To call Kashmir a territorial dispute is to dehumanize it: Ambassador Buch

To call Kashmir a territorial dispute is to dehumanize it: Ambassador Buch

Ambassador Buch told me that “It is of utmost importance to counter the impression that the Kashmir issue has somehow lost its urgency or shed its significance or is being addressed in some kind of a mythical peace process. The impression needs to be countered because it is false, because it ignores the agony of the people of Kashmir and because it thereby hardens the psychological underpinning of the current diplomatic inaction regarding the issue. We owe it to the tens of thousands whose blood has consecrated the cause of Kashmir’s Azadi to try and disentangle it in whatever degree we can.” Buch Sahib added “The attitude that needs to be fought in the context not only of Kashmir but of every major international problem is that of turning our backs to the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter is not scripture or a book of morals but, let us not forget, a multilateral treaty as binding on the largest or most powerful member state of the world organization as on the smallest or weakest. The sanity of international agreements must remain one of the bases of a sane and stable international order. The Kashmir issue involves that principle most pointedly.”

When asked whether Kashmir was a territorial issue between India and Pakistan, Mr. Buch replied “Not much argument is called for to refute the proposition that Kashmir is just a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. To call it a territorial dispute is simply to dehumanize it. And to go as far as saying that the dispute is not really about Kashmir amounts to saying in effect that Kashmiris are but a mythical people.”

Buch Sahib responded when I asked: Why do the Kashmiris call for third party mediation? “The breaking of the impasse over Kashmir between India and Pakistan would be greatly facilitated by the presence of a mediator who would define the obligations of the parties under the agreements concluded between them, spell out the contentious issues and the conflicting positions and remove the confusion about what needs to be done to narrow the gap.”

Ambassador Buch suggested: “The Governments of Pakistan and India have ample opportunities to articulate their positions and make them known to the world. Not so the people of Kashmir. I neither pretend impartiality nor claim a thorough knowledge of, or adherence to, the position of any particular section of Kashmiri opinion. But I think that an attempt to see the conflict from a Kashmiri – and human – perspective may not be useless in any mental exercise towards its resolution.”

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