Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
HVK Archives: Ms. Albright's memory and facts

Ms. Albright's memory and facts - The Hindu

Riyaz Punjabi ()
July 1, 1998

Title: Ms. Albright's memory and facts
Author: Riyaz Punjabi
Publication: The Hindu
Date: July 1, 1998

The United States appears to be concerned about the rising
tension between India and Pakistan. In this behalf, while
focussing on Indo-Pakistani differences, the U.S. concern has
centralised on the basic contentious issue of Kashmir and it has
once again reiterated its proposal of third-party mediation to
resolve the issue. International mediation (read U.S.
intervention) on Kashmir has been an avowed U.S. position.
However. the recent nuclear explosions by India and Pakistan have
provided it with the desired opportunity to assert its position

The U.S. Secretary of State, Ms. Madeleine Albright, has been
periodically reflecting on U.S. foreign policy formulations on
South Asia. However, she has tended to be quite emotional while
dealing with Kashmir. She has a claim in being emotional about
Kashmir. According to her, she used to accompany her father
(Josef Korbel) to the U.N. Security Council debates on Kashmir
(in the Fifties) when she was 10 years old.

Josef Korbel was a member of the United Nations Commission On
India And Pakistan (UNCIP). This Commission gave three interim
reports to the U.N. Security Council on Kashmir. The famous
August 13, 1948, resolution was the result of the labours of
UNCIP Later on, Korbel wrote a long treatise "Danger in Kashmir",
which dealt with the problem extensively from the perspective of
communist expansion in South Asia. His daughter, Ms. Albright,
is perceiving that history has placed her in a position where she
can play the role of completing the task which her further could
not accomplish. However, before embarking on the task, she needs
to correct her facts and she has to refrain from using the
historical facts selectively. It should be her primary task to
look into the reasons for the non-implementation of the August
1948 resolution.

The UNCIP efforts which culminated in the August 1948 resolution
held the potential to resolve the Kashmir tangle forever. The
resolution had two important components: First; the complete
withdrawal of the Pakistani troops from of Jammu and Kashmir
which were, to be replaced by Indian troops including the
garrisoning of these troops in Gilgit-Baltistan now described as
Northern Areas by Pakistan: and, second, allowing the people of J
& K to determine their future status according to their wishes.
This first element could never be implemented. Pakistan kept on
postponing the acceptance of the resolution and raising
superfluous queries inasmuch as UNCIP maintained that Pakistan
has rejected the resolution.

The second component was implemented partially with the
initiative of the popular leadership in Jammu and Kashmir when
elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in Jammu &
Kashmir. UNCIP. apart from failing in its efforts to implement
its own resolution, could not determine the status of the
Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), rechristened by Pakistan as
zad Kashmir and Northern Areas of the J & K State. In spite
of India's repeated attempts in drawing attention to these
issues, Josef Corbel remained evasive. It is important to note
that the U.N. could not determine the status of the Pakistan
Occupied Kashmir (POK). In spite of India's repeated attempts in
drawing attention to these issues, Corbel remained evasive. The
U.N. never questioned the legality of Jammu and Kashmir's
accession to the Union of India. although neither the U.N. nor
UNCIP recognised the POK as an entity. Korbel did later on
acknowledge in his thesis on Kashmir that the U.N. Security
Council avoided any consideration of the juridical aspect of J &
K's accession to India. He further maintained that mazingly,
Pakistan also did not raise the issue. In conclusion, the UNCIP
mission floundered on determining the status of the POK and
Northern Areas. After submitting the three reports to the
Security Council, Korbel washed off his hands by asserting that
the "Security Council's job was over with the cessation of
hostilities between India and Pakistan.

In a curious turn of events, when the U.N. was still grappling
with mechanisms to resolve the Kashmir issue, the then U.S.
President Truman and the British Prime Minister, Attlee proposed
in September 1949 that India and Pakistan submit their points of
disagreement to arbitration. Jawaharlal Nehru expressed his
surprise on this international intervention and wondered if the
big powers were bypassing the U.N. The Pakistani response was
summed up by Pakistan Times (September 2, 1949) in these words.
he whole issue seemed to have been tagged on unnecessarily to
the big powers, and to America's struggle to contain the spread
of communism in South-East Asia.

The Jammu and Kashmir leadership was witnessing these
developments with a keen interest and Sheikh Abdullah went ahead
with his schedule of holding elections to the Constituent
Assembly of the J & K State despite protestations from Pakistan
to the U.N. Security Council. The Sheikh asserted that Kashmir
had got entangled in international conspiracies and the people of
the State could not keep on endlessly postponing their future
course in the face of these conspiracies. The J & K Constituent
Assembly (The State was the only one within the Union of India
having the distinction of electing a Constituent Assembly) went
ahead defining the sphere of its relations within the Union. It
is in this process that tension arose between the leadership of
the State and the Union. The undercurrents of this tension still
exist and the resolution of this tension deserves the earnest
consideration. There seems to be a national consensus emerging on
this issues and there is a better appreciation of the people's
aspirations for autonomy at this point of time than it was in the
early Fifties.

Ms. Albright cannot afford to skip the developments that have
taken place in Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of
Actual Control during the last 50 years. The Indian part of
Kashmir has a special status guaranteed under the Constitution of
India. The removal of distortions, if any, which are alleged to
have crept in this special status is a political issue and is
being addressed at the political level. What is the status of
the POK within Pakistan and what degree of autonomy does it
enjoy? When Sardar Qayoom Khan, former Prime Minister of the POK,
insists on convening a meeting of the leaders of Jammu and
Kashmir which he has been doing for the last 10 years, it is at
the back of his mind that the POK should enjoy more powers in
running the affairs of that territory than the local

His another dilemma is that governments in Muzzafarabad should
not change with the change of the governments in Islamabad. And
what prevents Islamabad from defining the status of the Northern
Areas? In spite of the court verdict that the Northern Areas are
part of J & K, their status still remains undefined. A large
chunk of this area was handed over to China to build the
Karakhoram Highway in violation of international norms and even
contradicting Pakistan's position that J & K was disputed
territory. The local movement to define the status of these areas
is being ruthlessly crushed by the Pakistani establishment and
its reverberations are now being heard in different U.N. fora.
And yet these issues are hardly ever raised in any international
discourse on Kashmir.

If the big power intervention on Kashmir in the late Forties and
early Fifties was influenced by the strategies to contain
communism, the present attempts are guided by the post-Cold War
strategic interest. The proposal for Chinese mediation on Kashmir
raises a pertinent query for the consideration of the
international community. Is China qualified to mediate on
Kashmir even after having rejected enuine autonomy for Tibet?

One hears new proposals being dished out by U.S. think-tanks to
resolve the Kashmir tangle. A lebiscite is one of the
proposals being circulated by the think-tanks but it cannot be
applied according to convenience. Moreover, this prescription
has been considered to be obsolete in view of its inherent
deficiency of being manipulated. However. it is pertinent for Ms.
Albright to know what her father had to say about plebiscites.
told him (Zafarullah Khan who was representing Pakistan in
Security Council) about the experience we had in Europe with
plebiscites which had turned into mere instruments of propaganda,
pressure and falsification and I cited those conducted by Hitler
and by the Communists.

(The writer is Director of the Centre for Peace Studies, New

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements