ALL DATES in a yearly calendar are same – muted, insensitive, and mere numbers. The dates become days, meaningful ones, stirring emotions, taking up voice, sensitive and empathic how we live in those days. The Kashmir struggle has entered its 74th calendar; the February 5th marked just another date of display of commemoration, yet another ritual to display national solidarity with the Kashmir cause. How far Kashmiris would continue to suffer? How farthose rituals would go? How many Februarys more to live until Kashmiri people get their natural rights of self-determination – living a life of peace and prosperity, as free citizens of the world out of clutches of Indian barbarism? How many calendars to flip over: in time, suppression, oppression, abuse of human dignity, domestic inaction, and silence of the international community? Just a question…!
“The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement both Governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions whereby such free expression will be assured.” This is a voice of the Resolution adopted by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) on 13 August 1948. Members of the Commission were Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Czechoslovakia and the United States, then an emerging power. This excerpt of the resolution, in no unclear terms, states the affirmations of both India and Pakistan for future course of Kashmiri brethren. Observing Kashmir Day is quite ceremonious in its nature. It is commendable on part of Pakistan to display solidarity of Pakistani nation with Kashmir, the sufferings of Kashmiri people in the hands of India; and draw attention of the world community to the human rights abuse, and tyranny going on in Kashmir.
Sadly, Kashmir is the geographical regionin the neighbourhood of which whole world, especially the great powers are all doing their international business – Global War on Terror;US-Taliban peace deal;Afghan peace; Arab-Israel Arab reconciliations; Belt & Road Initiative, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action amongst US, West and Iran; operations of International security Assistance Force; Indo-West romanticism; global energy trade from Middle East fanfaring in the world; merging regional partnerships; and, what not. This whole region is under supreme focus of the world – except Kashmir. Why is so? International community is paying lesser attention that the Kashmir deserves, like Chechnya, Kosovo, Arab democratisation (infamously called as Arab spring), and Abraham Accord. Why the world is to engineer the region where its interests are pinned?
Years are passing by. Suffering and tyranny have become synonyms to Kashmir. World sees no change in Kashmiri plight. Rather, India has intensified its brutality and inhumane march over Kashmiri souls – utter shame for a republic, for a proclaimed secularity of Indian democracy. When Narindra Modi assumed the reins of power in India, its massacres on Kashmir has exponentially risen without any mindfulness to International norms, standards of a democratic republic and human rights concerns. In August 2019, following the revocation of Article 370, his Hindutva ideology manifested in the form of merger of Kashmir into Union, abrogating its special status. He did not stop here; and none in the world, the great powers, did not rebuke him on his actions. His fascist mind-set changed the nationality law and domicile regime with an ugly aim to change the demography of the Kashmir valley, allowing non-Kashmiris to settle in the occupied territory. The world should have stood firm for human rights, for resolution of United Nations, for the liberal democratic values they promote. But they did not. The great powers could not muster up courage to ignore their politico-economic strategic interests cuffed with India. India merited to be chided. Inhuman lockdown in the Kashmiri, deprived of amenities, livelihood, communication, and even health facilities against COVID-19 pandemic, and social and inhuman crimes such as rape, violence against children and women, tortures – all have been vying for the world to intervene to stop Indian atrocities in Kashmir. If the world does not do its role, this already volatile region can undergo further instability and chaos. Any military adventurism, sparked in any form, is threatening to world peace and the region in particular.
Commendably part of International community has been voicing its fair and rightful stance for the Kashmiri rights. Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has also aired its support. Brotherly countries like Turkey, Malaysia and China are also raising their slogan against Indian violence in Kashmir. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres asserted that Pakistan and India must discuss the issue and prevent any military confrontation that could be a “disaster of unmitigated proportions”. He even proposed a mediatory role of his Office for resolution of the issue. But, UN resolutions are already there. If India had to play freely and squarely, there is no dearth of resolutions from UN. It takes two to tango, so unless India desires to dance for peace, rather than hurtling with waves of swords of barbarianism, Pakistan’s desire for peace, its verbal discourse would bring no good to Kashmir cause and comfort the bruises and hurts of Kashmiris.
A proactive and forward-stepping audacity is needed. Words cannot replace effects of actions. India is acting. The world is watching; and Pakistan is being too optimistic. Februaries, tweets, special supplements, and speeches fall too short to counter Indian actions changing colours and contours of Kashmir. How many regimes and eras would it take to bring Kashmiri their rights of free life? Every passing date is becoming day; a day of suffering and bloodshed and piercing of human soul.
Flipping years on calendars is doing no good to Kashmir and its oppressed people. Rather, the inaction by the world and everyone is consolidating actions of India.
‘Let’sengage and act…and fetch Kashmiris their natural rights, smiles and free life!’ is the order of the day for the world, India, and Pakistan.
—The writer, a national security professional, writes on national security, foreign policy, international diplomacy and maritime affairs.