In September 2018, Foreign
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi takes the floor at the United Nations General
Assembly (UNGA) and makes a speech far more direct than most in the audience
expect. “We seek resolution of disputes through a serious and comprehensive
dialogue that covers all issues of concern. We were to meet on the sidelines
of this UNGA Session to talk about all issues with India- India called off
dialogue the third time for the Modi Government – each time on flimsy
grounds. They preferred politics over peace.
They used the pretext of stamps issued months ago, of a Kashmiri activist
and depicting grave human rights violations, including pellet gun victims,
as an excuse to back out from the talks. Dialogue is the only way to address
long standing issues that have long bedevilled South Asia, and prevented the
region from realising its true potential,” he stated.
Recent fuel to fire was the terrorist act of Indian Forcesdirect shooting at
demonstrators in Pulwama region of Indian Occupied Kashmir claimed the lives
of a number of innocent citizens.
Islamabad and New Delhi are certainly saying nothing new as far as their
respective stances on Kashmir are concerned. Yet it is quite clear that the
conflict in and about this long-disputed region is back on centre stage —
and not entirely because of Pakistan’s efforts.Kashmiris have launched a
non-violent agitation movement since 2010 amid arrests, custodial deaths and
relentless military oppression. They have, indeed, paid a very heavy price
for many decades to get their story across to the world.
The two new states – India and Pakistan – that emerged from the
decolonisation process could not operate under the same legal, political and
administrative paradigm which the British had. The geographical unity of the
two states could only be maintained if they came up with new political and
legal arrangements to integrate swathes of territory, both big and small,
that once belonged to the princely states. In order to deal with this
challenge, the two states embarked on projects to absorb such territories
into their respective borders as quickly as possible. There was no
universally acknowledged single instrument to achieve this.
In the age of decolonisation, self-determination was considered a universal
right and carried far more weight than the two-nation theory. Highlighting
its absence as the core reason for the problem in Kashmir, indeed, forced
India on the defensive. On several occasions, Nehru had to give assurances
that a plebiscite would eventually take place and that the mandate of the
Kashmiri people will be respected.
This apologetic Indian reaction convinced the Pakistani ruling elite that if
it needed to force India to a negotiating table, it needed help — from
But,India always stabbed from behind whether it is separation of East
Pakistan as Bangladesh or recent onslaught of cross border terrorism or
Kulbushan Yadav‘s espionage.
The pursuit of Kashmir remains embedded in popular and official imagination
as strongly as the perception that a nuclear Pakistan has a special status
within the Muslim countries. Both these views were manifest – and with a lot
of celebratory chest thumping – as Pakistan commemorated the 53rd
anniversary of the 1965 War with India.General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of
the Army Staff and arguably the powerful man in the country, partook in the
celebrations, announcing that “Kashmir remains the unfinished business of
Across the LoC, India’s grip on Kashmir has never been stronger. With more
than half a million soldiers stationed there, Kashmir is the most densely
militarised area in the world. And enjoying an across-the-board political
support for counterinsurgency measures, Indian governments of different
ideological persuasions have felt no qualms in perpetuating a reign of
terror against the Kashmiri civilians found protesting on the streets.
Chauvinistic and jingoistic rhetoric and policies prevail in both India and
Pakistan as far as their stances on Kashmir are concerned.The two
governments keep assuring their electorate of the legitimacy of their
position as well as their preparedness for war.
India is also opposing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) to achieve
multiple objectives like; firstly to maintain its hegemony in South
Asia.Secondly,India wants to limit Pakistan’s economic development
options.Thirdly,it also desires to publicise its false claim over Azad Jammu
& Kashmir and lastly,India aims to undermine China’s economic advancement in
a bid to contain its peaceful rise, by not joining the CPEC.
The rest of the world, meanwhile, remains a faithful, but passive, audience
to a Kashmiri spectacle, in which the same characters are condemned to
perform the same acts with the same tragic outcomes.
IF we want peace, let the Kashmiri people be given their basic right of
plebiscite. We are not warmongers; and our decision will bring peace to both
India and Pakistan, too. The shift from extremism to democracy in Pakistan
is a welcome change.
In his victory speech, Imran Khan said that Pakistan wants healthy relations
with all neighbours on the basis of equality. This statement is a good start
to mending ties between India and Pakistan. The election results in Pakistan
were interesting because for the first time the people rejected individuals
with extremist ideologies.
However, in India they campaign on the basis of extremism during elections.
The communal cards like Babri Masjid versus Ram Jan Bumi, Hindutva Rashtriya,
and organised Hindu–Muslim riots are intended to polarise the voters.
Secularism in the nation is under threat. The rise of lynchings demands
Both India and Pakistan are developing nations with challenges like
terrorism, drugs wars, illegal trade and foreign pressures. War is not an
option as both countries are nuclear powers.The unresolved Kashmir issue has
worsened relations between the two neighbours.
Concluding the discussion,Kashmiris want peace in both countries and wish
for them to evolve a strategy to solve the Kashmir issue and UN Security
Council resolutions can be followed to resolve the issue.Dialogue,
discussion and diplomacy are the best means to resolve issues amicably and
humanity must not suffer.
Dr.Zeeshan Khan is a medical doctor,writer,freelance journalist,Human Rights
Defender,Blogger,certified trainerand Poet.He is a motivational
speaker,Cultural-cum-Political Analyst and columnist and has written for a
number of English and Urdu dailies cum magazines like Dawn,Express
Tribune,The Nation,The Business,The Educationist,Global Village Space and
Roznama Pakistan etc.He is also Alumni of LUMS and Winner of all Pakistan
Ubqari story Writing Competition.He is Doctor at CMH.