Pakistan must solve Kashmir bilaterally

Published: August 29, 2019
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Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir (PHOTO: AFP)

Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir (PHOTO: AFP)

Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir (PHOTO: AFP) The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at imran.jan@gmail.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan

The world is advising the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India to be resolved bilaterally. This is also India’s stance or rather excuse for never solving the Kashmir issue, because, in reality, they have already initiated what they call the final solution of Kashmir. So, what is to be done?

The nature of the conflict itself is such that when one state is aggressive against another, the aggressor goes to lengths justifying its move and convincing powers that matter, to avoid a reaction from the opposing state. Now, the aggressor state violates international law, then sits back and watches the state affected by its attack, plead with the international community to avoid the situation from spiralling into a crisis.

Lebanon was hit twice by Israel using a killer drone this week. The string of Israeli attacks also hit other Iranian backed targets across the Middle East. The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, told the UNSC that his government wanted international help to avoid “any slide toward a serious escalation”. When India annexed occupied Kashmir, it violated international laws and prohibitions against torture, including its own Constitution by abrogating Article 370.

What did Pakistan do, which claims to have a part of the real estate that India annexed? Firstly, it celebrated the UNSC talking about Kashmir for the first time in 50 years behind closed doors. Then Pakistan decided to take up the matter with the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Just like Hariri, PM Khan also worried about the prospects of a devastating war between Pakistan and India and asked the world community to play its role.

Hariri and Khan’s behaviour reminds me of a scene from the movie The Godfather where the mother of a young Vito Corleone pleads with the man who killed her husband and son, to make peace so her remaining son (Vito) would be spared. Khan is also pleading for Kashmir with the very world body that is partially responsible for the open-air prison IoK is. Khan should know that the man from that Godfather scene doesn’t agree to the peace offer from a helpless widow and attempts to kill her only remaining son, fearing that someday the little boy would become a vengeful man.

A civilised world, if something of the sorts existed, would respect international laws and adhere to them in all circumstances. Unfortunately, the stronger a nation becomes, the more rogue behaviour it exhibits. The elementary reason for the existence of law is to safeguard the weak from the aggression of the strong. Sadly, the law protects the aggressor and punishes the weak. Pakistan must stop expecting results. It must create them. The UN couldn’t prevent the US from invading Iraq. That was a textbook illustration of aggression based on total lies. Did we see Bush and Blair being prosecuted based on laws established at the Nuremberg Trials? We did, however, see Saddam hanging.

The world doesn’t punish war criminals otherwise, those two men would have been punished. The world punishes the weak. Therefore, we always see leaders of weak African nations prosecuted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) established by the Rome Statute. Going to the UN, at best, achieves calls for restraint and ritualistic condemnations as if both conflicting parties equally share the blame.

The world advises Pakistan bilateralism. Pakistan should adopt bilateralism by making war preparations with India. Only then would the world intervene. Pakistan should also advise the UN to find peace in Afghanistan bilaterally with the Afghans, and sit back and watch the drama play out. During Khan’s cricketing days, there used to be a cigarette ad that said: “Wills and cricket go together”. Khan should tweak it and tweet out “Afghanistan and Kashmir go together”.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2019.

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