Malik M Ashraf
PRIME Minister Imran Khan’s address to the mammoth public rally at Kotli (AJK) on Kashmir Solidarity Day was a pragmatic and visionary discourse of a statesman par excellence who was unravelling the gravity of the situation in IOJ&K to his people in the backdrop of the unilateral action by the Modi government to end the special status of IOK&K and mobilizing their support for thwarting any indiscretion by India. It was an expression of unflinching solidarity with people of Kashmir and commitment to support their cause irrespective of the cost involved; it was a loud and clear message to India that it would not be allowed to get away with its indiscretions and any miscalculation on her part would be forcefully retaliated; it was a genuine warning to the world community about the lurking dangers and the looming human crisis of unimaginable magnitude in IIOJ&K and a passionate call to it to stop the fascist RSS ideology in its tracks before it destroys the regional peace with horrendous consequences.
The Prime Minister also urged India to rescind its actions in IIOJ&K and resolve the issue of Kashmir through dialogue with Pakistan in regards to finding a solution in conformity with the UN resolutions. He also assured the Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC that Pakistan would grant them the right to decide whether they wanted to be with Pakistan or be a free state. It was in fact a reiteration and commitment of Pakistan to their right of self-determination. Kashmir is not a territorial dispute but an issue about the right of self-determination promised to the people of the State by the UN. One can hardly take an issue with his warning to India that it could never win the war against the people of IIOJ&K as is corroborated by history.
The Modi government by pursuing the supremacist RSS ideology of ‘Hindutva’, scrapping Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and consequently trying to suppress the freedom struggle is playing with fire. It was trying to do something which no power on the earth has ever been able to achieve. It is pertinent to point out that the conscientious voices within India and those who could perceive the dangers inherent in the reckless move by the Modi Government condemned the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The Congress strongly opposed the bill when it was presented in the Lok Sabha. One of its senior leaders P Chidambaram while speaking in the Rjaya Sabha rightly remarked “Momentarily you may think you have scored a victory…drum beats, that you will hear on the streets, certainly will encourage you to believe that you have corrected a so-called injustice but history will prove you wrong… and future generations will realize what a grave mistake this House is making today. This will be a catastrophic blunder.
It is a sad day. This will be the black day”. He appealed to the Modi government not to ‘dismember the state’ terming it a cardinal blunder. Even pro-Indian politicians of Kashmir Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who served as Chief Ministers of the State condemned the repeal of Article 370. The latter admitted that it was a mistake on their part to prefer India over Pakistan. History cannot be decimated or reversed. Modi government has indeed made a historical and dangerous mistake. Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed not to let India succeed in her designs and the blunder that it had committed and also pledged that he would keep raising the issue at all forums as ambassador of the people of Kashmir. The reality is that never before, any Pakistani leader has advocated the Kashmir cause so vociferously and with such unswerving determination. His advocacy of the Kashmir cause inviting the world attention to the humanitarian crisis likely to unfold in IoK at different international forums, interface with international media and interactions with world leaders has surely produced positive results. It is undoubtedly due to those efforts that Kashmir issue has been internationalized.
The endorsement of UNSC of its resolutions on Kashmir as a means to resolving Kashmir dispute; EU showing concern on human rights violations in Kashmir emphasizing solution of the dispute on the basis of UN resolutions; scathing criticism of violation of human rights in IIOJ&K by Chairman of UN Human Rights Council ; call by OIC for resolving the Kashmir issue in the light of relevant UN resolutions; endorsement of the precarious humanitarian situation in IIOJ&K by the internal media and human rights organizations are surely the gains of diplomatic offensive unleashed by the PTI government under the stewardship of Imran Khan. He undoubtedly is an uncompromising leader when it comes to humanitarian causes and inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. He is the best—ever advocate of the cause of Kashmiris and rightly calls himself as their Ambassador.
The UN and the big powers need to act immediately to defuse the situation, persuade India to rescind its action of 05 August and facilitate the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in conformity with the UN resolutions. That is the only possible solution to save the humanitarian crisis brewing in IIOJ&K and thwarting the impending dangers to the peace and security in the region. Continued indifference of big powers to the suffering of the people of Kashmir and looking the other way over Modi government’s anti-Muslim policies in pursuance of its fascist agenda could even jeopardize their strategic and commercial interests in the region. UN General Secretary who in a presser last week observed that there was no military solution to the Kashmir dispute and any confrontation between Pakistan and India could have disastrous consequences for the region, must act to have the UN resolutions implemented instead of merely expressing concern.
— The writer is senior journalist, based in Islamabad.