Hopes of Kashmiris’ dashed

Published: November 10, 2010
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 Kashmiris unhappy over Obama's backing for India. photo: file

Kashmiris unhappy over Obama's backing for India. photo: file

MUZAFFARABAD: US President Barack Obama’s support for a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and his terming the Kashmir issue a bilateral matter between Pakistan and India left Kashmiris disappointed, as they had hoped for US mediation on the dispute during his India visit.

It came as a shock to many leaders of political and religious parties and to common Kashmiris after Obama declared during his address to the Indian parliament that the US would not only back India’s bid (for securing a permanent seat in the UNSC) but also propose a restructuring of the council.

They questioned how a country, which had violated security council resolutions on Kashmir several times, could contest a permanent seat at the same council.

“We were hoping for a balancing act from Obama but his address to the Indian parliament left Kashmiris disappointed. On the one hand, Obama talked about democracy and civil rights but on the other he backed India, which has been grossly violating human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and killing innocent Kashmiris struggling to seek their UN-granted right to self-determination,” senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League (N) AJK and former speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir told The Express Tribune.

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which struggles for the independence of Kashmir from both India and Pakistan, termed the US support for India a licence to kill innocent Kashmiris.

“We don’t think that the US will support the freedom movement of Kashmiris, especially when the track record shows that America hasn’t backed freedom struggles in the world in the recent past,” reacted spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Dr Toqeer Gillani. He said America is not a freedom-giver, in fact, it is a freedom usurper and the aim of Obama’s visit was to pat India on the back and let it continue what it has been doing in Kashmir.”

“I think the US president’s visit to India is harmful for Kashmiris as India will step up its repression after US support,” he added.

Common Kashmiris on both sides of the divide believe that US will never compromise on its economic interests for the cause of Kashmir, keeping in view the huge Indian market.

Ironically, a week before he was elected in 2008, President Obama said that solving the dispute over Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination — which has led to three wars between India and Pakistan since 1947 — would be among one of his “critical tasks”. Back then, his remarks were greeted with consternation in India and he has said almost nothing about Kashmir since then.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Rosh
    Nov 10, 2010 - 10:55AM

    Left the PUNJABISTANIS not the KASHMIRIS disappointedRecommend

  • Cherish Raj
    Nov 10, 2010 - 2:01PM

    I am an Indian who lives in the United States. I agree with the Pakistani view that Kashmir is the core issue between India and Pakistan. But it should have been resolved during the partition. Mohammed Ali Jinnah like Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, was constitutionally and ideologically astute but politically naive. The man who made the difference between the Indian and Pakistani camp was Sardar Patel. Jinnah believed that Kashmir would naturally merge with Pakistan and did not go for any kind of political maneuvering. On the other hand, Patel saw an opportunity to grab Kashmir and got hold of the better half of the Himalayan kingdom. At this point of history, India cannot afford to lose Kashmir and will use all her power, political, economic and diplomatic, to hold on to it. In spite of all her shortcomings, India is on the threshold of a major change. Though, half of her people are living below the poverty line, her private sector is dynamic and ambitious. For example, the market cap of India’s two biggest stock exchanges add up to $ 3 trillion.( The comparable figure for Pakistan is $ 60 billion which is almost the annual sales of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries!). These companies invest billions of dollars in different parts of the world from the US to Brazil to Ethiopia. The financial clout of these companies and India’s growth potential gives her leverage in diplomatic circles with respect to Pakistan. Nevertheless, I believe that over the course of time, India will be more mature ( maybe in 50 to 60 years) when all of her citizens are educated and she will agree to a referendum. India might evolve into a nation like Canada and opt for a Quebec style plebiscite.Now, things are more on an emotional plane rather than pragmatic and India and Pakistan have not reached a level of national maturity to solve this issue peacefully. But until then, I hope sense prevails. Recommend

  • Rosh
    Nov 11, 2010 - 6:57AM

    @Cherish Raj

    Nice try! But it is easy to make out a Paki from a non-Paki!Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    Nov 11, 2010 - 1:23PM

    LOL….Rosh, you got it wrong. My native town is Alapuzha ( Aleppey), Kerala and the town is famous for its backwaters and boat races. No, I am not a Pakistani.Recommend

  • harkol
    Nov 11, 2010 - 4:12PM

    Cherish Raj:

    Spot on. 60+ years back, ideally, Kashmir should have gone to pakistan. Today it is too late to revisit and reopen the wounds of religious basis for a division of territory.

    In these 60 years, the new theocratic islamic nations (Pakistan & Bangladesh) have systematically cleansed their Hindu Minorities (from close to 20% to less than 2% today – further depleting fast), by pushing them to third class citizens (behind sikh & christians). On contrast India has enshrined protection to all its Minorities, provided equal rights – Resulting in growth in Muslim percentage of Indian population (from 11% 60years back to above 13% today!!)

    On the back of such attrocious record, No sane country in the world will support the creation of another weak, Islamic nation (Kashmir) that will be a warm incubator to terrorists, while destroying its own minorities.

    You are right – When our entire region is more moderate and Kashmiri leadership can demonstrate a non-religious basis for seperation, perhaps a referendum can indeed be held.Recommend

  • Santosh
    Nov 11, 2010 - 10:43PM

    @Cherish Raj …though I believe you are from India..the point you made to prove it made me go ROFL…Dude it’s like saying I am from Karachi and it is the Fincancial Capital of Pakistan to prove to soimeone that I am from Karachi…Recommend

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