The Kashmir affair

Zainab Nazir

SKY kissing mountains, dense forests, snow packed peaks, twisting lakes, beautiful scenery; Kashmir is a piece of heaven on Earth. No one can deny the beauty of this land. But unfortunately, something that is beautiful is not always wholly happy. The Kashmir tangle has always dodged solutions, and cannot be overlooked even for just a moment, because it includes fundamental issues for both the nations.

The Kashmir issue is a legacy of the colonial and post-colonial past. It is a bilateral problem. The colonial legacy is still significant, and has gained momentum since the nuclearization of South Asia. This nuclearization has increased the level of peril, not just because of the propinquity of the two foes, but also because both sides believe in the postulation of schism under a nuclear umbrella.

Since partition, Kashmir has experienced bad blood from both sides. The failure of authorities and diplomacy to resolve the bone of contention has attracted international and national attention to it. Despite many efforts, the Kashmir issue remains an infected wound. The immediate problem today, in 2021, is to sang-froid the situation before either Pakistan or India makes an immutable strategic blunder. The world community has a responsibility to prevent two nuclear-laden countries from driving into extinction the humanity living in South Asia.

The world did not allow apartheid to be eternized in South Africa or grant right to Indonesia to occupy Timor by force. Turning a blind eye to these chronicles will only result in an exacerbation of Kashmir’s already bloody situation.

As tension escalates, what do both the parties want? India says the goal is unifying its part of Kashmir with the rest of the country. Indians say that bringing the territory under tightest central control could help end its decades long separatist insurgency. Modi gained control over the region as the central campaign promised but the move was controversial within India as well.

Some opposition politicians said it might have the opposite intended effect. Rather than bringing Kashmir to India, it could further inflame tension and lead to fresh violence. What is Pakistan seeking in all this? It wants to see India’s decision reversed. Prime Minister Imran Khan said revoking India-controlled Kashmir’s autonomy is illegal under international law.

India has managed to parry international criticism despite the fact that its human rights exploitations have been accentuated in the international media. Though, this is partially due to Pakistan’s inability to present the Kashmir issue positively in international politics, it is also due to India’s economic capability. Right from the beginning, India’s attitude towards Kashmir has been that of a landlord. Sadly, we live in a world which is governed by realpolitik, might is right and the tears of the weak are often ignored by the strong.
The Pakistani flag swings with pride on both sides of the Line of Control. Kashmir is the main artery of Pakistan. How long will this brutality continue in Kashmir? How long will mothers cry over the dead bodies of their sons? India’s fascist and racist ideology has threatened many innocent lives.

Holding rallies and protests in the country will not do much; our best diplomatic hands need to get ready to brief global capitals of the situation, so that the world – specifically those nations who claim to be advocates of human rights – can convince India to back off in the held land. The cries of Kashmiris need to reverberate around the world, and their basic rights and issues must be defended.
—The writer is an English literature and linguistics graduate, based in Islamabad.

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