stating afresh the conditions for resolution, its report amounts to nothing more than an arm-chair assessment of stock taken of a situation from afar – comparable to a post-graduate assignment in its method of accomplishment. Drawing from information already available in public domain and a small number of interviews to corroborate the information, it admits to disconnect with the ground realities due to lack of access to Kashmir – just like the case with many other individuals and organisations intending to undertake a project in the region. This speaks loud enough of the powerlessness of the grand institution and the futility of banking on it for any resolution.
On the contrary, the complexity of the matter can be expected to receive a more effective mandate if it is approached from a legal perspective. Following from Kulbhushan Jadhav case between India and Pakistan, Pakistan is said to be speculating taking the case to International Court of Justice (ICJ). It is maintained by India that going to ICJ will be a redundant move and a strategy to compound the case internationally as disputed matters between India and Pakistan already stand sorted (in theory) from the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration with an MoU incorporated for a joint commitment to intensify efforts to resolve the Kashmir conflict to enhance bilateral dialogue. In what is established to be a bilateral discord, any international pronouncement will hold little water as matters will again boil down to the crisis of implementations of corrective measures.
The general assessment and coverage of human rights violation pertain exclusively to the overt violations marked by brazen harassment and physical and sexual assault with impunity. The covert violation of rights is also a constant as basic education and engagement of youth is hindered on the pretext of political turmoil. Awareness is systemically discouraged and alternate views are extinguished. In what shocked the journalist fraternity, Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari's assassination is a move to keep peace and moderation (and the effective channel of it) at bay. Journalists who have been eliminated have in common the grit to pursue their cause despite all the deterrence from the lords, fearlessness, and the refusal to cower; they were formidable counter-forces that impeded sinister anti-people agendas.
Disregard for lurking death in Kashmir has the other side brought out by the Rising Kashmir Editor. His insistence on dialogue for the resolution of persisting and festering problems in the valley without taking sides had made him a balanced means towards peace. He was crucial to Track -II diplomacy and remained truthfully on the side of Kashmir and its people, not of New Delhi or Islamabad. Silencing sane and pragmatic voices and augmenting chants for independence that betray the puppetry the citizenry is reduced to, speaks of the institutionalised methods to keep the common people ignorant and/or intimidated. Any remotely pro-India gesture is warned to meet with a violent end – simply seeking a secure job in the Army is an intolerable dare.
The UN is a body that has refused to acknowledge India's contribution to global peace. Despite being proven the best peace-keeping force, India is not permanent in the UN Security Council while the five permanent members lag far behind in contribution in terms of military, police, and civilian personnel in maintaining and establishing peace around the world. Kashmir is a conflict not frozen in time but one that has been snaking through the valley for decades. It is a region encroached upon by the industry of conflict, and, like all industries, this one's closure too remains possible in theory unless a political miracle severs and uproots it. The UN report makes extremely predictable and obvious recommendations. Pitfalls remain as there is a haunting lack of alternative narrative to fill the vacuum from dropping some abused and misused provisions like AFSPA and PSA. Mr. Bukhari's assassination stands to testify that internationalising the dispute guarantees no resolution. In the words of the slain Editor, "political dialogue is the only way." Until the elusive dialogue sees effective implementation, the carrot of peace continues to be dangled before a Kashmir that is starved for consistent normalcy.
(The author is Senior Copy Editor with Millennium Post. The views are strictly personal)