LIFE in the Indian held Kashmir (IHK) came to a standstill on Monday in response to a call for shutter down strike given by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik supported by Hurriyet Conference and High Court Bar Association to protest against the killing of 18 people during the last three days by the Indian security forces at Shopian and Pulwama. The unabated killing spree in the Indian held Kashmir (IHK) by the Indian security forces regrettably goes unnoticed by the world community, the powers that claim to be the champions of human rights and liberties including the right of self-determination. The UN, which is under obligation to create conditions for holding a plebiscite to decide the question of accession of Kashmir as enshrined in its resolutions, also remains oblivious to the situation in IHK. This indifference to the human misery and plight of the people of IHK is an affront to the conscience of the civilised world.
Reportedly the current year is the deadliest year as 528 people have been killed so far including 22 people killed during the last week. Human Right entities like Amnesty have been continuously issuing reports on blatant violation of human right by the Indian security forces in IHK but nobody seems pushed about doing something to end the plight of the people of Kashmir whose freedom movement is being brutally dealt with by India. Though the UN Human Rights Chief in his first ever report in June had also pointed out brazen violation of human rights in IHK by the Indian security forces and called for major investigations but no headway seems to have been made on that.
Looking the other way by USA and its allies in regards to the situation in IHK is actually a reward to India for serving their strategic and commercial interests in the region. The US is trying to prop up India as a regional super power and a counter weight to the burgeoning Chinese influence in the region and beyond. USA and India are on one page to thwart CPEC which they perceive as a threat to their interests. The signing of a nuclear deal with India by US and subsequently by UK and France in complete disregard to the NPT clauses and manoeuvering of NSG waiver for her is also a reward for India for doing the US bidding in the region, which incidentally also serves the Indian designs to establish its hegemony in the region.
It is perhaps pertinent to point out that since the announcement of new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia by Trump, Modi government in India has also upped the ante against Pakistan. Repeated threats by the Indian army chief and continued violations of ceasefire along the LOC and the working boundary in breach of the Ceasefire Agreement of 2013, is a ranting testimony to the attempts by India to put Pakistan under pressure at a time when the Pak-US relations have hit the rock bottom. Inebriated by its military might and the support of US and its western allies, India has become a warlike state not realising the dreadful consequences of this kind of posturing against Pakistan which is also a nuclear power and what it was doing in IHK.
Modi is a staunch enemy of Pakistan and has been also critical of the Indian leaders who gave commitment to hold plebiscite in Kashmir. A major agenda of his election campaign was anti-Pakistan rhetoric and the pledge to repeal articles 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution which gave Kashmir special status and barred Indian nationals to buy property in IHK respectively. A campaign to change the demographic features of the valley is also in the offing. The ruthless force currently being used to crush the freedom movement, according to some analysts is designed to escalate tensions in the restive region ahead of general elections next year in order to look tough on Pakistan and militancy in IHK. Dead bodies of Kashmiris unfortunately sell well in Indian elections
The Kashmir issue is not a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India. It is about the inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir
Growing tensions in the region and continued instability would equally hurt the Indians. History is a witness to the fact that all warlike states ultimately destroyed themselves. The Indian leaders must realise that peace and security in this region could only be established by resolving her disputes with Pakistan including the core issue of Kashmir by agreeing to hold plebiscite in accordance with the UN resolution.
The Kashmir issue is not a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India. It is about the inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir, who for the last seventy years are looking up to the world community and the UN to fulfill their obligations towards them. It is also an unfinished agenda of the partition and Pakistan is very much a party to it. It is absolutely justified in extending moral, political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris.
The gathering momentum of the freedom movement and its indigenous character as also admitted by military leadership of India, in spite of the brutal force being used to subdue it, is a clear writing on the wall for India that it could not keep the people of Kashmir under subjugation indefinitely and their blood will not go waste. History of freedom movements around the world amply testifies to this irrefutable reality. India cannot wriggle out of her commitment to hold plebiscite in Kashmir and the UN also cannot absolve itself of her obligations on the issue. It was high time for the UN and the world community to show concern for what India was doing in IHK and to pressurise her to fulfill her commitment.
Kashmir admittedly is a nuclear flash point and a potential danger to peace and security in the region as well as the world. The UN being responsible for ensuring world peace and resolving disputes and tensions between its members that have the potential of escalating into armed conflict, needs to act now and decisively.