Long, long time after former Premier, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has come up with an iconoclastic approach on Kashmir dispute by reiterating Pakistan’s never-ending support for the oppressed Kashmiris, not only on moral grounds but also as our constitutional responsibility.
It is pragmatism and can be aptly described as a serious endeavour to put the resolution of seven-decade old Kashmir issue on a practical track instead of merely resorting to verbal condemnations and criticism.
When the PM talks about Pakistan’s constitutional obligations, he is, in a way, suggesting to the world fraternity in general and our Foreign Office, diplomatic corps and international law experts in particular to identify legal and constitutional remedies that are very much available for moving forward on this path practically and more effectively.
This was needed much earlier. Eminent experts of international law and, likewise, some media seniors well versed with the legal-cum-consitututional aspect of the matter, have been pleading for this strategy that now seems to be the axis of Islamabad’s Kashmir policy, rather the entire foreign policy, under the incumbent leadership.
This policy has brought all hands on deck in a concrete direction which just cannot be upset by the powerful, sustained bombardment of Indian propaganda against the Muslim majority of Kashmir Valley or IIOJ& K (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir).
With this approach, Pakistan has cleared many obstacles created by repeal of Articles 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution that conferred special status on the Kashmir Valley in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution adopted 73 years ago, on January 5, 1949.
It is this UNSC resolution that grants irrevocable right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. It is one of the fundamental rights included in the UN Charter and it prescribes the holding of a plebiscite under the aegis of the United Nations.
And, in order to keep the record straight, the plebiscite was fully endorsed by the New Delhi government of the day that was headed those days by one of the most popular, influential Prime Ministers
of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. PM Nehru is on record having openly declared that ‘neither Kashmir belongs to India nor to Pakistan but to the people of Kashmir’.
In the following years, India totally backtracked on its plebiscite promise. Instead, it let loose a reign of terror on the Kashmiris seeking their due right of self-determination.
It is a horrendous tale of innocent and harmless Kasmiris’ untold misery and suffering : mass graves, enforced disappearances, increase in the number of Kashmiris’ killings and also in the number of widows, half widows and orphans, deployment of 0.8 million regular and 0.3 million Indian troops and paramilitary forces against a hapless, limited Kashmiri community, one-to-two-plus year of siege and communication blackout/blockade and refusal to inspection by international observers and media, etc, etc.
To add insult to injury, the extremist government of Narindera Modi crossed all the constitutional limits of its own constitution, against the norms of natural justice, UN resolutions and other international laws and conventions including the 4th Geneva Convention, to consolidate its forcible occupation of IIOJ&K.
Modi government felt no remorse in its constitutionally unconstitutional step of repeal of Articles 370 and 35 A by way of which it has tried to virtually undo the UNSC resolution on self-determination.
As if it were not enough, Modi Sarkar has gone to the farthest end by allowing non-Kashmiris’ and foreigners’ settlements inside the Valley. It is yet another brutal attempt to trample the right to live of the Kashmiri people, relying on the use of naked military might and strong Indian nexuses with countries having a say in the global affairs. These nexuses have worked incessantly to the detriment of the Kashmir cause and obviously to the advantage of Indian authorities enjoying connections and clout in many a capital of major powers and key players on the global chessboard.
Pakistan now seems to have geared up to combat these negative and inhuman networks that stand in sheer conflict with the universal principles of peaceful coexistence.