Dr Muhammad Khan
There are two most distinguished characteristics of the current wave of Kashmiri movement against Indian occupation in IoK. First; the Kashmiri youth have taken over the entire freedom movement in their hand and second, they have clearly identified Pakistan as their destination. Unlike 1980s and 1990s, where there were two stances among the Kashmiri masses; accession to Pakistan and independence of the state, the on-going phase is a delineated and distinguished by pro-Pakistan stance. Kashmiri youth dress like Pakistan, begin their sports and academic activities with Pakistani National Anthem and according to the Pakistani standard time.
For this dedicated love with Pakistan, the Kashmir youth are paying a very heavy price in term of their lives, continued brutalities at the hands of Indian security forces, unemployment, social and state discrimination and above all a continuous Indian occupation. Chanting the pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans by the Kashmiri youth have alarmed the Indian security forces so much that, they have started arresting the isolated youth and ask them to raise slogan against Pakistan under duress while beating them constantly to do so.
Seeing the sentiments of hate for India, the pro-India Kashmiri leader and former Chief Minister of IoK, Dr Farooq Abdullah, recently warned India that, ‘India is losing Kashmir.’ Earlier in 2016, Dr Farooq Abdullah expressed the love of Kashmiris with Pakistan in a statement saying, “Here in Kashmir people love Pakistan. Even if you (New Delhi) will throw all your treasuries open for them, you can’t take away the sentiments from their hearts. So, what can Farooq Abdullah do in this regard?” In fact, Kashmiri students of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar, have revolted against Indian occupation by showing a dedicated love for Pakistan and hate for India. Mr Abdullah also alarmed New Delhi by saying, “The more Kashmiris are suppressed, the more their love for Pakistan will grow. New Delhi thinks that by offering lucrative packages they can buy Kashmiris and erode the sentiments but it will not happen. Kashmiris will take the package but won’t change a bit. New Delhi always boasts of providing liberal economic packages, but in reality took away whatever we owned.”
Indeed, there are serious issues of human security in IoK. The elements of human security constitute security of individuals, communities and societies. The basic right to live, survive, cherish and prosper in life is for every human being and is explicitly guaranteed in the international law. Nevertheless, despite the passage of almost seven decades, people of the IoK are waiting for their right of self-determination, promised by United Nations. Whereas, there are over twenty five UN resolutions, calling for the solution of the dispute, India is reluctant to grant Kashmiri people their right of self-determination by denying the implementation of UN resolutions, and occupying the state through the deployment of over 700,000 troops.
The provision of human rights and security are categorically stated both in international law and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The basic provision of the international law is that; “individuals should not be arbitrarily deprived of their lives, and homicide should be deterred, prevented and punished.” These rights are further secured and protected by the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights-1948’. The declaration emphasizes on ‘innate freedom and equality, puts a ban on discrimination and states that, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Then, over the years, the bilateral approach has not worked, primarily, owing to a non-cooperative Indian attitude.
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. These powers, rather promoting regional peace through resolution of core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, promoted arms race to revive political economy of their weapon industry. Besides, India has attained the status of biggest conventional arms importers of world, setting a very dangerous trend, threatening peace and development in the Subcontinent.
Under the changed scenario, arose after the death of Burhan Wani, the Kashmiri youth has decided not to accept any Indian package or to stay under Indian constitution for a single day. On its part, India has unleashed a new reign of terror in IoK by killing the Kashmiri youth through prohibited weapons like Pallet guns, paralysing the youth and torturing them. Besides, India is carrying out, unprovoked firing all along LoC and working boundary, killing hundreds of innocent people through aggressive posture. India is also engineering demographic changes in the entire occupied Jammu and Kashmir through a gradual process.
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, the United Nations and in fact, biggest failure of international diplomacy; the silence of international community is troubling for the innocent Kashmiris.
Pakistan and the people of Kashmir strongly realise that 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 come the role of international community, OIC and major powers, which so far have been found wanting. The immediate requirement from international community is to influence India to stop human rights violation in IoK and demilitarize it, paving the way for the start of negotiations and give Kashmiris a breathing space at least.Punishing the Kashmiri youth for their love with Pakistan would never reduce it; rather it would create more hate for India among the Kashmiri masses, which is quite obvious in IoK.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations based in Islamabad.