New York: August 24, 2018. (PCP) Ambassador Yusuf Buch, former senior advisor to the United Nations Secretary General and a living encyclopedia on Kashmir, in a meeting with Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai confessed, "We have made errors, we have miscalculated, we have not organized our campaign with the care it should have been. But we can correct our mistakes. We will not forsake our goals. These have been sanctified by suffering. The blood of our martyrs and the tears of the bereaved among us have put them beyond compromise."
When asked whether a small population of Kashmir can resist the two third of a million army of India, Ambassador Buch said, "The question invites reflection. Even as recently as the mid-1980's, the idea of the liberation of Estonia and Lithuania and in first part of twenty-fist century, that of East Timor, Southern Sudan was regarded as a pipe-dream. So was the institution of majority rule in South Africa. The military and technological arsenal at the disposal of the Soviet Union was mightier than what the Indian Union possesses. Yet military power did not bring political strength to the Soviet Union nor immunize South Africa because the rest of the world did not bend its knee to it. It is the deference shown by the West to India's military and economic power that reinforces India's obduracy. It also weakens the liberal section of Indian opinion that would prefer a sensible and human policy with respect to Kashmir. Unwittingly, the West contributes to the depletion of the already small but the most promising resource in India's political society, the resource of self-criticism, and to the encouragement of that sanctimoniousness which the more thoughtful Indians regard as a bane of their country's attitudes in international affairs."
In response to a question that accession of Kashmir to India was final as India claims, Mr. Buch elucidated "The ostensible accession of Kashmir to India is a fiction entrenched in the Indian position. The fact that the act was performed by a feudal ruler who had fled his capital in the face of popular revolt is well established in the official record of the dispute. If India were as certain of the legal strength of its claim as it professes to be, would it not agree to the whole question being examined by the World Court? A process lasting a few months would vindicate its position and bring it resounding victory. But India knows that an impartial investigation would be fatal to its claim. Hence the loud, indignant insistence on 'sovereignty.' Said an experienced lawyer to his young apprentice: "If you are weak in law, stress the facts; if you are weak in facts, stress the law; but if you are weak in both facts and law, give them hell!" The way India has been giving hell to all its critics would please that lawyer."
Aren't United Nations resolutions on Kashmir out dated, I asked? Ambassador Buch explained, "As soon as the dispute arose, an overarching promise was made by India to Kashmir in all available forums â€“ in solemn public declaration, in submissions to the United Nations, in communications to Pakistan and even to other governments. This was done in 1947 when India first marched its troops into Kashmir and it was repeated a number of times in the following years. Yes, this promise is now seventy years old. But does its age diminish its relevance or reduce its applicability? To assert so is to concede primacy to the law of the jungle. Promises may be forgotten, dishonorably or otherwise, by those who make them but they are never forgotten or lost sight of by those to whom or for whose benefit they are made. This is true as much of international relations as it is in daily life. The tone and content of the promise is apparent in numerous statements made by the Indian leadership at home and abroad."
(Dr. Fai is the Secretary General, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum and can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435 or firstname.lastname@example.org)