By S. M. Hali
5th February has been marked as Kashmir Solidarity Day every year by Pakistan since 1990 to protest India’s continued oppression of the Kashmiris. The day is observed as a national holiday and is marked by protest marches, seminars, cultural events and special prayers to express solidarity with the plight of the Kashmiris, since all political parties of Pakistan are united on the core issue of Kashmir.
On 27 October 1947, Indian forces illegally occupied the Valley, while Pakistan tried to help unshackle the Kashmiri brethren. As the liberating forces closed in on Srinagar, the Indian Prime Minister approached UN Security Council, urging a ceasefire. Since then, it is India that has reneged on the UN Resolutions to hold a plebiscite for Kashmiris to exercise their option of joining India or Pakistan. The 1965 and 1971 Pak-India Wars also failed to change the plight of the Kashmiris, who in 1989 ultimately commenced an armed struggle for freedom. India tried to crush the uprising with brute force; since then more than 100,000 Kashmiris have been butchered, their women molested, property torched and youth continue to suffer incarceration. Thus the Kashmir Solidarity Day was instituted to provide moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris’ just struggle.
The world too has taken cognizance of the flashpoint of the Kashmir issue between the nuclear arms-equipped hostile neighbours, stressing the need to resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan to avoid a nuclear catastrophe in the region. Unfortunately, it is India that has remained oblivious to the friendly urges of the international community, foiling any attempts at dialogue for resolving the core issue.
Twenty three years after the origination of Kashmir Solidarity Day, we need to take stock of the situation, whether the Kashmiris see any light at the end of the dark tunnel of Indian atrocities. The ground reality is that with India’s rising military might and amorous overtures by the international community, more for India’s status as a commercial trade market as well as to prop it as a bulwark to contain the Peoples’ Republic of China, whose economic ascent gives jitters to the Occident, emboldens India to drag its feet over the resolution of the Kashmir Issue.
Former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, as the Army Chief, sought military solution to the Kashmir issue through his Kargil misadventure. After assuming the reigns of the government through a military coup, the same General pursued an “out-of-the-box” solution to the festering Kashmir issue, which also ended in a fiasco.
Following General Musharraf’s departure, the current incumbent, Asif Zardari, on assuming the mantle of President and Supreme Commander of Pakistan’s Armed Forces, sanguinely announced during his inauguration speech that the Kashmiris would soon hear good news regarding the culmination of their struggle. Five years on, the residents of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are no nearer the end of their just struggle than they were in 1989.
We need to realize that we are dealing with a crafty neighbour, whose leadership religiously follows Chanakyan principles of guile, deceit and machination in statecraft. The current mantra being chanted by the Indians is that Pakistan should develop trade and commerce with India, grant it the status of “Most Favoured Nation” and place the core issue of Kashmir on the backburner.
The sad aspect is that a number of Pakistani politicians as well as media practitioners have fallen prey to such preaching. Mumbai attacks were well choreographed by the Saffron Brigade of India, to scuttle peace talks as well as blame Pakistan for the gory episode. The heinous role of Hindu extremist organizations: BJP, Shiv Sena and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in terror attacks have now been admitted by its India’s Home Minister. The recent violation of the Kashmir Line of Control (LOC), through unprovoked Indian firing, martyring three Pakistani soldiers and falsely blaming Pakistan for breaching the LOC, beheading two Indian soldiers, the jingoistic outburst by Indian politicians and media’s war mongering should have served a lesson to our peaceniks.
The recent media comments of the non-Muslim residents of Jammu indicate that they too are suffering at the hands of the illegitimate Indian Occupation forces. Credence to their just struggle, avoiding the label of a solitary quest by Kashmiri Muslims can be achieved by adding the voice of the Kashmiri Hindu/Sikh minority.
It is recommended that while expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris, Pakistan should not compromise on the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Concessions to India sans its return to the dialogue table should not even be considered.