Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Power of Diplomatic Overtures Versus the Impotency of Political Rigidity

In the wake of the cancellation of the scheduled meeting between the foreign minister of India, Sushma Swaraj, and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Quraishi, which was going to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Session in New York, here’s a particularly relevant excerpt from my book, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s Reflections on Kashmir (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018):

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s Speech at Mujahid Manzil, Srinagar in March 1968: “We are fully aware of the fact that the entire subcontinent has common problems, and the people are bound to each other by numerous ties, but partition has even resulted in the separation of families. There is, therefore, no doubt that the progress and future development of both these countries rests largely on the fact that they must proceed shoulder to shoulder with each other and cooperate in all joint ventures avoiding all wasteful expenditure incurred by them on their mutual confrontation, as that would spell their own doom, and pave the way for their domination by third parties.”

Lesson of West Germany

“Although West Germany suffered utter annihilation during the last war, they had, during the short span of a few years, been able to rehabilitate themselves and rise swiftly again to a position of viability.

If this is what West Germany could achieve, there is no reason why India and Pakistan cannot do the same. I am convinced that the people of the subcontinent fervently desire to come nearer to each other and live in peace and friendship with one another.”

Indian People Desire Peace with Pakistan

“I have no doubt in my mind that any discordant views expressed in Parliament do not correctly reflect the voice of the people; similar views expressed in newspapers also do not always represent the truth. So far as I know, the people of India desire that they should live in friendship and harmony with the people of Pakistan, and any views to the contrary expressed in some newspapers are, in my opinion, based on expediency.

I am happy to find that some newspapers do express correct feelings in this regard.”

Kashmir’s Welfare Dependent on Indo-Pak Amity

“So far as the people of Kashmir are concerned, their future happiness and welfare are linked with the people of India and Pakistan, but, unfortunately, those two countries are a loggerheads with each other, and we have become a pawn in their hands. So long as the two governments are not able to resolve their disputes, our own safety is in jeopardy. It is, therefore, in our vital interest that these two countries should be on the best of terms with each other. We are firmly of the opinion that friendship between India and Pakistan is very essential for the happiness, prosperity, and well-being of their peoples. While, therefore, struggling for our right of self-determination, it becomes essential for Kashmir that we should strive hard to secure friendship between India and Pakistan. The main hurdle in the achievement of friendship between the two is the Kashmir dispute, and until it is settled, friendship between them would not appear to be attainable.”

I have emphasized in my various publications in academic and popular forums that insisting on the rigidity of one’s stance which doesn’t allow political accommodation encourages the malignant uncertainty, which helps in the institutionalization of corruption, and opportunists make hay while the unpredictability remains unresolved. The increasing political paralysis helps the nation-states of India and Pakistan to maintain the status quo, which works in the interests of some of the actors, state as well as nonstate, on both sides of the LOC.

In trying to espouse anti-establishment positions, some of us tend to ignore the dangers of obscurantism and the growth of a conflict economy, in which some state and well as non-state actors are heavily invested. The espousal of violence as the means to redress political injustice and socioeconomic inequities will not bring the ship into harbor. Violence has always been a Frankenstein monster that ends up destroying those who rationalize and romanticize it. Our political predecessors in Kashmir, who carefully and deliberately separated politics and religion and whose ideology has been undermined by the powers-that-be, were wise.

The onus now lies on those who claim to lead the political movement for autonomy and self-determination in Kashmir to separate religion and politics and to present this movement in a more ecumenical form which world activists would like to take forward, without any allegation being leveled against them, because in this day and age fundamentalisms are rearing their ugly heads the world over. In the wake of 9/11, the world has become increasingly polarized, and there is a carefully constructed divide between “us” and “them,” between the “civilized world” and the “barbaric world.”

More articles by:

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail