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New Hampshire’s Involvement in Kashmir

New Hampshire Senate’s new focus on Kashmir issue NH state delegation visits Pakistan on “fact-finding mission”

At this time when the whole world has been praising and appreciating the democratic polity in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the recently held successful assembly elections which saw a credible government coming to power, a group of legislators from New Hampshire state have chosen this time to ridicule the Indian authority on Kashmir.

Led by Robert J. Giuda, prime sponsor and Deputy Majority Leader of the New Hampshire House, who led a delegation of members of the New Hampshire Legislature to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir late last month along with several members of the media on a “fact-finding mission” , actually used the trip to meet local and high-level Pakistani and Kashmiri officials, visit refugee camps and hold local public forums with Kashmiris to discuss the conflict besides addressing a joint session of the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir Assembly . The delegation along with members of the New Hampshire Senate and media included Pakistani-origin member of the NH Assembly Saghir Tahir besides others.

Infact , the origin of their visit to Pakistan lies in a House Concurrent Resolution 16 (HCR 16) passed by majority voice vote in mid-February by the New Hampshire Senate in United States urging the United States Congress to hold hearings into the issues attendant to the Kashmir conflict and urging all parties to that conflict to abide by the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.

Even though with the passing of this resolution, the New Hampshire Legislature (www.state.nh.us) has become the first in the United States to ask the Congress to open an inquiry into Kashmir ,the Indian government, intellectuals, politicians and thinkers have not only ignored this “American-opinion manipulation” which has continued for the past many years now but have not attached any significance to this visit of Guida and Co.

This resolution urges the United States to facilitate a just, peaceful, and rapid resolution to the Kashmiri conflict between India and Pakistan; to bring a cessation of atrocities against the people of Jammu and Kashmir; and as a result, to reduce the threat of nuclear war in South-West Asia.

“The people of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir have for the past 55 years been subjected to documented and unspeakable human rights abuses, including the execution of civilians, the rape and burning of women, the immolation and mutilation of children, the deliberate shelling of civilians by military artillery, and the torture and murder of political detainees; and two wars between India and Pakistan, in 1965 and 1971, failed to justly resolve either the issue self-determination or the ongoing and egregious violations of human rights. The threat of nuclear war between India and Pakistan has reached unprecedented levels because of the volatility of the issues attendant to the accession of Kashmir”, it further read.

Besides calling upon “all parties to this conflict to adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights forthwith”, this resolution also read that the observers from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch free should be given unrestricted access to the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir to monitor the status of human rights therein.

The copies of this resolution have been sent to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

Though Guida and Company managed to pass a Kashmir resolution by the New Hampshire State Government (www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2003/HCR0016.html) , however, this did not generate much response here in the country. For the reason that a strong pro-Pakistan lobby working quite actively in United States is not hidden from anybody.

Robert Blackwill with Mufti
Robert Blackwill with Mufti

Besides, another factor as to why not much credence is being given to the Guida Mission is that the Kashmir observers believe that America has  made it clear time and again that she would not interfere in Kashmir. Besides, the US ambassador in India Robert Blackwill has who was recently in Jammu and Kashmir, has appreciated the popular government besides indirectly snubbing the Hurriyat Conference for claiming to be the representative of Kashmir people. So has British politician Sir Rob Young. Interestingly, Guida admits that he nor his fellow representatives in American state, knew little about Kashmir.

Says Prof Hari Om, a political analyst and Professor of Modern History at Jammu University : “This resolution does not have any significance for us. The Indian government have so far actually ignored this part of manipulations for decades and had the whole American opinion ranging against it while Pakistan has been persuading it from the day one.”

This anti-India lobby is very active in America unlike India in United States and has been very a very active since 1989, says Prof Hari Om adding that  this resolution adopted by the New Hampshire House is not going to affect us as US Secy of state has in clear terms said that Pakistan must stop infiltration and cross border terrorism in Kashmir.

Political circles are agog with the reports that this New hamsphire resolution on Kashsmir is the outcome of a Michigan-based PR firm which the Pakistani government has employed paying 600,000 dollars a year and also the efforts of Pakistani-origin member of the NH Assembly, Saghir Tahir.

However for the time being , Robert Guida and Company is awaiting a response from the Indian government as to whether a similar fact-finding visit can be arranged to the Indian-side of Kashmir.

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