Indian authorities believe that if Pakistan were to leave alone the resistance in Kashmir, the struggle for emancipation would die its own natural death. Such an argument falls short of logic on the ground that no freedom struggle could sustain itself solely on foreign sponsorship for so long.

By Sobia Hanif

While unchecked and unrestrained human rights violations take place in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) on almost a day to day basis, India continues to show its characteristic indifference towards the deteriorating situation of the valley. A report highlighting human rights violations in Kashmir was released by Independent People’s Tribunal on September 8, 2010. The tribunal was headed by Justice H. Suresh. The tribunal acknowledged, “There is no denying the fact that the people of the state have borne the brunt of extreme violence of the past twenty years, all in the name of security, at the hands of armed forces.”1

Despite glaring facts depicting discontentment with Indian rule in IOK, India chooses to look the other way  and prefers to engage in a blame game against Pakistan, accusing its military and intelligence agencies of sponsoring ‘cross-border terrorism’, thereby ignoring the root causes of the indigenous freedom struggle. Such an approach has a two-fold purpose: Firstly to malign the Pakistan army and its intelligence agencies and secondly to undermine the nature of the freedom movement in Kashmir. “Indian hawks, on their part, entertain the idea of converting Pakistan into a pliable state by isolating its army”2.

Indian authorities believe that if Pakistan were to leave alone the resistance in Kashmir, the struggle for emancipation would die its own natural death. Such an argument falls short of logic on the ground that no freedom struggle could sustain itself solely on foreign sponsorship for so long.

On the contrary, “Indians believe that, far from exploiting the Kashmiris, India has bent over trying to help them”.3 Indian authorities have lately announced substantial financial packages for the troubled region in order to influence public opinion in their own favour. “The discontended in Kashmir see the matter differently. They argue that little of the money has reached the masses in the state, who remain very poor even by Indian standards. Moreover, in their view, the basic issue is not economic but political.”4 As such, majority of Kashmiris have outrightedly rejected such moves terming them as tactics to bribe advocates of freedom.

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India has always tried to portray the situation in Kashmir as an internal disturbance to the outside world which can be settled with better administration. However, it is now an established fact that the more active phase of the freedom movement which began in the 1990’s reached its apex in 2010, when over a hundred Kashmiri civilians were killed by Indian armed forces, raising alarms throughout the world. Furthermore, the shocking discovery of mass graves of more than 2000 Kashmiri’s have further hollowed out Indian’s proclaimed stance.5 Under the embarrassment of having its cover blown, the Indian authorities have decided to hold inquiries in all such incidents. This is India’s way of placing a lid over a pot of boiling water and expecting it to cool off by itself.

Pakistan, for its part has made sincere efforts for the resolution of the issue on all fronts. “Pakistan’s record in terms of cooperation with the UN is much more impressive than that of India. At almost all stages, Pakistan demonstrated strong faith in the world body’s abilities to resolve such disputes and extended all sorts of cooperation”6

In response to Indian accusations of sponsoring cross-border terrorism, Pakistan has repeatedly denied such charges by stating that it offers the Kahmiri people moral, diplomatic and political support in their struggle for their self determination. Furthermore, Pakistan differentiates between freedom fighters and terrorists.7 While the aim of the former is to engage in a quest for their basic rights, the latter use coercive means to justify their evil machinations.

In accordance with its previous efforts, Pakistan yet again displayed marked flexibility when former President Pervaiz Musharraf “expressed his willingness to go beyond the U.N resolutions and not press for a plebiscite.”8  Since 2001, Pakistan has tried to “seek a solution to the Kashmir problem that is acceptable to India as well as to the people of Kashmir. Such flexibility improves the prospects of resolving the Kashmir problem, provided India is also willing to move away from its traditional position of describing Kashmir as an integral part of its territory”9

An out of the box solution to the dispute was provided by Mr. Pervaiz Musharraf which accorded for freedom of movement for the people of Kashmir, thereby making the border irrelevant, self-governance or autonomy, with drawl of troops from the region and a joint supervision mechanism for Kashmir.10

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Ms Hinna Rabbani Khar’s visit to New Delhi in July this year was marked by an Indian uproar when she met APHC chief, Mirwaiz Omer Farooq and assured him of Pakistan’s complete moral, diplomatic and political support on the Kashmir cause.11

Although Pakistan continues to support Kashmiris in their struggle for emancipation, it has been lately pre-occupied with other pressing issues such as rise of terrorism, deteriorating law and order situation and a volatile economy. As such it has not been as active recently in promoting the Kashmir cause. This is in direct accordance with the Indian desire of keeping Pakistan engaged in domestic troubles so that its focus is shifted away from highlighting the precarious situation in IOK.

Kashmiris, being the main sufferers in this dispute have always demanded an end to Indian atrocities against the civilians. Following its traditional ways, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Shabir Shah and Muhammad Nayeem Khan were placed under house arrest in Srinagar city in August this year in order to dissuade them from protesting against Indian rule.12 Although a number of political parties have emerged on the political front in IOK with somewhat different ideologies, “they are agreed, however that no solution to the Kashmir problem is possible unless greater autonomy is conferred upon the state. This is resisted by New Delhi on the reasoning that according greater autonomy to IOK would lead to secessionist demands in other Indiana states”.13 Kashmiris also demand a role in the negotiations between India and Pakistan regarding the future of Kashmir. Pakistan’s ex-foreign minister Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri noted that “It is very obvious that India and Pakistan are necessary parties to this (Kashmir) dispute. Pakistan cannott solve this issue by ignoring India. Similarly, India should not think that it can solve the Kashmir issue by bypassing Pakistan. And both of us should not think that we can solve the issue by bypassing the people of Kashmir.”14

Therefore, India needs to realize that the matter cannot be left in abeyance till perpetuity. Indeed, Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint and has been aptly termed as “the most dangerous place in the world”15 by former US president Clinton in March 2000.

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Hence, without further loss of innocent lives, The world community needs to play an active role in persuading all relevant parties to resolve the issue in a peaceful manner where the desires of the he Kashmiri people are set at the forefront and other modalities between the two nuclear states are dealt with in an amicable manner.

1 Independent People’s Tribunal, Report On Human Rights Violations In Kashmir, September 8, 2010, retrieved from http://www.countercurrents.org/ipt130910.htm, accessed on Sep 17, 2010.

2 Verghese Koithara, Crafting Peace in Kashmir: Through a Realist Lens, (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004) pg 101.

3 Ibid, pg .83

4 Ibid

5 Sikander Shaheen , “IHK leaders ask world to wake up”, Nation, August 25, 2011, retrieved from http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/25-Aug-2011/IHK-leaders-ask-world-to-wake-up, on September 17, 2011

6 Dr. Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, “Pakistan’s Kashmir Policy”, Kashmir and South Asian Security, ed. S. M Haider, (Rawalpindi: FRIENDS, 1992) pg. 58.

7 P.R Chari, “ Sources of New Delhi’s Kashmir Policy”, Kashmir: New Voices, New Approaches, ed. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and others, ( New Delhi: Vinod Vashishta, 2007), pg.119

8 Ibid.

9 Hasan-Askari Rizvi, “Islamabad’s New Approach to Kashmir”, Kashmir: New Voices, New Approaches, ed. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and others, (New Delhi: Vinod Vashishta, 2007)   pg.151.

10 Rahul H. Bhonsle, South Asia Security Trends, (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 2007) pg. 115. retrieved from http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=Q4PQ9lfcmnkC&pg=PA154&dq=musharraf's+four+point+formula+on+kashmir&cd=4#v=onepage&q=musharraf's%20four%20point%20formula%20on%20kashmir&f=false, accessed on Sep 17,2011.

11 Bilal Bashir Bhat, “Hina Rabbani Khar Assures Mirwaiz of Support on Kashmir”, Only Kashmir, retrieved by http://onlykashmir.blogspot.com/2011/07/hina-rabbani-khar-assures-mirwaiz-of.html, accessed on Sep 17, 2011.

12“Kashmiri separatist leaders put under house arrest”, Pravasitoday, August 11, 2011, retrieved from http://www.pravasitoday.com/kashmiri-separatist-leaders-put-under-house-arrest, accessed on September 18, 2011.

 

13 P.R Chari, “ Sources of New Delhi’s Kashmir Policy”, Kashmir: New Voices, New Approaches, Ed. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and others, (New Delhi: Vinod Vashishta, 2007)  pg.130.

14 Ibid, pg.119.

15 John Thompson, Kashmir: The Most Dangerous Place in the World, Kashmir: New Voices, New Approaches,  Ed. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and others, (New Delhi: Vinod Vashishta, 2007)  pg.193.

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