Burning Kashmir Issue And Islamabad’s Plight For Dialogue

Every year, February 5 is observed as a day of solidarity with Kashmiris. Pakistanis stands firm with the voice of their Kashmiri brothers and sisters. The day’s importance has increased as over 19 months have passed since Kashmir has been drenched in the darkness of major human rights violations.

India’s stripping of the region of its special status and imposed lockdown remains a contentious topic. Pakistan has ensured its fraternity with its Kashmiri family when the land hailed the slogan “Pakistan stands with Kashmir.” Islamabad has stood with Kashmir since October 27, 1947, when Srinagar, faced its first blow by Indian forces, which initiated the accession from India.

More than seven decades have since passed but the solution of Kashmir has not been settled. Both countries have fought three wars, and among them, two wars were over the status of Kashmir. And then there were two very close calls in 1987 at Siachen and in 1999 at Kargil. The valley remains at the heart of all excursions.

India has been quick to deploy its nuclear adherents on the international border with Pakistan. Following the terrorist attack on the parliament in New Delhi, without proof all guns were aimed at the neighbor. But the necessary and immediate intervention of the US and G-8 countries diplomatic and political pressures worked its magic to avoid this calamitous clash.

For Pakistan, the Kashmir conflict is important and sensitive. Islamabad identifies the conflict similar to the separation of the two states, Pakistan and India from British rule based on religion. The Islamic Republic, the only one with its origins, has insisted since day one that New Delhi cannot ignore Kashmir as a Muslim majority region and it rejects the attempts of New Delhi to gain control over Srinagar.

New Delhi rejects the claim of Islamabad, and wants to change the status quo. It wants presence in the region reasons that can only be stated as obstructive. This has been followed by atrocities of the Indian government but they have been unable to break the will of the Kashmiri people.

The international community bears witness to how Indian state-terrorism, extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris, unprecedented restrictions in freedom of speech, fake encounters, cordon-and-search operations, custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership and youth, use of pellet guns, destruction and burning of houses to inflict ‘collective punishment’ on the Kashmiris communities, and other methods of subjugation. All of these methods have failed to shake the spirit of the Kashmiri people in their justified struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination.

New Delhi has its way of stating the facts. According to this, their invasion is a reaction to an invasion by Pakistan’s irregular tribal militia, which managed to “conquer” one-third of Jammu and Kashmir, now known as Azad Kashmir, or Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Two-thirds of the Himalayan valley is still controlled by India, even though the country has faced resilience from the valley’s residents.

This has continued with New Delhoi’s attempt to subjugate Indian administered part of Jammu Kashmir with a strict lockdown and communications blackout since August 5,2019. People have been forced offline, the economy crippled and even the basic utilities have become impossible.

Islamabad has condemned New Delhi’s unconstitutional decision. Imran Khan sided with awe-stricken Kashmiris when he called out these unilateral actions, military siege, and communications blockade accompanied by illegal measures just to bring about demographic change in the valley. This only exposed another dimension of RSS-inspired ‘Hindutva’ ideology.

The extremist ideology (Hindutva) and hegemonic designs (Akhand Bharat) are a danger to regional peace and stability. Islamabad’s foreign office has repeatedly asked the international community to play its role. There is a dire need for the urgent lifting of lockdown and military siege to restore fundamental human rights of Kashmiris. However, there has not been an action till the current date.

Yet one cannot deny the international community’s role. The Security Council’s aversion to mediating the Kashmir dispute notwithstanding, influential actors, particularly the U.S., have been pro-active in reducing tensions between Pakistan and India, given the risk of nuclear war. Hence U.S. facilitation could help to create an enabling environment for negotiations on the Kashmir dispute. 

With the new administration in the U.S, Kashmiris hope that the “international legitimacy” of the dispute. After all, it is enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, which has the collective responsibility of ensuring compliance by India of its international obligations.

With enraging emotions in Srinagar, it is very important to take practical steps to stop state-terrorism as a tool to destabilize the region. Work for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute following the relevant UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people is of core importance to solve the matter at hand.

Moreover, the barbarity of the Indian forces in Kashmir is increasing day by day. Kashmiri people were not allowed to celebrate Eid Al Azah, an annual religious festivity. They were not allowed to pray and sacrifice animals. According to the Human Rights association, no state or government can ban religious and traditional works of any nation. But Delhi does as it pleases in the valley.

Islamabad has reiterated that no durable peace can be achieved in the region without achieving a just solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Every year for the past 74 years, Pakistan openly condemns the tyranny of India and its forceful occupation of the region. This is why February 5 is important. It is the recollection as a Black Day, representing a dark chapter in human history for the intensity of human rights violations.

The solution could only be achieved following the UN Charter. But India’s reluctance in coming to the dialogue table has not allowed it. While Islamabad has tried its best in bringing out the best potential of the South Asian region, especially on its borders, its plight in the Kashmir issue goes unheard.

The role of Pakistan in resolving Afghan conflict and practically bringing a peace agreement between the USA and Taliban cannot be understated. Islamabad understands the consequence and effect of the resolution and accepts that all stakeholders and parties in the conflicts need to be addressed to overcome this obstacle. But is out of answers in reinforcing this with New Delhi.

The conflict is on indefinite suspension and awaits for the relations to improve. Some governments might have used the Kashmir conflict to reinforce Pakistani nationalism and others to strengthen pan-Islamism. Yet, significantly, human lives have be protected and their natural freedom should be provided to them.

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