Chewing The Fat In Catch-22 International Kashmir Conference-NUML

Dr. Sheikh Waleed Rasool.

Three days  heart to heart talk,  Titled; Kashmir dispute,  “past present and future”, organized by International relations department of National University of modern languages (NUML) and sponsored by Higher education commission (HEC) creamed up the crop with positive note on 1st March in Islamabad. The organizers seemed to have hunch to put numerous problems related to conflict analysis for empirical quarry to scholars’ of diverse disciplines and nationalities. The topics selected for debate were multi-dimensional e.g., resistance movement to intifada, Geo-political and geo-economical issues, CBMS and Human rights, National and international dynamics, linkages of Kashmir issue with CPEC, inter and intra state linkages of Kashmir, legalism to realism besides its historic perspective. The selection of themes speaks volumes that the organizers were having fingers on the pulse of  dispute with understanding of the sensitivities of the subject have been debated since seven centuries from academic discourses to battlefields.

The conference was inaugurated by Chairman Higher Education commission Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, beside the Rector of NUML Maj Gen® Zia Uddin Najam. Delegates participated from IoK, UK, USA and Diaspora. Prof Dr. Arshad Ali was Chief Guest in concluding ceremony while as convener of APHC(G) also spoke on the concluding session. Very few abstracts were accepted by reviewers, presented during various sessions, moderated by dignitaries and professionals of international repute.

The conference was multi-disciplined and multi-dimensional in approach at a crucial juncture when Pakistani political parties were engaged in much hyped senate elections and the temperature of the parliament elections is about to kick off. Foreign office was engaged with FATF issue.

To gauge the achievement of the hard nosed moot depends upon multiple variables. The planning was marvelous in order to handle huge gathering in hash hour in a packed hall, with audience, mostly of degree students having fingers in the pie. It was master piece of administrative skills of Prof. Dr.Sarwat Raoof the facility member of department along her team. The heart of the successes was the selection of the scholars’, themes, topics, and moderators in which contribution of Dr. Syed Waqas of public policy department was visible who presented the paper on cross LoC trade also.

The degree of freedom in presentation of papers was of optimum level. Every presenter was questioned after every concluding session to prove validity of the content and strength of argument. The format of the moot was of international standard, as after conclusion of each and every session, speaker was put in to test by audience in packed hall to prove worth of his argument. To give the free room to audience to augment the argument of speaker or to   criticize what was being delivered was advanced module to measure the degree of the argument presented.

The renowned author and scholar Victoria Schofeild  presented her papers on podium. She was asked by the audience that despite she wrote couple of good seller books on Kashmir, but moving beyond conflict management, conflict transformation  and conflict prevention, “Is she having any concrete suggestion to give gentle nudge to present stalemate,?” Her response didn’t satisfy the audience which gave birth to many concurrent questions though she tried her utmost to satisfy the audience while giving answers from realistic prism.

Ms Samia sabir presented her work on Kashmir pandits exodus from the valley of Kashmir since 1989 and their miseries in India was new dimensions of the moot, as before this conference, only the sad saga of the Kashmir Muslims was represented but little was told about the Kashmiri Brahmins suffering, She argued that Kashmiri Brahmins are in hot water in India. She raised the humanitarian dimension of internal displacement. Her analysis was little support of validated data because her argument was based on one side saga which was neither internally validated nor externally. She accepted in question answer session that her paper was based on the data which she collected from one side of divide. She was not having in-depth literature review about the conspiracy when Kashmiri pundits flee from the valley on the advice of than Governor Jagmohan and left their co-habitants at the mercy of Indian brutal machine equipped with PSA and POTA. She did not validated her study that more civilians of Kashmiri Muslims had been killed than Kashmiri Pundiths in same period.

Amya Clara of South India,  based in london was having balanced argument which was supported by theory. She maintained impartiality and bridged the gapes what are missing links in resolution of humanitarian issue. Tahir Aziz of Conciliation resources-London represented the gospel truth of current scenario. He seemed to have gift of the gab while having huge experience on Track-two diplomacy. He presented his argument with understanding of geo-political and geo-economical compulsions. He unveiled some gray areas of Kashmir conflict keeping his huge experience in concern which is food for thought when there is stalemate.

The paper titles leaner regression analysis of Kashmir dispute was also present by this writer to suggest alternative routes to reach the international community. United Nations resolutions were dented by Military ruler of Pakistan Gen® Perveiz Musheref. UNSC resolutions bestow the legal status of the Kashmir conflict under the international law however, falls under chapter-vi. The State is unit of analysis in geo-politics therefore; state is only actor which has say in IGO’s. Alhough, Kashmir is principal party but not the international actor of dispute though paying huge cost in shape of red hot blood, therefore, it is sole responsibility of the state to  present the Kashmir case in international forums and organizations in uncongenial manner with the help of allies. Though, security and peace is domain of UNSC but there are alternative routes available. UN Secretary General has special powers under the article 99 of UN charter. UNGC route is also viable to push the resolutions to put the Kashmir on global radar. UNHC is also the viable platform to put the plight of Kashmri people in open were it can be seen and dealt with. Pakistan can use his peace levers positively who contained the terrorism at home without denting the sovereignty  of any neighboring nation.

To present the arguments with diverse angles is pre requisite to reach conclusion which is beauty of such moots. The conference served its purpose by examining the complexity of the conflict multi-dimensionally. The scholars were from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, school of thought, and geography which helped to trace the impediments.

The conference was unique in hang up, deliverance arrangement and timing which extended for three consecutive days of spring. It generated some novel ideas in diversity. The vibrant leader of prestigious International Relations department Prof Dr. Sarwar seemed to have eagle beaver with intellectual  acumen and heart of gold to get up with nerves while opening the door of the multi-level, multi-linguistic and multi-faith level dialogue while, providing the platform and room for diverse actors. To give free rein to speakers depicts his qualities of leadership. He seems to give his right arm to his team during the moot.

Scholars seemed to have on one track of mind besides chewing the fat in catch-22 situation when India is not even to resume the talks, which he halted unitarily in 2014.

The speaker’s shared common understanding that all routed of peace in south Asia passes through Kashmir were peace is in pieces and requires a chance. Principle of humanity don’t have age bar and don’t get old so United resolutions are intact and is basic framework for resolution of Kashmir issue. Human rights violations perpetuated by Indian forces shall be halted for sake of humanity, therefore, restoration of normalcy are prerequisite for meaningful dialogue. New Delhi shall resume talks. Detainees shall be released to give space for meaningful parlays. CBMS shall be consolidated. Speakers were of opinion that though there are some legal implications but Kashmir is not territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Kashmir are principal party to dispute. Mega powers shall play their rule in bringing India and Pakistan together for meaningful parlays.

There is huge gap between theory and practice in international conflicts therefore, intellectual discourse needs to be consolidated in inclusive mode. These  type of conferences demands consistency which is full support of HEC, foreign office, civil society and the people at the helm of affairs.  There are numerous pitfalls and fault lines in resolution of Kashmir dispute. The innovative modules needs to be explored to give room to peace.  It is duty and responsibility of scholars to explore them and suggest a way forward. It is only power of knowledge to have potential to act as catalyst and NUMUL has played her rule to pool collective efforts but it demands deduction to pick a thread.

The writer hails from Srinagar.

MSc, Mphil(MC), PhD (IR) Scholar

Accredited Journalist/Freelance Columnist, and can be reached at

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