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Kashmir & Palestine: The Fallacy of Analogy

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Research Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

The recently concluded thirteenth Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Kuala Lumpur again witnessed another low point in India-Pakistan relations. Gen Pervez Musharraf resorted to his platitudes on just struggles. "NAM must remain a symbol of hope for the people who even today struggle to realize their right to self determination. Two supreme cases stand out Kashmir and Palestine." He added, "if Palestine dispute is a matter of principle so is Kashmir dispute a matter of principle." In the intellectual circles of Pakistan there is a tendency to equate the Kashmir dispute with the Palestinian conflict. However, their internationalization is the only similarity between them, and the General must know that the similarity ends there. The reasons for similarity are:

Right to self determination;

Negation of elections that express the popular will; and

'Terrorism' expressing popular grievances.

The goal of self-determination has always been sought by nationalist movements against colonialism. The celebrated 1960 UN General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (Resolution 1514) emphatically declared that "the further continuation of colonialism…is a crime which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations."

Between Kashmiris and Palestinians, the idea of self-determination is differently conceived. The Palestinians are people displaced from their territories for more than fifty years. Even under the Oslo process they have gained a mere semblance of "Self-Rule." This does not apply to the Kashmiris and this logic, if stretched further, could lead to ridiculous results in India, a land of diversity where every area has a distinct identity. At the international level, there is now a certain reluctance to pursue this issue. The Yugoslav disintegration has demonstrated confusion in how much support should be given for self-determination, and where this support should end. No one can argue that every community with a claim to its own identity should have its own state. There are, for example, more than four thousand languages, but no one visualizes as many states. No wonder that the then British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd declared: "I hope we do not see the creation of any more nation states," in a meeting at the Royal Institute of the International Affairs in London, in June 1993

The idea of representative government was one of the ideals of the 'Enlightenment' and elections were sought to provide ways and means to realize this ideal. The hardliners have come to reject them. The Palestinian



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