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Amnesic peace pipe with Pakistan
August 19, 2003
The whole Indian nation, it seems, is simply obsessed with 'Peace with Pakistan.' Everybody from the prime minister atop the Red Fort on Independence Day down to edit writers and letter writers talk of that -- as if the objective of peace with Pakistan will miraculously come about by just talking and talking about peace.
Everyone concerned seems struck by amnesia -- amnesia about the pain and agony that Pakistan has inflicted on us all these long years, amnesia about the critical condition to be fulfilled for that peace: the settlement of that issue of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, to Pakistan's satisfaction.
Just one lunch for a delegation of our parliamentarians in Islamabad seems to melt them into syrupy sentimentalism about our malevolent neighbour; just one address to them by Pervez Musharraf in his Presidential palace makes them forget that he was the architect of Kargil, 1999, that killed 474 and injured 1,109 of the very best in the Indian Army.
You'll get an idea of that amnesia if you look at the photograph on the front page of The Hindu of August 13. In that picture, Laloo Prasad Yadav has a look of awe and submissiveness as he holds with two hands the one hand offered by Musharraf dressed in full military gear.
Note the irony of it: the clowning, cunning politician who doesn't hesitate to be bitterly sarcastic about his own country's prime minister, chooses to be reverential to Pakistan's military dictator.
'If you talk of Kargil, I will talk of Siachen,' threatened Musharraf in answer to a question from an MP. And, if newspaper reports are correct, there was no counter response from the Indian side. It was as if our members of Parliament accepted that India was guilty of something or the other in Siachen.
Musharraf, and Pakistan, had got away with another lie, cleverly disguised for ignorant people. Granting that our MPs did not want to appear as argumentative and quarrelling guests, our newspapers owed it to the country to simultaneously portray the truth about Siachen so as to set the record straight for the Indians who read Musharraf's threat.
The truth is that India has done no legal or moral wrong in occupying the Siachen glacier. It is the Kargil Review Committee Report of December 1999 that calls Musharraf's bluff on the issue by revealing that the LoC in J&K traverses some 740 km from the international border in the south up to NJ 9842 from which, in accordance with the unchanged definition of the parent 1949 Karachi Agreement, it must run 'thence north to the glaciers.' However, Pakistan sought to alter this position.
By the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement of 1963, the Shaksgam Valley in northern J&K was ceded by Pakistan to China. Thereafter, Pakistan began developing roads in the Northern Areas part of J&K towards the Eastern Karakoram and was assisted by China to develop the Karakoram Highway from Gilgit (in J&K) to Xinjiang.
Pakistan began not only to licence mountaineering and scientific expeditions to the Eastern Karakoram, but followed up by projecting the LoC as moving from NJ 9842 not north to the glaciers but northeast to the Karakoram Pass.
Even the Simla Agreement of 1982 placed the Siachen Glacier on the Indian side of the alignment from NJ 942 'thence north to the glaciers.' In fact, this area was always under Indian control and during the International Geophysical Year in 1957 and subsequently, the Geological Survey had repeatedly surveyed the Siachen and other glaciers in the region from 1956 onwards.
This area was always under Indian control and there never was any Pakistani presence in the vicinity of Siachen.
Sometime in 1983 the Indian Army got wind of Pakistan plans to physically move into the Siachen area. Being understandably sensitive to the implications of cartographic ambiguity after the 1962 war with China, our army took pre-emptive action and in April 1984 occupied the Saloro Ridge which marks the western wall of the Siachen glacier. Pakistan has ever since been smarting under what it perceives as the humiliation of been robbed of a prize.
Hence, next time our MPs or any self-respecting Indian is confronted by Musharraf, or any other prevaricating Pakistani, about Siachen being an India version of Kargil, he/she would do well to stand up proudly and tell the truth.
That may be expecting too much, perhaps, from the likes of Laloo Yadav. Consider his response to the television journalist who asked him to react/respond to the statement Pak's prime minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, had made on Kashmir during the luncheon he hosted for our parliamentary delegation recently.
Laloo evaded the specific query and instead talked about the excellent food served, that he himself had eaten vegetarian food because he had given up non-veg food, that Jamali wanted the big brother to make sacrifices, and all that Jamali wanted was peace, peace, peace.
And what was that statement that Jamali made on Kashmir? 'Our stand on Kashmir remains unchanged,' he said on television.
What is that stand? Well, it was enunciated clearly enough in the speech of Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, at the International Kashmir Peace Conference held at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, in the last week of July.
Below are paragraphs 9, 10, 11 of that speech delivered even as millions of naïve Indians were delirious about Noor Fatima, about the Delhi bus to Lahore and all the other superficial trivia of 'Peace with Pakistan,' while terrorists trained in Pakistan effected their non-stop killings on Indian Army camps, on the Vaishno Devi route of pilgrims and on the roads of villages and towns and cities that were homes to helpless civilians.
The following then is 'Pakistan's unchanged stand on Kashmir.'
9. India and Pakistan both agreed that 'the question of accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.' Subsequently India withdrew from its obligation. Pakistan continues to adhere to this obligation. India rests its claim on the so-called Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir. But if that were the case why did it subsequently accept a UN plebiscite which might have rejected the so-called accession? An accession that is conditional on a reference to the people is not an accession unless and until it is confirmed by that people. India promised the world it would refer the matter to the people of Kashmir through a plebiscite. It never did.
10. In April 1994, the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva concluded that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had not been able to exercise their inalienable and inherent right of self-determination.
11. India claims the whole of the State of Jammu and Kashmir as its territory in defiance of the wishes of the majority of the people of the territory. No other country endorses that claim. Pakistan makes no counter claim to the territory. It merely supports the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as mandated by UN Security Council resolutions. India says these resolutions are now obsolete because it has refused to implement them. It also claims that Pakistan did not fulfil the preconditions for implementing the plebiscite since it did not withdraw its security forces from Azad Kashmir. But the fact is that the UN Security Council resolution of December 23, 1952 expressly permitted 'a specific number of forces to remain on each side of the cease-fire line at the end of de-militarization.'
Each of the above three paragraphs contain misrepresentation and perverse distortions of truth. The all add up to debunking and insulting India with malevolent mischief -- familiar traits of Pakistan right from the time it was conceived till today, on everything from Siachen to extending the Most Favoured Nation clause to Indian trade.
All this, mind you, because we sentimentally syrupy Indians are so very keen and happy to be smoking the amnesic pipe of 'Peace with Pakistan.'
Qazi's, and therefore Pakistan's, lies on Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, will be proved in tomorrow's column. After that, you decide whether India can ever expect 'Peace with Pakistan' to be a permanent reality as long as that country is ruled by a military dictatorship and an all-pervasive, powerful intelligence agency that collectively harbour an almost genetic hatred for India.
Part II: Pakistan's half-truths and lies