Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 7) [Post 17]

The latest posts on this series about TERRITORIAL DISPUTES centred the attention on Kashmir. The last two posts introduced the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY and some key elements related to Kashmir respectively.

In general, by applying the egalitarian shared sovereignty, as Kashmiris would be citizens of both sovereign States, they would have a common passport—a Kashmiri passport—valid in both Pakistan and India. In relation to their language, it is a fact the three main spoken ones are Kashmiri, Urdu and Hindi; so they all can be made official. In religion, as the second pre-requisite recognises basic non-political liberties, freedom of belief would be adopted at a constitutional level, so that no one may be discriminated based on religion. All this is controlled by the lexically prior prerequisite of non-political liberties.

In particular, as the difference in this example is given by the larger society and stronger economy in India, this State would have a stronger constraint in being a welcoming party for the Kashmiris (input-to-output ratio principle). In that sense, the main concern for them—unemployment—would be acknowledged (principle of efficiency). That is because, although Pakistan would also have the obligation to welcome Kashmiris as its citizens in its territory, the Kashmiris would have the right to opt to be nationals of both States—i.e. they have the right to relocate to either State. Thus, even though it is a fact that both populations, that of Pakistan and that of India are large in comparison to Kashmir, they would not be a threat to local employees since in order to work in Kashmir restrictions on nationals of either States would apply—because they would be nationals of either India or Pakistan, but not Kashmiris.

In regard to governmental corruption and threats to human rights, reciprocal control amongst the three parties (egalitarian consensus   principle) could secure an improvement in the present situation—a point to be discussed when dealing with government in future posts. In particular, employment opportunities generated within the boundaries of both Kashmir because of the exploitation of natural resources, could be the result of a joint enterprise, details of which will be discussed when considering territory.


NOTE: based on Chapter 7, Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.


Jorge Emilio Núñez

20th March 2018

Monday, 19 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 6) [Post 16]

We introduced the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY last time. Today we present some key elements related to Kashmir. Next time both are combined (the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY and the elements below) to offer a potential ideal solution to Kashmir.

There are several agents in this particular dispute with various features in terms of population and therefore, there are undoubtedly several differences amongst them. In what follows, some of these differences will be used to show how the egalitarian shared sovereignty works.
For example, India presents the largest of the three populations with 1,210,854,977 people (Census India 2011) and the biggest economy with a nominal GDP per capita of 1,617 (International Monetary Fund estimates for 2015–in U$S dollars).
Meanwhile, Pakistan has a population of 132,352,279 people (Census Pakistan 1998; the only official figure so far)  with a nominal GDP per capita of 1,450 (International Monetary Fund estimates for 2015–in U$S dollars).
Jammu and Kashmir showed a total of 12,541,302 people [Figure and percentages referred to the state of Jammu and Kashmir that includes Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh (Census India 2011)] with no official figures with regard to their GDP per capita (there is no International Monetary Fund estimate for Jammu and Kashmir).

By combining these figures features, it is easy to see that India is both larger in terms of population and nominal GDP per capita in comparison to Pakistan, and this offers a difference in this conflict that can help to achieve a solution. That is because in relation to the inhabitants of both parts of Kashmir (under Indian and Pakistani administration), although they do think the dispute is important for them personally, for a very large majority the main concerns are other issues. Unemployment, government corruption, poor economic development, human rights abuses are what the Kashmiris are really interested in.

NOTE: based on Chapter 7, Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Jorge Emilio Núñez
19th March 2018

Friday, 16 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 5) [Post 15]

Time to solve Kashmir. The last four posts introduced very briefly the background situation of this TERRITORIAL DISPUTE.

Post 12: Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 2)

The previous posts show that the sub-elements that constitute the population of a State are not, in principle, controversial per se. However, all these can in fact be controversial if one party, or more, may wish to impose language, religion or cultural domination—the case of Kashmir. So, it is not that there is no controversy, but that: a) this form of imposition is not necessary; b) a just approach must resist and exclude it.

Several solutions have been proposed in order to untangle the dispute in Kashmir. However, in all cases at least one of the parties is left outside the picture. To grant the sovereignty to Pakistan would be opposed by some minorities—Hindus and Buddhists. The opposite solution, sovereignty handed over to India would have the opposition of most of the Muslim population. Then, neither of these two solutions is welcomed by the Jammu and Kashmir or by Azad Kashmir inhabitants. But, even though independence is what the majority of the inhabitants of both Kashmirs want, it is threatened by both India and Pakistan because it would imply losing claimed territories, consequent rights over them and could result in a possible improvement of their peers’ situation.

Indeed, the inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir and Azad Kashmir seem opposed to joint sovereignty. However, the model proposed here introduces features that make it a more attractive option also for them. That is because, if Kashmir, India and Pakistan decided to share their sovereignty over the territory under dispute, by applying the egalitarian shared sovereignty, none of the involved parties would interfere with the internal affairs of any of the other parties—first pre-requisite—, and they all would respect the basic non-political liberties of the three populations—Kashmir, India and Pakistan—by fulfilling the second pre-requisite. Thus, they would conduct their mutual relations according to the principles recognised by the law of peoples—the third pre-requisite.

The allocation of sovereignty will be given by: a) equal right to participate (egalitarian consensus principle); b) the nature and degree of participation depends on efficiency of accomplishing the particular objective/area/activity at issue (principle of efficiency); c) each party receives a benefit (in terms of rights and opportunities) that depends on what that party cooperates with (input-to-output ratio principle); and d) provided the party with greater ability and therefore greater initial participation rights has the obligation to bring the other two parties towards equilibrium (equilibrium proviso). I call this way of dealing with sovereignty conflicts or disputes the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY.

Many questions are to be expected. Amongst them: How is that translated into Kashmir’s reality and its population? The answer has two parts: a) the qualitative differences amongst the parties; b) the real concerns of the inhabitants of Kashmir.

The next posts on this blog series about TERRITORIAL DISPUTES will cover these questions.


NOTE: based on Chapter 7, Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Jorge Emilio Núñez
16th March 2018

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 4) [Post 14]

Sovereignty conflicts like Kashmir in which several international agents claim sovereign rights for different reasons over the same piece of land have a particular feature: their solution seems to require a mutually exclusive relation amongst the agents because it is thought that the sovereignty over the third territory can be granted to only one of them. Indeed, sovereignty is often regarded as an absolute concept (that is to say, exclusive, and not shareable).

Kashmir is a clear example of a zero sum game, with many negative outcomes of different sorts (e.g. social struggle, bad governance, inefficient exploitation of natural resources, tension in international relations, and threat to local and international peace). Thus, while these conflicts are in principle confined to specific areas and start with negative consequences primarily for the local population, they tend quickly to expand to the regional and—even—the international level (e.g. effects on international price of oil, arms trafficking, terrorism, war). There are many issues at stake domestically and internationally.


Only to have a glimpse, today’s posts included below articles from the media covering this territorial dispute. In all cases, although these sovereignty conflict has been and is object of study of many sciences—law, political sciences, international relations, only to name a few—these sciences do not share their developments and both different approaches and different languages were applied. Indeed, although multi and inter-disciplinary studies are promoted in speeches everywhere, it is more a nominal aim rather than an actual reality.

I realised that the answer was very simple. Some problems are never solved because most look for more problems, problems within a problem, or just simply give up or are so self-centred they think that problem will not affect them and hence, why would they even think about it. Ergo, the answer came to me: some problems like Kashmir are never solved because people (or their representatives) do not look for a solution.

Only days ago the Kashmir Observer published:

“[…] Both New Delhi and Kashmir Valley now deal with the stereotypes of each other than the complex realities as they exist on the ground. But this needs to change. And it is incumbent on the media to present a correct picture of the state as for the union government to get serious about the situation in the state […]”

Complete article at:


On their territories profile’s section, BBC informs us about Kashmir:
“[…] Since India's partition and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two wars over the Muslim-majority territory, which both claim in full but control in part.

Today it remains one of the most militarised zones in the world. China administers parts of the territory […]”

Complete article at:

Dr Nitasha Kaul, a Kashmiri novelist and an academic based in London, writes:

“[…] There is a widening chasm between the narratives, especially of Kashmiri Hindus (Kashmiri Pandits) and Kashmiri Muslims, that serve the purpose of Hindutva ideologues in power in India, pro-India Kashmiri politicians in Srinagar, and strategic interests of Pakistan.

The tearing apart of any pan-Kashmiri identity along communal lines has been neither natural nor inevitable. It has been engineered over time to serve a whole array of vested interests relating to electoral advantage, weaponry, war, militarisation, tourism and media that gain significantly from the indifference, ignorance, vengeance, resentment and domination of divided Kashmiri communities […]”

“[…]What else, but truths and reconciliations, recognition of the pain and suffering of each other as Kashmiris, solidarity and creation of processes to speak to each other in order to realise a future of peace and freedom, multiplying the representation of voices within a framework of trustworthy mediated dialogue, honouring of principles of human rights and self-determination, move towards alternative media that allows for honest understanding of issues in all their complexity, growing of the voices that speak for justice and humanity, and the writing of many, many stories that can be heard by those who need to empathise […]”

Complete article at:

In November 2016 Mirza Waheed writes for The Guardian:

“[…]In the past few weeks, the two nuclear states have, between them, killed two dozen civilians and injured scores of others in exchanges of artillery fire across the disputed border – known as the “line of control” – that divides Kashmir into parts controlled by India and Pakistan […]”

“[…] Most shocking of all has been the breaking up of demonstrations with “non-lethal” pellet ammunition, which has blinded hundreds of Kashmiri civilians […]”

Complete article at:

More related recent articles (only a very brief sample) and their weblinks below:

Jorge Emilio Núñez
15th March 2018

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 3) [Post 13]

Kashmir as a territorial dispute has many issues at stake. Potentially, there are many remedies that could be applied. The previous post presented “A Kashmiri Equation” (its abstract) in which Dr. Parasaran Rangarajan summarises the current situation.

Today’s post centres the attention of one of these parties: people. What do Kashmiris want?

In 2009 a poll was commissioned and administered in this territory. The study was published in 2010 by Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs) under the name “Kashmir: Paths to Peace.” This was the first poll to be conducted on both sides of the Line of Control that has separated Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir since the UN ceasefire on 1 January 1949.

The sample was of 3,774 people with face to face interviews. The respondents were adults aged over 16. Of the total respondents 2,374 were from 11 of the 14 were in 11 of the 14 districts in which is divided Jammu and Kashmir. The rest of the respondents, 1400 people, were from seven of the eight districts in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

For the majority the sovereignty issue was an important problem. However, when compared to other realities the poll showed clearly that the people of Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control have other concerns they believed more relevant. A vast majority thought unemployment was the most significant problem (66% in AJK and 87% in J&K). Kashmiris were also concerned about Government corruption (22% AJK and 68% J&K), economic development (42% AJK, 45% J&K), human rights abuses (19% AJK, 43% J&K) and the Kashmir conflict itself (24% AJK, 36% J&K).

The complete study is available at:

The brief on the main website in which this study can be found states:

“The ongoing dispute has poisoned relationships between the two countries, led to thousands of deaths, and blighted the lives of millions of Kashmiris, and in the first decade of this century been a source of terrorist-led violence with a reach well beyond South Asia. The purpose of the poll was to establish current attitudes in Kashmir on both sides of the LoC to alternative scenarios for the resolution of the conflict. The poll took as its starting point the assumption that Kashmiri opinion represents a vital foundation for the region's political future peace and stability, and for wider global security.”

It does result interesting to know what Kashmiris think about this territorial dispute. In particular, because they are the ones that live in that region and therefore, any decision affects them directly (and their future generations). This study (like any other) has a main flaw: although it gives us a glimpse on what Kashmiris may think about the territorial dispute, it remains questionable to argue that this is what most of them want. After all, like any study, it is based on a sample. Hence, as a tool is indeed thought provoking. It would be desirable to have a more in depth questionnaire including clear conceptual references for the respondents, a broader sample, and a more in detail analysis.

Jorge Emilio Núñez
14th March 2018

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 2) [Post 12]

Dr. Parasaran Rangarajan, Consultant for South Asia Analysis Group and Editor-in-chief for the International Law Journal of London, in the abstract about his paper “A Kashmiri Equation” summarises the answers to the questions posed by our previous post (Post 11)


A Kashmiri Equation


"The issue of the Kashmiri question is the longest dispute as of today going back to the formation of the United Nations in 1947. There have been many solutions put forward to find a solution which has been suggested involving all five stakeholders in this complex equation; The Republic of India, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, The People’s Republic of China, Azad Kashmir, and independence organizations with each having its own claim to a part of this region.

In addition, the newly formed BJP led government of India would like to have a debate on Article 370 of the Constitution of India and possibly abrogate it since it gives autonomy and special territory status to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Questions such as are what are the legal repercussions of removing the article for the Indian side of the border considering Indian national legislation such as The Delhi Accord (1952) or 1974 Indira-Sheikh Accord? Is there any future for the current bi-lateral treaties (ex: The Simla Agreement (1972) or Washington Accord (1999)) between India and Pakistan to play a role in the final status of Kashmir taking into account The Vienna Law of Treaties (1969) under international law? Will the Jammu & Kashmir of India’s we have known it be left without any link to the Union if Article 370 is abrogated, therefore, liberating it? Or will it default to the Union like an automatic resulting trust would when there is no certainty on the subject matter are valid and good questions to ask. The Pakistani side of the border of the once Kingdom of Jammu &Kashmir; namely Gilgit-Baltistan’s (aka formerly known as “Northern Areas”) relationship with Pakistan is also examined and how that will factor into a political equation considering the political parties operating there and local aspirations. Will separatist movements gain anything by sustaining or abrogating Article 370 or executing the bilateral treaties to find a political solution? To what extent does China’s role extend to with its claim to Aksai Chin in the context of an entire political solution? We will examine the legal implications of abrogating Article 370 first including the validity of bi-lateral treaties and second, examine a political solution which was endorsed by pro-Indian Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir's first Prime Minister before the position was abolished in the 1965; namely a “condominium” based on the principles of “joint sovereignty” under international law with considerations to a “coregency” as well.”

Complete text available at:


Jorge Emilio Núñez

13th March 2018

Monday, 12 March 2018

Territorial disputes: Kashmir (Part 1) [Post 11]

A long-standing TERRITORIAL DISPUTE is the case of Kashmir. The valley of Kashmir has been a centre of conflict since Ancient times. Some trace the presence of kingdoms in this territory as early as the times of Herodotus and Alexander. Also, from early periods there have been influences from India and China, and different religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, whether Kashmir has been part of an Empire or an independent kingdom. For instance, around 1586 the valley was taken by the Mughals, whose centre of power was Delhi. In the early 18th century, the Persians invaded Delhi. In 1751 the Afghans took over Kashmir.
After that period, the British presence is significant in Asia. In 1809, the British authorities signed a treaty of ‘Amity and Concord’ with Kashmir. The valley was useful for British international agenda because of its geostrategic location against Russia, Afghanistan and China. In 1846, the British authorities signed the ‘Treaty of Amritsar’ with the Dogra King of Kashmir, transferring authority to the Maharaja in exchange for compensation. But this treaty, that was meant to be ‘for ever’ lasted only about a century until British foreign policy changed and decolonisation started; indeed, in 1947 the British left India.

There are often two versions of history. That is mainly because the region presents traces of different and opposed ethnic and religious features. The two main groups are the Hindus and the Muslims. Thus, the Hindus are divided into three main sub-groups—Gors, Karkuns and Buhers—and the Muslims into others—Saiyids, Mughals, Shias, etc. The differences are notorious not only between Hindus and Muslims but also amongst the sub-groups.

In this historical context and with this socially divided background, Kashmir was incorporated to the Indian Union in 1947. Tension between the social groups increased and Hindus and Muslims looked to India and Pakistan respectively for help. Since then, the debate as to whether it should belong to one or two nations persists. The region has been divided into two separate administrations, that of India (Jammu and Kashmir) and that of Pakistan (Azad Kashmir).


To the reader, following two of our previous posts of this series about TERRITORIAL DISPUTES:

a)   What are the issues at stakes in this a territorial dispute?

b)  Which remedy could be used to solve this particular territorial dispute?


For reference to these questions see:
POST 9: Territorial disputes: issues at stake

NOTE: This post is based on Chapter 7 in Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Jorge Emilio Núñez
12th March 2018