YEAR 2016 is marked as the darkest year in the history of Kashmir as latest Indian’s brutal violence echoed in the territory. A massive uprising has occurred against the use of pellet guns, murders, mysterious disappearances, false encounters and other human rights violations by Indian army stationed in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK). Use of the pellet guns has brought the Kashmir issue into the focus of international community and human rights activist as hundreds of the innocent people were severely injured by Indian forces to contain uprising which started in the wake of Burhan Wani’s martyrdom whereas no human right violation has been reported on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.
Ironically, the UN human right body has remained silent on Human Rights violations. Additionally, Kashmir dispute has shadowed the Indo-Pak bilateral relations of as both nuclear neighbours are engaged in unresolved territorial conflict since independence. It is significant to note that, dynamics of instability plays central role to make Indo-Pak bilateral relations unpredictable. Some of the pragmatic factors such as Kashmir conflict, violations of ceasefire agreement, India’s intervention in Karachi and Balochistan and water issue have remained the main bone of contention.
Indo-Pak relations have severely deteriorated in the wake of terrorist activities and cross-border firing. Since the early 2016, terrorism is key element influencing the relations of both states such as scheduled foreign secretaries level talks has been suspended soon after the terrorist attack at Pathankot airbase. Tension arose to extreme level after Uri attack and India’s claim about surgical strikes. Biggest setback to bilateral relations is that India without doing any investigation puts blame on Pakistan. Apart from that, cross-border firing at LoC has added more bitterness in indo-Pak relations.
Though India and Pakistan have maintained ceasefire agreement but 2014-16 saw high profile ceasefire violations. India alleged that Pakistan infiltrates terrorists into Indian territory, however Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and many military operations have been launched by Pakistan’s army to counter militancy and maintain security and peace. So labelling Pakistan as terrorist state could not be justified. Furthermore, India is engaged to destabilize Pakistan by trying to portray itself as the victim of state-sponsored terrorism. In this regard, on 6th January 2017, Pakistan handed over a dossier to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, containing proofs of RAW involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan. According to evidence, India and its intelligence agency is engaged to destabilize Pakistan and involved in Karachi and Balochistan unrest. So undoubtedly, India is instigating instability and trying to portray negative image of Pakistan in the international community.
Such activities have added more bitterness in Indo-Pak relations. It is unfortunate that Pakistan’s offer of bilateral talks is considered as Pakistan’s weakness and India kept on pursuing its anti-Pakistan policy. So, it is imperative that India must reciprocate responsibly, as tension between two nuclear neighbours can bring the region on the brink of the nuclear clash. Therefore, Pakistan’s liable response and efforts have played the significant role to maintain conducive atmosphere in the region.
Many complex factors, such as territorial disputes, cross border firing, terrorism and India’s violation of Indus water treaty and illegal constructions on Chenab and Neelum rivers has articulated the strategic culture of hostility and increased the sense of insecurity and uncertainty between India and Pakistan. Normalization of Indo-Pak relations lies in the peaceful resolution of conflicts. In this regard lack of trust and political understanding are the key factors that have influenced the bilateral ties. Additionally, critical nature of disputes needs specific attention of both India and Pakistan at bilateral, regional and global levels, while keeping in view that only efforts of Pakistan cannot work to resolve the conflict.
Need of the hour is instead of portraying itself as the victim, Indian armed and political forces should stop employing tactics to pursue its anti-Pakistan policy and utilize every opportunity that can explore the chances of positive bilateral relations. Only way forward is constructive approach from both sides to resolve the conflicts as Pakistan cannot work alone. So, collective positive efforts are only bargaining chip to bring the region to new heights of peace and security.
— The writer is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.