Dr Muhammad Khan
WHEREAS, the strategic culture of animosity, the sense of insecurity and mistrust were the major causes of rivalry between India and Pakistan, but unresolved nature of the core political issue; the Jammu and Kashmir dispute has always been the real cause of instability in the region. Indeed, the Road to peace in South Asia lies somewhere in the resolution of Kashmir issue. Besides, the divergent geopolitical and geo-economic interests of the major powers, both; during and post-cold war, kept the region in a state of political flux under their alliance politics.
In the past, attempts of socio-economic integration at the regional level could not bear the fruit, mainly owing to Indian obduracy and hegemonic designs. The history of regional associations is testimony to the fact that without achieving political understanding, an environment of trust cannot be created and the Mistrust is the biggest problem between Pakistan and India over the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The critical nature of the relationship between India and Pakistan needs particular attention at three levels; bilateral, regional and global. Whereas the optimism of one side; the Pakistani side cannot work in isolation, India has to reciprocate positively. On one hand, the perpetual escalation of tension all along LoC and Indian aggressive designs could bring the world to the brink of nuclear disaster, on other hand, a positivism with a dedication to sincerely resolve the Kashmir dispute would bringing the region to new heights of peace and economic prosperity. This would give peacea chance, resulting into socio-economic development in subcontinent and greater South Asia.
This is true that, Kashmir is a hard net to be cracked so easily by any party to the dispute. Kashmiris have revolted against the Indian rule many a time in the seven decades of Indian occupation and each time they had to face oppression and genocide from Indian occupying forces. Pakistan cannot get Kashmir through the use of force and India would never like to surrender its occupation of the IOK. This is difficult proposition. If Kashmiris are facing continuous genocide and humiliation from India occupation forces since decades, there is discomfort at Islamabad and New Delhi too. The difference is that, Pakistan and Kashmiris seriously realize a resolution of this longstanding issue based on UN resolutions and on humanitarian grounds, but India is continuing a policy of delaying its settlement for obvious reasons. Since wars and conflicts are not the solution of Kashmir dispute as nothing came out from the previous wars, India and Pakistan fought over Kashmir, therefore, the only way forward is negotiations at multilateral level. Here comes the role of International community and major powers, which so far have been found wanting. Since the negotiations will take time to begin and subsequently reach over to a solution, the immediate requirement from international community is to influence India to stop human rights violation in IOK and demilitarize it, paving the way for start of negotiations and give Kashmiris a breathing space at least.
Continuation of massive human rights violations in IOK through cruel and inhuman laws like; Public Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act is violation of International Law and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).Indeed, killings, through torture of Kashmiri people have been a common phenomenon in IOK. Factual reports of killing innocents, torture, hostage taking, and rape have been prominent among a wider variety of human abuses in IOK ever since 1990. In the Post BurhanWani scenario, there has been a new dimension of human rights violations in IOK, the unprecedented Human Rights violation. Pallet guns were used by India Army to disable and paralyse the Kashmiri masses, especially the youth. Unprovoked firing all along LoC and working boundary, killing over sixty people so far is yet another aggressive posture of India since last few months. While the Indian oppression in IOK is continuing, India is engineering demographic changes in the entire occupied Jammu and Kashmir through a gradual process. India is making Sanik colonies, separate colonies for Pandits through Panun Kashmir and Bantustans besides allotting land to non-Kashmiri Hindu to bring demographic changes in Valley. This all is violation of Kashmiri law of Land.
It is always the Kashmir dispute, which blocked the normalization process between Pakistan and India. Indeed, Kashmir holds the key for peace between Pakistan and India and peace between these two neighbours would guarantee peace and stability of South Asia. Keeping the Kashmir issue unresolved is indeed a collective failure of major powers, UN and in fact, biggest failure of international diplomacy; the silence of international community is troubling for unarmed Kashmiris.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.