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Kashmir file re-opened at the UN
By Javed Matjee

Srinagar: Notwithstanding New Delhi’s reaction against the observations made by the United Nation’s chief observer in Kashmir, a number of separatist political and militant outfits have hailed the statement of the observer. More surprisingly, a number of pro-India political parties and their leaders have expressed almost similar views, matching with those of separatist circles. New Delhi has already termed the statement by the observer as ‘uncalled for’. The chief of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) Maj. Gen. Hermann Loidolt said on 29 October that both India and Pakistan were playing political tricks in Kashmir. The chief had also said that Kashmir would be an issue for the United States to solve. He termed Jammu and Kashmir as tormented ‘country’. The Chief observer was chatting with some media persons invited to the U.N office here.

The separatist political amalgam All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has termed the U.N observer's statement as ‘ admission of reality by the world body’. Reacting to the statement of the observer the senior APHC leader and former Chairman of the conference Syed Ali Geelani said that the Kashmir dispute has been on the U.N agenda for the last half a century. According to Geelani, some day or the other the U.N has to react and available indications reveal that the world can no longer afford to ignore Kashmir issue. "We welcome the statement of the UNMOGIP chief and hope that he and other members of his mission will not ignore great sacrifices offered by the people of Kashmir and atrocities committed over them by Indian forces", Mr. Geelani said.

The Hurriyat central executive met here three days after the U.N observer’s conversation with press personnel. Sources in the Hurriyat said that though other matters were also discussed in the meeting, the observer’s statement was the central point of the agenda. Most of the central executive members were represented in the meeting by heir respective aides, who expressed satisfaction over the U.N observer's statement, saying that the world has started taking keen interest in the Kashmir dispute. The Hurriyat central executive meeting, which was finally deferred till 3 November, expressed happiness over the observations made by the U.N mission chief in Kashmir.

Another APHC central executive member and prominent Shia leader Molvi Mohammad Abbas Ansari also hailed the statement made by the chief observer. The Molvi said that the statement made by the observer has nullified Indian claims on Kashmir. He said that the observations made by the U.N representative also confirm that the ongoing movement in Jammu and Kashmir is a freedom struggle and Indian propaganda, dubbing it as terrorism, had no basis. "It is after about fifty years that the world body has again endorsed the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir", the APHC leader said. Many militant commanders have taken the U.N observer’s statement as an endorsement of the armed struggle going on in Kashmir.

It may be mentioned here that this is for the first time in the 50 year-long history of the UNMOGIP in Kashmir that it’s chief has made his observations in public. Maj. Gen. Loidolt, from Austria, is leaving for Rawalpindi for the coming six months and will return here in May next year. The chief of the U.N mission spends six months here and another six months in Pakistan. Gen. Loidolt hinted at the U.S involvement in resolution of the Kashmir issue, saying that the U.S has a role in the solution. Terming the Kashmir issue as highly complicated, the chief of the U.N mission said that confrontation; particularly war can never resolve the issue. He declared Kashmir as disputed and the line of control as ceasefire line. The observer stressed that the line (ceasefire) must be respected. "We do not call it the international border but border between Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir", Gen. Loidolt said, adding that this was the official stance of UN.
The observations made by the chief observer here have highly disturbed New Delhi. It was just three hours after Maj. Gen. Loidolt shared his views with a team or journalists in Srinagar, that New Delhi came with the official reaction against the statement. Two days after the official reaction revealed in New Delhi, the union minister of state for external affairs Umar Abdullah hit hard at the U.N. observer. Participating in a function at Jammu, Umar, who is the only son of state chief minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah, reacted in his father’s way. Mr. Umar said, "They should only perform their duties and should not mess with other things". The minister also hinted at New Delhi going to lodge ‘strong protest’ with the U.N secretary General against the observer’s statement. "He (Gen. Loidolt) has no business to meddle with the internal affairs of our country. We will lodge strong protest with the Secretary General"; Mr. Umar said perhaps little knowing that the mission chief would have never spoken without the consent of his superiors. Surprisingly when lakhs of people used to throng the U.N office in Kashmir with submissions and memoranda to intervene in Kashmir issue, not a single word was coming from any U.N official posted in the state. Today the open observations by the mission chief have left none without surprise. However the people here have taken the statement by the mission chief as a ‘positive development’.

A number of pro India leaders have termed the statement of the observer as significant in more than one ways. According to Ms. Mufti Mehbooba, the vice president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the statement must push Indian leadership to realize the facts. Ms. Mehbooba is the daughter of the former Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Syeed. Mufti himself heads the PDP. Ms. Mehbooba said that the statement is likely to strengthen the militant and political outfits seeking Kashmir’s cessation from India. The Indian National Congress leader in Kashmir Mohammad Shafi Qureshi while reacting to the statement made by the U.N official, said that this has raised the need that India and Pakistan settle the issue mutually. Mr. Qureshi a former union railway minister is presently heading the state unit of the congress party. The Communist party leader Yusuf Tarigami expressing his views on the observer’s statement said that it leads to believe that coming days could be tougher for New Delhi as far as Kashmir issue was concerned. 

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