The designated British envoy to Pakistan has correctly recognised the centrality of Kashmir in the Pakistan-India dynamics. As he has stated, resolution of the Kashmir issue is necessary for peace in the region. He has also declared that his government would be prepared to mediate between the two antagonists if they so wished. While all offers of mediation to resolve the Kashmir dispute should be welcomed, the problem is that there already exists a UNSC framework for the resolution of this dispute. The stumbling block is India, which took the dispute to the UN and then reneged on its earlier commitment to allow the Kashmiri people their right to self-determination.
If Britain is prepared to mediate, it can also push for the UN framework to be implemented. After all the issue is not simply one of territory where arbitrary lines can be drawn. The issue is about allowing the Kashmiris their right to self-determination as promised under the UN Charter itself and also in UNSC resolutions specifically in the case of Kashmir.
Ironically, Indian pressure on major powers like the US is so great that they are loathe to even say the right thing lest they upset India. That is why we have had a bizarre statement from Holbrooke saying the US was not trying to ease tensions between Pakistan and India – as if that was undesirable to begin with!
It is time the major powers woke up to the reality of over sixty-two years of Kashmiri resistance to Indian occupation. Generations have given their lives to rid themselves of Indian tyranny and the graveyards of the martyres bears testimony to this as well as dispelling Indian propaganda that the entire freedom struggle was being waged by external jehadis. What the Kashmiris want can only be gauged through the UN-supervised plebiscite; but what they are still not prepared to accept is Indian occupation and the accompanying tyranny. Editorial The Nation ISB