Kashmir: Talks or no talks

Dr Muhammad Khan

Inviting India for talks on Kashmir dispute at a time once it is under intense pressure for committing crimes against Kashmiri masses may prove non-productive for the Kashmir cause. Owing to social media, this time the sufferance of Kashmiri masses have reached to some parts of international community, that otherwise knew less about the Indian atrocities in IOK in the past. It is worth mentioning that, there was complete media ban in IOK ever since India started massive human rights violations in 1990, which is continuing till-date. Nevertheless, sequel to the widespread demonstrations and protests, which followed the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, Indian Government again put a ban on the internet, mobile phone service, which could have allowed coverage of the Indian brutalities on Kashmiri masses.
Indeed, talks at this time would mean helping India in defusing the pressure, it is undergoing. Talks between India and Pakistan would give a false hope that, since negotiations are underway for the resolution of Kashmir dispute, therefore, the Kashmiris of IOK should stop their active resistance against Indian occupation and daily killings of Kashmiri youth. In a way, this would be a repeat of 2002/03, once, Pakistan asked the Kashmiri masses in IOK to call-off their armed struggle, which they did, but India did not stop its atrocities. Later, non-stop Indian oppression gave a new impetus to this indigenous Kashmir struggle in 2008. Stoppage of armed struggle by the Kashmiris in 2003 provided India with an opportunity to fence the entire LoC and Working Boundary, which gave a new dimension to this otherwise illegal Indian occupation and no serious note was taken on this development.
On its part, there is a controversy too in Indian attitude. For the last few years, India has been constantly denying the disputed nature of Kashmir, at least IOK, rather now putting a claim on AJK and GB. Over the recent invitation of talks from Pakistan, India gave two responses; in first response, India was found in a denial mood, saying that, it would not talk with Pakistan on Kashmir, as it is her integral part. As per Indian media, Indian Foreign Secretary said that, “We have also conveyed that government of India rejects in their entirety the self-serving allegations regarding the situation in J&K, which is an integral part of India where Pakistan has no locus standi.” In the second response, India found willing to talk on Kashmir, provided the agenda of talks include range of other issues including the Indian mantra of cross-border terrorism. In a way, India has made up her mind to see the Kashmir dispute through the prism of terrorism. On August 19, 2016, the FO has again offered India for the talks on Kashmir dispute.
In the world of realism, both the invitation and the responses are somewhat disorientated or beyond the perception of political analysts of South Asian region. If at all, there was a proposal for the talks at this critical time of Kashmiri struggle, it should have come from India, not Pakistan. The talks would mean buying the time by India, which it has been doing traditionally over the Kashmir dispute. Should Pakistan provide India with such an opportunity, is indeed, somewhat astonishing. It would weaken the Kashmiri struggle for their right of self-determination. On the other hand if there is an optimism, existing somewhere in Islamabad, that talks at this time would oblige India for a solution of Kashmir issue, may be a wishful thinking, seeing the Indian track-record.
Rather, it was the most opportune moment for the Government of Pakistan and people of Kashmir to refer the case of Indian human rights violations to International Criminal Court (ICC). Killings, torture, rapes and now the use of pellet guns, disabling the youth by Indian security forces provide sufficient evidence of Indian brutalities, if the case is referred to ICC. “The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.” Today India rightly fits into this mandate of ICC. India indeed has the worst crime record as far as the IOK is concerned. The new developments in IOK; the use of pellet guns that incapacitate the youth and hundreds have been blinded and defaced. Then, live firing is also being used by Indian Army, as its old strategy of shoot to kill, the innocent people of Kashmir with complete impunity to the occupation forces under various discriminatory laws. This well-planned strategy is a violation of UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights-1948 and Geneva Conventions-1949.
Rather stopping human rights violations in IOK, Indian Prime Minister and some of his ministers are constantly levelling the allegations against Pakistan, indeed to mislead the world and divert the international attention from Indian human rights violations in IOK. In another distracting move, Indian PM tried to mislead the world about the situation in Balochistan, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. Since there has never been any issue of human rights violations in AJK and GB ever since 1947, the Indian PM should have known the contents of his speech about these areas. While telling a lie and misleading the world, Mr Modi has badly lost his credibility. People of AJK and GB are living peacefully as part of Pakistan. Indeed, the Kashmiris have been and are fighting to become part of Pakistan. They resorted to massive demonstrations against the statement of Modi, condemning that and Indian atrocities in IOK.
The truth is, there has never been a single occasion where people of IOK have ever accepted Indian occupation and Indian constitution in IOK. The Province of Balochistan cannot be equated with IOK. Balochistan is the integral part of Pakistan and State of Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed region. UN Security Council resolutions clearly state that and these resolutions are accepted both by India and by Pakistan. No doubt, India is involved in the promotion of sub-nationalism in the province through its infamous spying network, RAW. Earlier this year, Mr Kulbhushan Yadav, a senior military officer of the RAW was apprehended by Pakistan for organizing terrorism and separatism in Balochistan.
The track-record of India indicates that, it has never been serious towards resolution of Kashmir dispute; therefore, rather wasting time any more, the Government of Pakistan and people of Kashmir must refer the case of human rights violations in IOK to ICC and UNSC. Let this time Kashmiri people, the sufferers to be at the forefront, fighting their case themselves at the international forum.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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