Is it all about a petty Panchayat poll?
At the stroke of midnight on 14-15 August 1947 the British India got officially divided into two nations with a choice to more than 560 autonomous princely states (owing allegiance to the Raj) either to join Pakistan or India by or before 15th of August 1947, based on geographic location and on demographics. Few calculated and some unintended discrepancies regarding choice of princely states to join either of the dominions exposed the veiled objectives of the British. Vexed Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan and the fate of millions of Kashmiri people is outcome of deceitful arbitration of the British. India and Pakistan fought many wars but the conflict of 1947-48 and the most crucial war of 1971 changed the political map of India subcontinent. The earlier conflict of 1947-48 became the bedrock of animosity between the two nations where Kashmiris were made the scapegoat and that of 1971 war created history by subdividing Pakistan into two independent nations.
During 1947-48 conflict India approached United Nations Security Council with a complaint seeking peace, in a letter dispatched to UN on 1st January 1948 India strongly felt for peace by communicating (Para 15), ‘ India desires nothing earnestly than to live with her neighbor-state on terms of close and lasting friendship. Peace is to the interest of both states; indeed to the interests of the world’. Alas! Since then the only element that is eluding this region is PEACE. Subsequently United Nations Security Council adopted several resolutions on Indo-Pak and Kashmir conflicts, starting with resolution-38 on 17 January 1948 calling upon both the countries to refrain from aggravating the situation any further. The issue became so important that UN adopted three more resolutions during same year (Resolution- 39 dated 20 January, Resolution- 47 dated 21 April, and Resolution-51 dated 3 June). Then onwards Kashmir conflict remained a prominent issue on the UN agenda. In the backdrop of Kashmir issue America found a new ally in the shape of Pakistan to counter the influence of erstwhile USSR. At the same time the friendship between USSR and India bloomed with its clear impact on Kashmir issue inside and outside UN. Thus Kashmir became a flashpoint to shape the landscape of international alliances in the region. Many resolutions followed the 1948 UN resolutions and during the last six decades along with many overt and covert wars both India and Pakistan kept changing their stand with regard to these resolutions as per their political compulsions and convenience, both within and on international front.
Thus Kashmir and its people became a football in the UN ring with both its players claiming possession and ultimate victory over Kashmir. For last many decades the Indian establishment in particular losing its interest in any possible UN brokered settlement has resorted to either exploiting the economic and self-reliant facet of Kashmir conflict or politicizing Kashmir issue along with election drum beating as ultimate authorization for resolution of Kashmir issue. And now the election drum beating is so cheap and ambiguous that they have to rely upon the high poll percentage of recently held Panchayat election—otherwise a healthy election process to resolve the day to day issues of rural Kashmir and its people. Unfortunately, since long these elections are construed as final verdict to Kashmir issue and pitched against the wishes of Kashmiri people; world opinion and possible UN stand on this vexed conflict. Imagine! An issue referred to an international forum like United Nations Security Council more than six decades ago and at occasions negotiated by powerful and mighty nations and leaders is being pushed and relegated to a tiny Panchayat. The independence address of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from the ramparts of red fort in line with the veiled agreement of restraint with Pakistani leadership did not mention Kashmir or of any issue regarding Kashmir. But in his lecture he boasted about high poll percentage in Kashmir Panchayat elections as the ultimate verdict for peace and resolution of Kashmir problem. This rhetoric posturing about Kashmir and its localized election process cannot help in restoring peace in the region—a yearning desire of Indian leadership way back in 1948. Undermining such genuine issue of millions of people against their wishes is nothing but bullying. The proverbial ‘Asmaan Se Gira Khajoor Ma Atka’ holds right for Kashmir conflict when stake holders got it knocking down to humble Panchayat level from the heights of UN.