Friday, March 11, 2011

A little peace of Kashmir | Hard News



A little peace of Kashmir

There are eleven possible solutions to J&K, but which is the best?
Iftikhar Gilani Srinagar
Squabbles on terrorism and Baluchsitan apart, India and Pakistan have moved to find solutions to Jammu and Kashmir somewhat between the "status quo" and the "irrelevance" of the Line of Control (LoC). For the first time, India officially conveyed to Pakistan during the recently concluded secretary level talks that it was willing to discuss any solution provided it did not implore redrawing of borders and abrogation of its sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir.
"India has political limitations. We are not in a position to redraw boundaries. Short of that what is required to give comfort to people of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of free flow of people, goods and ideas we are ready to consider," stated Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran.
For over the past 15 years, peaceniks and experts have been advocating various formulae and models to fit political parameters of both countries. Here is a summary of them.
1. Aland Island model
Politicians, academics and journalists around the world often study Aland as an example of a successful solution to a minority conflict. The division of power between Aland and Finland, the principle that any amendment to that division requires the consent of both parties, the right of domicile, the restrictions on land purchases and Aland's power to influence international treaties are some of the aspects of Aland's autonomy that have attracted the interest of outside observers. Aland is considered a unique case for several reasons: its autonomy has existed for a long time, the solution was arrived at without force of arms, and Aland is both self-governing and demilitarised.
2. South Tyrol model
Under the Paris Agreement of 1946 (also known as the Gruber-Degasperi Agreement) and the South Tyrol Package of 1969, Austria is mandated with exercising a protective function vis-à-vis Italy for the Austrian and Ladin minorities in South Tyrol. The goal is to secure the continued ethnic, cultural, social and economic existence of the German and Ladin-speaking population of South Tyrol. Besides, much importance is attached to the peaceful co-habitation of the different linguistic groups in the province of Bolzano.
3. Northern Ireland Peace Process
Northern Ireland's population is approximately 55 per cent Protestant and 45 per cent Catholic, and the two communities have placed their emphases on different elements of the problem. Protestants see the conflict in constitutional and security terms, and are primarily concerned about preserving the union with Britain and resisting the perceived threat of a united Ireland. Catholic views fall generally into two broad categories. Some perceive the issue as a nationalist struggle for self-determination, looking back to what they regard as the historical integrity of the island and the gerrymander of partition. Others approach it as a problem of corruption or unfair practices by successive Unionist governments between the 1920s and the 1970s which, if removed, would create a society in which both Catholics and Protestants could live peacefully together.
The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 had five main constitutional provisions. First, Northern Ireland's future constitutional status was to be in the hands of its citizens. Second, if the people of Ireland, north and south, wanted a united Ireland, they could have one by voting for it. Third, Northern Ireland's current constitutional position would remain within the United Kingdom. Fourth, Northern Ireland's citizens would have the right to "identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both." Fifth, the Irish state would drop its territorial claim on Northern Ireland and instead define the Irish nation in terms of people rather than land. The consent principle would be built into the Irish constitution.
4. The Andorra model
Andorra, a small principality in the Pyrenees whose heads of state are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, called the Coprinceps. Andorra has its own government and constitution and freedom in most internal matters; in external relations the Coprinceps play a major role.
The ideal being floated is that while the status quo on the other regions can be maintained (the Northern Region with Pakistan, Jammu and Ladakh with India), in the Valley, whose overwhelmingly Muslim population have for long been agitating against Indian rule, the Andorra model can be applied.
This means India would retain some control, jointly with Pakistan, over matters of defence and external affairs, but in internal and cultural matters, the Valley would be more or less completely autonomous.
For Pakistan, it can sell this model to its populace as a partial victory, saying that Islamabad has not abandoned the Muslim population of the Valley and will have some say in their lives, even if indirectly and jointly with India.
5. Ibarretxe Proposal for the Basque conflict in Spain
The Basque agreement is supported by three basic premises:
a) The Basques are a People with their own identity; b) they have the right to decide their own future; and c) it is based on a respect for the decisions of the inhabitants of the different legal political spheres in which they are situated.
At present, the Basque people are organised in three legal-administrative communities. On the one hand are the Basque Autonomous Community—made up of the provinces of Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa—and the Province of Navarre, both of which are situated within the Spanish state. On the other are the territories of Iparralde — Lapurdi, Zuberoa and Benafarroa — situated within the French state that do not have their own political administration.
6. Trieste model
For the Free Territory of Trieste, over which Italy and Yugoslavia shared sovereignty until 1954, the lessons, if any, are negative. AG Noorani has argued that the Trieste formula is nothing but communal partition, with the Treaty of Osimo giving the largely Italian port city of Trieste to Italy and the Croat-Slovene dominated Istrian region to the erstwhile Yugoslavia.
7. Sami model
Another creative example is the Sami Parliamentary Assembly, established in 2000, as a joint forum of the parliaments of the Sami indigenous people who reside in the northern regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The Sami have been demanding greater control over the land, water and natural resources of their ancient homeland. They elect representatives to their own regional parliaments but are now trying to develop a pan-Sami political institution to better protect their rights. The three Nordic countries have all been pulled up by the UN for their treatment of the Sami and many issues—such as Norway's decision to allow expanded bombing ranges for NATO warplanes—affect the indigenous population cutting across sovereign state borders. The Sami example is a case of an attempt by a partitioned people to craft meaningful political institutions from below, often in the face of indifferencefrom above.
8. New Caledonia Model Noumea Agreement
In 1774, the island was discovered by English captain James Cook. In 1853, under Napoleon III, France officially took its possession. The 1999 Noumea agreement on New Caledonia—where the indigenous Kanaks are now outnumbered by the descendants of European settlers and by other non-Melanesians—maintains French nationality over the colonial possession while establishing the idea of New Caledonia citizenship over a 20-year transition period till a referendum on final status. This example is unappealing in the South Asian context because Kashmir is not a colonial possession. Nevertheless, the notion of shared sovereignty is an interesting one.
9. Maximum autonomy: National Conference formula
In July 2001, then government of Farooq Abdullah passed a resolution in the Assembly with a majority vote demanding a "return to 1953" position and abrogation all central laws extending to the state. Commentator B Vergheese, also believes that a vital prerequisite for peace is that India must be able to fashion an internal settlement on its side of Jammu and Kashmir. He also believes that the starting point can be a "return to 1953" or any other point and working backwards and forwards towards a meeting of minds, without losing sight of practical realities.
Taking this concept further, the Delhi Policy Group in a report says transactions across and management of a soft boundary would require cooperation and coordination between the two sides with regard to immigration checks, crime prevention, phyto-sanitary controls, trade and monetary protocols, environmental management and so forth.
Given such a framework, it is possible to conceive of an informal co-federal relationship between the two parts of J&K, each enjoying a larger measure of autonomy within their own jurisdictions, but cocooned undisturbed within the two separate sovereignties of India and Pakistan.
10. The Chenab formula
Jammu and Kashmir has four distinct parts. The state of Pakistan-administered Kashmir is quasi-dependency of Pakistan. The Northern areas (former Northern Province of J&K) are an affiliated part of Pakistan except Aksai chin, an area under control of Chinese. The rest of the original state of Jammu and Kashmir including the valley is under India, where it has been granted a special status under the Indian constitution.
According to the Chenab Formula, Pakistan may consider Doaba, a narrow strip of land between Chenab and Ravi rivers in the suburbs of Shakargarh stretching up to Chamb, Dhodha and Rajwari districts as international border. "Even the town of Kargil might go to India under this 'give and take' but from Kargil upward, India will have to agree to give territory to Pakistan," say the architects of this formula
Most of the districts in Jammu and on the left bank of the Chenab are Hindu majority in the state of Jammu and Kashmir while in most of the districts on the western side of the Chenab, the Muslims are predominant. "Pakistan may also agree to forego its claim over the Buddhist majority Ladakh region, but there will be no compromise on the Valley," Pakistani researchers say. The Valley will be partially auton- omous and there will be major changes on the borderline to adjust tehsils and towns surrounding the Valley between India and Pakistan. In short, the River Chenab will form the separation line between the Pakistan and Indian-held areas.
11. Kashmir Study Group formula
The US-based Kashmir Study Group commissioned to find solution to Kashmir problem in its latest report recommends that portions of the former princely State of Jammu and Kashmir be reconstituted into self-governing entities enjoying free access to one another and to and from both India and Pakistan .
Each of the new entities would have its own democratic constitution, as well as its own citizenship, flag, and legislature, which would legislate on all matters other than defense and foreign affairs. India and Pakistan would be responsible for the defense of the entities, and the entities would maintain police forces to maintain internal law and order. India and Pakistan would be expected to work out financial arrangements for the entities.
While the present LoC would remain in place until such time as both India and Pakistan decided to alter it in their mutual interest, both India and Pakistan would demilitarise the area included in the entities. Neither India nor Pakistan could place troops on the other side of the LoC without the permission of the other state.
Chances are, however, that none of these examples offers a complete set of principles for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute but many individual elements are attractive.

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