Editor’s Prefix: As of June 10, 2017, this article has been receiving unusually high traffic from various locations with speculations being in the social media as people try to justify one wrong with another.
However, we must be aware of the fact that we are all one and united, and we stand by each other in times of grief – the times we need each other the most. Kashmiris will not be divided by the divisive policies of anyone.
This author in this write-up discusses Rafsanjani as a politician; not his country, sect or religion.
Economic Sanctions were due upon India in the United Nations back in 1994 citing Human Rights Violations in Kashmir. However, the then Iranian president Rafsanjani played a clever role in sabotaging Kashmir cause to save India.
That was the last time Pakistan tried to get a resolution on the Kashmir issue tabled in a UN forum.
1. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (25 August 1934 – 8 January 2017) was an influential Iranian politician and writer, who was the fourth president of Iran from 3 August 1989 until 3 August 1997.
2. Back in 1994, when India was on the economic brink, The Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), supported by influential Western nations, was pushing a resolution at the UN Commission Human Rights (UNCHR), later rechristened as Human Rights Council, to condemn India for human right violations in Kashmir. The resolution, with UNCHR approval, was to be referred to the UN Security Council for initiating economic sanctions and other punitive measures against India.
3. The decisions in OIC are by consensus and Iran’s agreement was necessary.
4. Recalling how India was saved from disgrace, former ambassador and expert on Iranian affairs M K Bhadrakumar believes that Rao had shrewdly prevailed on Iran to abstain from voting. “Once there is no consensus in the OIC, the resolution was bound to fall through,” Bhadrakumar pointed out.
5. In the course of the day, he went through his “Kashmir brief” diligently in meetings with his Iranian interlocutors, namely, Velayati, President Rafsanjani and Iranian Majlis Speaker Nateq-Nouri. By evening, Singh returned to his hospital bed in Delhi, but with an assurance from President Rafsanjani to Prime Minister Rao “that Iran will do all it can do to ensure that no harm comes to India.”
6. The Indian delegation to the UNCHR led by Leader of the Opposition Atal Behari Vajpayee comprised minister of state for external affairs Salman Khurshid and Farooq Abdullah. Basking in this diplomatic victory, Vajpayee and Abdullah were unaware that, three days ago, Dinesh Singh had laid the ground for it in Tehran; and Rao never tried to steal the credit from Vajpayee and Abdullah.
7. Much later, it came to be known that when the Pakistani ambassador sought to move the OIC resolution, his Iranian counterpart in Geneva, under orders from Teheran, backed out. He argued that as a close friend of both India and Pakistan, Iran was ready to sort out their problems and there was no need to raise these in an international forum. That was the last time Pakistan tried to get a resolution on the Kashmir issue tabled in a UN forum.
8. However, the wheel has come full circle. Iranian officials say their gesture was not reciprocated, and accuse India of “backstabbing” by voting against Iran at the IAEA. Bhadrakumar maintains that Iran was harbouring a sense of betrayal. It was angered when India abstained on the Canada-sponsored resolution, and subsequently summoned Iran’s Charge De Affairs Reza Alaei and issued a demarche for Khamenei impinging on the country’s territorial integrity.
9. The Iranian leader’s appeal to the world’s Muslim elite to back the “struggle” in Jammu and Kashmir, equating it with the “nations” of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan had New Delhi bristling. In its official reaction, the Ministry of External Affairs said: “Our decision on the vote was made after due deliberation.” India disapproved of Khamenei’s message to Haj pilgrims that “today the major duties of the elite of the Islamic Ummah are to provide help to the Palestinian nation and the besieged people of Gaza, to sympathise and provide assistance to the nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Kashmir, to engage in struggle and resistance against the aggressions of the United States and the Zionist regime.”
With inputs from The Milli Gazette and India’s Foreign Policy by Anjali Ghosh