Recent unrest in the Kashmir Valley, once again has drawn attention to the Jammu & Kashmir problem. Statements of Indian, Pakistani and Kashmiri leaders reflect the same old rhetoric.
To anyone who has closely studied developments there, that the successive governments as well as political leaders of India, Pakistan, and Jammu & Kashmir are responsible for what has happened within the bounds of the former princely state, since 1947, and for what is happening there currently. Therefore, all of them need to share responsibility for finding the final resolution of the problem.
The final resolution must be long-lasting, equitable for all parties, and acceptable to the people of all ethnicities, living in all parts of Jammu & Kashmir.
Violence and wars have not only failed to resolve the problem, but also have made it worse. The final resolution must avoid any military action, violence or bloodshed. Dialog and negotiation are the best ways to reach this goal.
The final resolution must lead to a peaceful transition. In no way, it should end in involuntary dislocation of people. It should avoid replication of the human tragedy that happened in the subcontinent at the time of the Partition.
The final resolution must provide for full restoration of their properties to all those who, since 1989, have been forced out of their homes, and who, around that time, had felt compelled to do so. Also it should ensure their safe return to and residence at their former homes. Allowance must be made for their rehabilitation and that of their properties.
The final resolution must provide for a way to help people of all regions to air their past grievances in a safe and empathetic atmosphere. It will help them come to terms with the tragic events of the past, and enable them to cooperatively work with their neighbors for a better future for all.
The final resolution must allow people of each region to govern themselves in the way they deem fit, but in such a way that preserves the Kashmiriyat tradition of religious and cultural tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
The final resolution must clearly define relationship of each region with others regions as well as that with the governments of India and Pakistan. It must provide for suitable institutional mechanisms to conduct and govern these relationships, including those required for impartial settlement of future disagreements and disputes.
Lastly, the final resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir problem must be accompanied by a ‘No War/Friendship’ pact between India and Pakistan, including the following:
1. Banning of all hostile activities against each other by all government agencies, and private groups operating within their boundaries;
2. Granting each other the Most Favored Nation status with provisions for free movement of goods, people, and ideas across their mutual border; and
3. Commitment to a peaceful resolution of all outstanding and future disputes and disagreements.
Dr. Pritam K. Rohila
the Executive Director
the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org