IT appears that reaction of Pakistan and expression of concern by world is quite more than what
India calculated when it revoked Articles 370 and 35-A of its Constitution to amalgamate IoK into its union by force of tyranny of Hindu majority and locked down it fully and brutally to give impression of business as usual there. The response of Pakistan was stern and swift. It instantly downgraded its bilateral diplomatic ties and expelled Indian High Commissioner along with termination of its trade with India. Pakistan vowed unflinchingly to go to the last extent for right of self-determination to Kashmiri people in accordance with UN resolutions and redress of atrocities being let loose in IoK on the mindset of racist and fascist Hindu party RSS, akin to Nazi party in Germany. Pakistan has also refused dialogue with India until it reverses its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends curfew and lockdown and withdraws its troops to barracks. Besides, closure of airspace and Afghan trade route to India are also under contemplation. On top of this, government is not alone in its vows/actions rather whole nation stands ready at its beck and call. This was amply demonstrated across the country when Imran Khan gave call to observe Kashmir Hour on Friday to show solidarity with Kashmiri people. The people thronged in thousands to protest places and life came to standstill. On external front, informal consultations by all 15 members of UNSC on Kashmir is a landmark development after long five decades. This has given a fresh lease of life to Kashmir dispute by clearly pointing out that Kashmir is not internal matter of India.
This is an internationally recognized dispute and needs to be resolved in accordance with its resolutions. China stood firm and Russia changed its decades’ long stance on Kashmir, slanted towards India. In a meeting with President Trump, Modi had to concede that Kashmir is not internal matter of India and it would be resolved with Pakistan bilaterally. 50 lawmakers from UK wrote to Secretary UNSC to take cognizance of ongoing developments in Kashmir. Similarly a number of US Senators also took notice of grave situation. The resolution passed by Iranian Parliament and debate in European Union Parliament are significant. The reservations expressed by international HR organizations and spotlight accorded by international media also have weight of its own to draw attention of world to grievous plight of people of IoK and dangers it poses to peace in the region.
Undeniably, these are positive developments but lacks potency to force India to see reason and India has long history of flouting international diplomatic conventions and resolutions by exploiting its relationship with big powers and affluent countries. Nothing changed on ground is its stark manifestation. The nucleus of interests of these powers/countries lies in trade and business with India. Though Imran Khan has urged the world to see beyond trade and business to ward off threat of war under nuclear shadow which looms large over world again because of Indian assault on Kashmir and its people but in international relations, words essentially remain empty rhetoric until backed by force. Mere reasons fall on deaf ears or taken lightly or could fetch a few words of sympathy with no desire to help the victims. Being a huge market, big powers and other financially rich countries have invested heavily in India. They would not exert real pressure on India to keep it in good humour until they see their capital and business in danger whose chances are greater than ever at the hands of a loyal Lieutenant of RSS; Modi particularly, in midst of Indian impaired economy.
Given conditions, reasons include live possibilities of internal dissension, strife and civil war within because of deep obsession of Modi and its ideological parent organization RSS to establish Hindu domination after pulverization of other minorities in India. This contains within it seeds of inflicting deep fissures on Indian polity. The illegal seizure of Kashmir coupled with reign of repression unleashed is its practical illustration. Other possibility is war between two nuclear armed neighbours. It is needless to mention that war has its own momentum and could slip out of hands of both to cause nuclear conflagration. Continued oppression of Kashmiri people by brutalized Indian forces would leave no avenue for them except armed resistance. The salvation of people of Kashmir has already found expression in slogan of “one solution, gun solution”. This is being chanted at protests by them. In event of armed resistance by them as a last resort, Pakistan would be constrained to help them as have been the norm worldwide. Not so in the distant past, Afghan Jehad against the Soviet Union under leadership of USA is the apt example. In Feb standoff between Pakistan and India, though Pakistan dominated escalation ladder but its follow up desire for peace was mistaken by India a weakness or appeasement. Once again, Pakistan should make it clear unequivocally that it would not hesitate to go even to extent of war with India for cause of Kashmiri people. An overarching theme based on combination of these aspects needs to be told clearly and repeatedly to sanitize particularly, those big powers and countries better and fast whose interests are linked economically with India for their own sake because economy depends on domestic cohesion in the country and stability and peace in the region. They need to refrain from drawing wrong conclusions in best interests of their own.
— The writer, a retired Lt Col, is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.