Kashmir: The Pursuit of the Possible


The peace initiative offered by Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan that could pave the way for the peace and stability in the region on South Asia needs to be pursued further by the world leaders. The initiative encompasses much of the deliberations that took place at the United Nations in late 1940’s. This initiative proposes: i). Expansion of UNMOGIP’s mandate to monitor the observance of the ceasefire; ii).  Reaffirmation by both India and Pakistan not to resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances; iii). Demilitarization of Kashmir; iv). an unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground.

A similar initiative was also proposed by Adlai Stevenson, the American Ambassador to the United Nations on June 15, 1962 when he said, “I refer of course to the resolutions which were accepted by both parties and which in essence provide for demilitarization of the territory and a plebiscite whereby the population may freely decide the future status of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Ms. Sushma Swaraj, the foreign minister of India, could not get an answer from the United Nations when she said “If we ask whether we were able to find permanent solution to these conflicts, the answer is no.”

To me the best answer that could be given to Ms. Swaraj was given by Greg Anderson, a National Basketball Association forward/center for the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks, when he said, “The Law of Win/Win says, ‘Let’s not do it your way or my way; let’s do it the best way’.” 

I believe the best way to resolve the conflict which directly affects the peace and stability of India and Pakistan – the Kashmir conflict – is through listening to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation of India who said on 29 July 1947 in Delhi,  “I am not going to suggest to the Maharaja (Ruler of Kashmir) to accede to India and not to Pakistan. The real sovereign of the state are the people. The ruler is a servant of the people. If he is not so then he is not the ruler. This is my firm belief, and that is why I became a rebel against the British – because the British claimed to be the rulers of India, and I refused to recognize them as such. In Kashmir too the power belongs to the public. Let them do as they want.”

That visionary Mahatma Gandhi made it easy for us to understand what the Kashmir conflict was all about when he said,  ‘Kashmir would belong to the Kashmiris.”

Now the time has come that India should reciprocate to the peace initiative of prime minister of Pakistan and initiate a serious and sincere peace negotiation with Pakistan along with the leadership of the people of Kashmir.

The refusal by India to sit down to the table with Pakistan or those who represent the Kashmiris indicate that India is not even close to addressing the realities of Kashmir and the will of the people.  This must change. Peace in the region would benefit not only those who are directly impacted by this conflict but India as well, whose economy is seriously drained by the maintenance of such a massive amount of troops in Kashmir, and the diversion it creates from other challenges it faces in raising the living standards of its population. Sounder minds must prevail.  More rational methods of dealing with differences must be sought. Repeating the same mistakes while expecting different results has long ago been found to be the path of failure. Sixty eight years should demonstrate a need for a change in policy, a policy that accepts the need for coming together in a process that accepts the right of all people to determine their own destiny.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai 

Washington D.C


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