What Mediation Can Bring To The Table On Kashmir Issue?

Touseef Hamid, Aquib-ul-ahad

Mediation is an art form, incorporating intuition, subtlety, and vision. Yet it is also a craft with transferable tools, definable tasks, and management challenges. Simply put, mediation is negotiation between disputing parties; it is a dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. However the mediator is not empowered to impose a settlement, the mediator’s presence alters the dynamics of the negotiation and often helps shape the final settlement. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process. Mediation is a “party-centered” process in that it is focused primarily upon the needs, rights, and interests of the parties. The mediator uses a wide variety of techniques to guide the process in a constructive direction and to help the parties find their optimal solution. A mediator is facilitative in that she/he manages the interaction between parties and facilitates open communication. The Canadian Bar Association defines mediation as “the intervention into a dispute or negotiation by an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party who has no decision making power, to assist disputing parties in voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute. The concept of mediation is not new, it has a long a very successful history, The first recorded mediation efforts occurred in 209 B.C., when Greek city-states helped the Aetolian League and Macedonia produce a truce in the first Macedonian war. Since then, mediation has been increasingly employed as a tool for peacefully resolving conflict, as it has left a huge impact on resolving of conflict. Now if we look at the Kashmir conflict, this conflict too has a long history, from last 40 years we have seen a massive destruction, violence, hate, bloodshed, economic disruption but nothing new has come out of this, each and every thing is their where it was, only the humanity got crushed, maimed and blinded. India and Pakistan have even fought two wars because of the Kashmir conflict. Did they solve the Kashmir issue? They did not. Any new military confrontation will prove to be even more destructive and totally futile. The thing is that a conflict will not disappear even if a full-fledged war is unleashed. Even from last 70 years people are demanding the settlement of this issue, but Instead of paying attention to this, the government is resorting to the same old methods it has been used since 1947 and expects the people will forget what they have been demanding for the last seven decades. This is a myopic political game. It has neither worked in the past nor will it work in the future, so even the point still remains there. As there are always two options to solve an issue between two states; War and Dialogue. In the past, countries choose war more often than dialogue and there was bloodshed, loot and plunder. Both the countries suffered and there was still no solution. They had to opt for Dialogue even after they were done with the war. As civilization progressed, most of the countries were struck by the realization that there can be no peace without Dialogue. After all, war brought only destruction and famine to the participating country. Now, we’re living in the 21st century and there still are wars, but usually it is between two countries on two opposite ends of the power gradient. A war between two countries like India and Pakistan, over Kashmir issue, is highly improbable because leaders of both the countries know that with Nuclear Weapons at the disposal of both countries, nothing would be achieved except destruction for both the countries. In such a scenario, Dialogue is the only way to go forward. It’s peaceful, accommodating, and satisfactory and it works, unlike war (Every Country realizes it now).
So The Kashmir conflict has to be addressed politically and with good will a negotiated settlement is possible. For that I guess the mediation is the best option, because a lot of dialogues, meetings, track II were held on it between these two countries by themselves but nothing concrete has come out, so I feel there should be a push from someone as a neutral party who can keep it continue or going till it reaches at some fruitful conclusion, however bringing third party on table as a mediator does not mean that the party has any kind of stake in it, neither it will change the status of the conflict (from bilateral to trilateral). However during mediation both India and Pakistan should remain careful that the neutral party should not even have a 0.1% of interest in it, which means both the parties should choose a mediator very carefully who should be totally unbiased because the situation should not go from bad to worse . As there have been a numerous offers from various international leaders on Kashmir issue, the US is not the first country to offer to mediate. Former south African president the great Nelson Mandela and Norvegian PM Erna Solberg used to offer as third party mediation, but till now India has shut out all countries offers which has escalated tensions in Kashmir. Both the countries should try to understand why the International community generally supports improving India Pakistan relations by solving Kashmir issue through peaceful negotiations that is because during the more than 70 years of dispute, the two countries have always lacked an effective channel of negotiation. As we all know Clashes always get erupted at LOC between the countries which has cost not only the huge amount of economy but also cost the human lives on both the sides be it civilians on the troopers for that matter. So basically it means that world is very much interested in solving out this issue, all we need right now is that both the two countries need to get ready with firm intention to get this conflict solved once for all. At last we appeal to the political leaders of India and Pakistan to follow the path of peace, stop sabre rattling, and avoid provoking nationalist and religious passions of the people. Nothing good will ever come out of cheap emotionalism. Every political realist knows that the Kashmir Conflict is not so easy. The parties have to take into account many factors in finding a workable, equitable and acceptable solution. This can only be done when the rulers of India and Pakistan sit down on table with the intention to solve it, with utilising the mediator, as lot of bilateral meetings were held between these two countries but nothing good happen with those that is why mediation might play an important role to keep it going till its conclusion. This way of dealing with the issue will not only help Kashmir but also has the potential to make India and Pakistan as close partners in trade, education, joint projects for the welfare of the people of the region instead of using enormous resources on military, military hardware and weapons. Actually the people of India and Pakistan were not born to be the enemies of each other; however the toxic life consuming conflict has been instrumental in creating enmity between the people of the two countries. However, it is a fact that the people of the two countries belong to the same broad culture of the Subcontinent. They look very much the same. If they were left to themselves they will get on well with each other as they did before the Partition of 1947.

(Authors are the Law Students. Views are their own)

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