Cutting out a role for China

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London: Statement of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq regarding a role of China in Kashmir dispute has surprised many. We people of Jammu and Kashmir are in limbo mainly because we are occupied by three countries, although it was only two who were considered party to the Kashmir dispute.

With exception of Palestine those countries which were colonised by one country, after some struggle gained independence; but those countries which were occupied by more than one country are still occupied, divided and struggling, as is the case with Kurdistan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Many experts believe had Jammu and Kashmir been occupied by one country then dispute of Jammu and Kashmir would have been resolved by now. People of Jammu and Kashmir are divided, as some want to join India, others want to join Pakistan or become independent from both of them. Some are even happy with the status quo. So the struggle has more than one dimension and people are not sure whether their struggle is for accession or independence.

This matter is made more complicated by making it a religious struggle, struggle of Muslims, rather than a political struggle of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Of course this religious dimension suits Pakistan and religious elements as it strengthens their position; and they deliberately promote religious confrontation to create more divisions in the ranks of those who are involved in the struggle or have suffered because of it.

Even though we, people of Jammu and Kashmir, are the main party to the dispute, we were never made part of any negotiations by the two occupying and recognised parties to the dispute, namely India and Pakistan. It was they who have dialogue with each other to settle the Kashmir dispute on our behalf; and there is a lot of resentment among the people of Jammu and Kashmir because of this.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is known to have made many controversial statements in the past and making mess of the Kashmir dispute. He is also among those who opposed a dialogue with India without the inclusion of Pakistan. At that time India was desperate to talk; and was openly saying to the Kashmiris that 'sky was the limit'. India wanted a dialogue with Kashmiris, people who mattered and people who were suffering; and not with Pakistan because of issues related to infiltration and supporting terrorism. Talks at time could have prolonged the cease fire and helped to save many innocent lives.

When, at last, India offered a dialogue with Pakistan, government of Pakistan did not hesitate for a second and accepted the offer of talks. They did not even for formality sake asked for the inclusion of the Kashmiris. Even that did not open eyes of the Kashmiri leadership.ndia is a party to the Kashmir dispute because of the 'provisional accession'. Pakistan is a party because of the de facto control of Jammu and Kashmiri territory; and their position was recognised as a party. China also has Kashmiri territory under its control. China occupied Aksi Chin in 1962 war with India; but they also received a gift of about 5000 square kilometres territory from Pakistan in 1963.

China received this gift from Pakistan for the services which China was to provide to Pakistan in future. However both countries singed a Sino Pakistan Border Agreement in 1963 and Article 6 of the agreement says:

'The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People's Republic of China on the boundary as described in Article. Two of the present agreement, so as to sign a formal boundary treaty to replace the present agreement, provided that in the event of the sovereign authority being Pakistan, the provisions of the present agreement and of the aforesaid protocol shall be maintained in the formal boundary treaty to be signed between the People's Republic of China and Pakistan.'

One can see it is clear that China has no role in resolving the Kashmir dispute. Its role only comes once the solution of the Kashmir is found. It looks that government of Pakistan wants China to have a role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute; after all they are also de facto occupier, and if one de facto controller of a territory could have a role than why not the other.

Perhaps it is because of this Pakistan pulled a string, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed his intention to visit China. Furthermore he said: "China definitely has a role in the Kashmir dispute. It is a great global and regional power and has a direct link to the dispute. It is definitely a stakeholder." In this regard Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi last week should also be kept in mind.

Many wonder why Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wants to cut out some role for the third occupier - China. Doesn't he realise that matters are already too complex, and by having another big player in this, it will only aggravate the matters. Does he want a solution or throw a spanner to prevent any possibility of finding a solution.

What if in future a part of the State territory is occupied by Afghanistan - our fourth neighbour, then are we going to chalk out a role for them as well?

Why all of sudden he has decided to go to China. Something is being cooked up. We have to view this in light of recent Pakistani manoeuvres in Gilgit Baltistan, and a joint statement of USA and China which has crucial sentence about South Asia, it says: 'The two sides welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia. They support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan. The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region.'

Kashmir dispute was not a bilateral matter, as it concerned with our inherent right of self determination and independence, but both India and Pakistan worked hard to make it a bilateral dispute in which the UN Resolutions have no role. It also looks that in this 'bilateral dispute' people of Jammu and Kashmir do not matter much either.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Sahib what are we likely to achieve by dragging China in to this dispute? China is a powerful neighbour of Jammu and Kashmir. We want to have a friendly and cordial relationship with them; but we cannot have that when China is also in possession of our territory.

We anticipate no role of China in resolving the Kashmir dispute; and if China wants to have eace and stability in South Asia, which suits Chinese future aspiration as well, then best thing is to declare that China will vacate all areas of the State under their control once the Kashmir dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. By Dr Shabir Choudhry (ANI)

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