India cannot get away with the Kashmir issue

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Muhammad Haris

The Kashmir dispute is a long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir and its status. The region has a predominantly Muslim population and has been a source of conflict between the two countries since the partition of India in 1947. When the region was divided between India and Pakistan. Since then, it remains an unfinished agenda of the partition, and the dispute has resulted in multiple wars and conflicts over the years. The dispute has continued to be a source of tension between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming sovereignty over the entire region. The current situation is that India has illegally occupied Kashmir and has been involved in the systematic suppression of Kashmiris.

However, in recent years, despite Indian continued atrocities and attempts to take this issue to the back burner, the conflict has drawn more attention from the international community and become more internationalized than ever before.

In recent years, at the international level, there has been growing noticeable awareness regarding India’s brutal acts and atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK). The internationalization of the Kashmir dispute refers to the involvement of other countries and international organizations in the conflict and efforts to resolve it. The conflict has also drawn the attention of various international human rights organizations, which have expressed concern about the human rights situation in Kashmir and called for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

Quite recently, a symposium on Kashmir Conflict was organized by Kashmir Global Council (KGC) and South Asia Democracy Watch in Frisco, Texas, US. The US House of Representatives member, Ms. Terry Meza participated in this event to endorse her voice for the freedom of Kashmir. She was the chief guest of the event and the symposium was attended by well-known Social activist Ms. Beverly Hill and various political leaders’ academics, and US media including young students.

She was of the view that she is against any form of oppression and stressed the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in keeping with the legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir. She urged the international community, especially the United States, to reach out to the Indian state to end the deliberate politicizing of the justice system and its discriminatory functioning.

It is notably important to note that almost all human rights organizations have raised their voices against human rights abuses in IIOJK. In this regard, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Genocide Watch, and US Commission on International Religious Freedom in their recent reports, have stressed addressing ongoing human rights violations and delivering justice for the people of Kashmir. These reports ask for establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir.

In the past as well, the Kashmir dispute has drawn the attention of the international community for decades, and various countries and international organizations have played a role in efforts to resolve the conflict. In this regard, the United Nations (UN) has played a significant role in mediating the dispute and establishing a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the region. Under its efforts, the United Nations has also played a role in trying to mediate the dispute and has deployed a peacekeeping mission in the region. In 1948, the UN passed a resolution calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to determine the wishes of the people regarding the region’s future status.

However, this plebiscite has not been held to date primarily because of Indian arrogance and bigotry; based on which all the international efforts of the past have apparently gone into vain.

Even though the United States is not directly involved in the Kashmir conflict, having tremendous political influence, it has often played a role in mediating and facilitating diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute. As a member of the US Congress, Terry Meza’s endorsement of “freedom of Kashmir” could potentially have some influence on US policy towards the Kashmir conflict and internalization of the Kashmir conflict. It could be seen as a show of support for the people of Kashmir and their aspirations for self-determination, and could potentially lead to increased deliberations within the US policy circles.

The Kashmir dispute remains a complex and sensitive issue, seeking international efforts toward its resolution. IIOJK has become the largest prisoner in the world, peace can be established in South Asia only with the resolution of the Kashmir issue according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people. While any resolution of the Kashmir issue needs to be based on dialogue, respect for human rights, and adherence to international law. However, it is India, which has to come out of its traditional bigotry in order to have a peaceful South Asian region– it cannot get away with the Kashmir issue anymore. Muhammad Haris is an Islamabad-based researcher and policy analyst. He frequently writes on issues related to regional security with a special focus on contemporary South Asia.