Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Kashmir Conflict: Bosnia Outrages Invite Comparison with Half-Century-Old Plight of Kashmir

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Kashmir Conflict: Bosnia Outrages Invite Comparison with Half-Century-Old Plight of Kashmir

Article excerpt

THE KASHMIR CONFLICT: Bosnia Outrages Invite Comparison With Half-Century-Old Plight of Kashmir

The barbaric situation in Bosnia and Kosovo has outraged the world and caused regrets that the enormous toll of human lives was not averted by timely action at an earlier stage. The failure of the international community can be explained but not denied.

In another part of the globe, however, Indian-held Kashmir, atrocities of a similar pattern have been, and are being, perpetrated with no fear of a corrective international response. To date, no one power or combination of powers has blown the whistle.

Kashmir, located in the heart of Asia, is surrounded by Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and India, and has an area of 86,000 square miles -- more than three times the size of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg combined. It occupies a larger area than do 87 existing sovereign countries and has a population of 13 million, making it more populous than 114 independent member states of the United Nations.

When the Kashmir dispute was first brought to the United Nations, the Security Council, with the firm backing of the United States, urged that the people of Kashmir be given the right of self-determination to decide the future status of their homeland. At that time, the Soviet Union did not dissent from it.

Later, because of its Cold War alliance with India, the Soviet Union blocked every Security Council resolution calling for implementation of the settlement plan.

Since 1990, Indian forces have been engaged in a sustained campaign of slaughter, rape, arson and destruction. This state terrorism has resulted in more than 60,000 deaths. The intervention of the international community is needed to bring the genocide in Kashmir to a quick end. Initiation of a political dialogue between the Kashmiri leadership and the governments of India and Pakistan will set the stage for a democratic and peaceful solution. …

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