Put Kashmiris first, says Crisis Group

June 5, 2010

Any dialogue between India and Pakistan aimed at a solution to the decades-old Kashmir problem will fail if the two rivals do not first include people living on both sides of Line of Control (LoC) that divides the region, the International Crisis Group says.

A policeman stands guard after a grenade blast in Srinagar October, 6 2009. REUTERS/Danish Ismail/FilesNew Delhi and Islamabad appeared willing to allow more interaction across the LoC but failed to engage Kashmiris in the process, the Crisis Group said in a report titled, “Steps Towards Peace: Putting Kashmiris First.”

The latest briefing from the Crisis Group identifies the key political, social and economic needs of Kashmiris that should be addressed on both sides of the divided state.

Here is the complete report.

Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director says the atmosphere of hostility is undermining the progress that had been made in softening the border that also divides the Kashmiri families.

Relations between the south Asian neighbours went into a freeze the Mumbai attacks killed 166 people.

“Since the Mumbai attacks by Pakistan-based militants in November 2008, tensions between the two neighbours have eclipsed Kashmiri hopes for political liberalisation and economic opportunity,” Samina adds.

The Brussels-based organisation pressed Islamabad to rein in militants that are fighting Indian forces in Kashmir.

“It (Pakistan) must ensure that jihadis, still backed by the military, can no longer disrupt the regional peace. Another Mumbai-like attack would have a devastating impact on bilateral relations and could conceivably bring the nuclear-armed neighbours to the brink of war.”

It also urged New Delhi to reduce its massive troop presence in its part of Kashmir and replace army-led counter-insurgency with accountable policing and revive the region’s economy, devastated by over two decades of violence, to instil greater confidence among alienated Kashmiris.

The report said New Delhi should revive Kashmir’s “special status” guaranteed by the Indian constitution and repeal all “draconian laws.”

“… laws that encourage human rights abuses by security
forces remain, fuelling public resentment that the militants could once again exploit.”

Indian security forces in Kashmir have been accused of grave human rights violations and also murdering innocent civilians in staged gun battles and passing them off as separatist militants to earn rewards and promotions.

Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director says it is unrealistic to expect a solution to the Kashmir dispute in the near future.

“Both India and Pakistan should focus on creating a favourable environment for cooperation,” Templer adds.

The two countries, according to reports, held secret talks for more than three years, reached an accord on thorny dispute of Kashmir and had almost unveiled it in 2007 before domestic turmoil in Pakistan derailed it.

The Times of India said that there’s plenty of reason for optimism here, as the evidence suggests that earlier talks between India and Pakistan had been on the right track.

But there is six decades of distrust and other festering disputes between the two countries who have fought two of three wars over Kashmir.

“A template is already available for resolving Kashmir should New Delhi and Islamabad pick up from where they left off earlier. That’s what they urgently need to do, putting the baggage of history behind them,” says The Times of India editorial “Solution For Kashmir.”

Can the two countries pick it up from where they left off?


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given the decades of mistrust between two countries, it is difficult for india and pakistan to carry forward a meaningful dialouge.
kashmir will continue to bleed and uncertinity will continue in the sub continent.

Posted by haleema11 | Report as abusive

India is stubborn and poses as policemen in the subcontinent and does only believe in delay tactics. But if new Delhi delays Kashmir solution it would tomorrow trigger catastrophe in the south Asian region. I think Pakistan is on receiving end at this point of time and is ready for any kind of solution.

Posted by drshugufta | Report as abusive

India and Pakistan have consistently subjected Kashmiri interests to their own national security agendas and silenced calls for greater autonomy. definitely any talks will fail if the two rivals do not first include kashmiri people

Posted by emm99 | Report as abusive

With the start of their composite dialogue – comprehensive negotiations to resolve all contentious bilateral issues, including Kashmir, launched in February 2004 – both appeared willing to allow more interaction across the Line of Control (LOC) but failed to engage Kashmiris in the process. As a result, they did not take full advantage of opportunities to enhance cross-LOC cooperation by identifying the most appropriate Kashmir-specific confidence-building measures (CBMs), and bureaucratic resistance in both capitals resulted in uneven implementation of even those that had been agreed.

Posted by emm99 | Report as abusive

Even if India and Pakistan appear willing to allow more interaction across the Line of Control (LOC) that separates the parts of Kashmir they administer, any Kashmir-based dialogue will fail if they do not put its inhabitants first.

Posted by true112 | Report as abusive

Lately all types of people have started stirring the curry in Kashmir. People who have perhaps not even known the valley beyond the newspapers have been allowed to take centre-stage. Take for example the tenuous and callous edict of Arun Datti Roy, who has perhaps developed some kind of an affinity with the radical elements during her frequent rendezvous with them. Her proclamation might have won her the hearts of her beloved subversive kin in the valley and their mentors across the border but our hearts bleed to hear such rhetoric. The indigenous people like us, who have grown up in the lap of the vale and might have suffered the ignominy to be thrown out of our homeland, would not at all assimilate such sacrilege.
Ms Roy might be a credible writer but ostensibly she is a pathetic reader. Perhaps she has not cared to read and understand the backdrop, the cause and the purpose of the strife in the valley. It is ironical to hear about Kashmir and its tribulations from someone who is not at all qualified to talk about the subject. As a matter of fact, these days it has become fashionable for every dog on the street to open its mouth and vomit whatever it can chuck on Kashmir to gain cheap publicity, without caring about the sentiments of the people who have given blood to safeguard its sanctity.
It is worth reminding Ms Roy that not long ago, Kashmir was not what it is today. We have lived in a Kashmir which was an example of amity, serenity and tranquility. We fondly remember the times when Miwaiz Maulvi Farooq the slain father of Huriyat functionary Mirwaiz Omar Farooq used to travel to idgah for offering Idd prayers and on his return we, the Hindus living in his close neighborhood used to line up on the road side to wish him IDD MUBARAK and he used to return the greetings gratefully. Although Maulvi Farooq was a staunch crusader of azadi, but never did he transverse the path of secession in the right spirit due to lack of support from the people. The people were more concerned about earning their living rather than bother about azadi.
On the other hand the life of politicians across the border in Pakistan depended solely on the passion they ignited on Kashmir. They used every possible medium – Pakistan Television, Radio Pakistan & Azad Kashmir Radio, Tiralkand & Muzaraffabad and to some extend the local vernacular press to inculcate the seeds of azadi in Kashmiries. In April 1988, it took a historical maneuver by the very cunning General Zia-ul-Haq, the then military dictator of Pakistan, who devised a very realistic and viable plan to create instability and chaos in Kashmir. His doctrine named “OPERATION TOPAC” envisaged everything that Kashmir is passing through today. The situation created by Soviet occupation of Afghanistan ushered a God created opportunity for Zia to facilitate the fulfillment of his dream. What has happened to Kashmir would have never taken place without the intervention and connivance of Pakistan. If tomorrow Ms Roy’s dreams are realized and an independent Kashmir is formed, she should thank the genius of Gen Zia for sowing the seeds of secessionism in the Kashmiries.
We the Kashmiri Hindus, have suffered the most through the years of bloodbath and anarchy. Yet we would not dare to think of separating Kashmir from our motherland – India. Had we been having the kind of blood that is running through Ms Roy, we would have very easily compromised our jingoism and perhaps would have not been at the receiving end of misery and hardship that has become part of our lives today.
Would someone amongst us standup and make people like Ms Roy understand that every word spoken about Kashmir has got multifarious repercussions for the stakeholders and every word they speak has a bearing on the peace process that may be going on overtly or covertly in Delhi, Srinagar or Islamabad.

Posted by tikuvj | Report as abusive