By Brig Nadir Mir
Kashmir is disputed between Pakistan and India. If Indian held Kashmir (IHK) was part of India then what is the dispute? The dispute is that Kashmir which should have been part of Pakistan is illegally and forcibly occupied by India. A recent Pakistan Interior Ministry statement reportedly equating Kashmir and other troubled regions in India with Baluchistan is despicable. Either it was a misstatement or misunderstanding. In any case culpable – punishable ignorance or sinister – ill intent uttering, the statement needs to be clarified. Kashmiri freedom fighters cannot be equated with militants, terrorists, insurgents of different hues in Indo – Pakistan or elsewhere.
§ River WatersPakistan’s river waters emanate from Kashmir. Without water Pakistan’s agriculture – demography is simply not sustainable. India on account of its size and diversity has other river – water sources, but Pakistan none. The next war may well be a water resource war. A peaceful solution to a nuclear conflagration is in everybody’s interest.
Secondly, Kashmir Freedom Movement has been struggling against Indian tyranny since 1947. Historically the Kashmir Freedom Movement has much earlier roots. Kashmir freedom fighters are waging a just struggle for national liberation. Indian effort to equate Kashmir with militants – terrorists was facilitated by 9/11 terrorism syndrome. Kashmir freedom fighters include not only men, but women and children. India has unleashed unbelievable brutality on hapless Kashmiris.
Indian military and security forces reportedly committed genocide by killing tens of thousands of Kashmiris. An estimated over 25000 Kashmiri women have been raped or injured by Indian Security Forces. Widows in Kashmir are in thousands. Children have suffered the most. By repeating the mantra of ‘Cross border Terrorism’ Indian has tried to blame Pakistan for its crimes in Kashmir. Mass graves of over 2000 people have been discovered in Kashmir. Yet the flame of freedom cannot be extinguished, since Kashmiris do not feel being part of India. The question is how can Indian Government commit such excesses and claim Kashmir to be its part. Even worse, how can Pakistan forsake the support to Kashmiris for the sake of keeping Delhi in good humour!
Thirdly, Pakistan’s Kashmir policy has not changed. Nor can it be changed for any one, including some ill-informed Government Officials. The reason is simply that Kashmir is not a part of India. In case, any one has doubt, a referendum can be held in Pakistan on Kashmir being given to India. In a democratic Pakistan, the people decide on key national issues – Kashmir being primary. The people and soldiers of Pakistan are nationalistic and believe that Kashmir has to return to Pakistan. No sane political leader in Pakistan will relent on the Kashmir Cause, as complete national consensus prevails.
Finally, all kinds of stratagems have been tried but failed to break the will of Kashmiri people. India has fought numerous wars, near wars and even risked nuclear exchange with Pakistan over Kashmir. The world is partly aware of the Kashmiris plight and needs to be further galvanized. India supported militants in Baluchistan partly as a ‘Strategy of Deflection’ to embroil Pakistan on its Western borders. Else to equate trouble in Baluchistan with Kashmir. Hoping to achieve leverage or quid pro quo, Delhi strives to equate Pakistan’s internal matters with India – Pakistan interstate disputes.
The tragedy of Kashmir cannot be neglected for long nor is there any viable solution other than withdrawal of all Indian security forces from Kashmir. The Kashmiris want freedom from India and will settle for nothing less. Pakistan and the world at large must support the Kashmiris right of self determination. USA which stands for human rights should support the Kashmiri people’s struggle for freedom. Pakistan and India must resolve Kashmir peacefully as priority rather than relegating it for a later albeit explosive time frame.
It is a matter of time before Kashmiri people will be masters of their own destiny.