While a new year is said to bring new hopes and aspirations, the start of 2021 is indeed, a sobering one, with a multitude of challenges. At the very beginning of New Year, states across the globe are fighting to contain spread of the second wave of the lethal corona virus, because of which thousands of deaths have occurred across the globe. In reference to Pakistan, while struggle to contain the coronavirus remained the major challenge during the previous year, it also set-in motion various other concerns at the political and security front that will endure to confront the state. Of a long list of tenacious challenges facing the state, Kashmir issue remains the most import point of concern.
While the world commemorates Kashmir Solidarity Day on 5th February 2021, the humanitarian crisis occurring in the Kashmir has never been bleaker ever before. Kashmir is considered as the most militarized piece of land in the world. According to estimates, there are nearly million Indian troops stationed in Kashmir. The civilian population in Kashmir is unable to exercise basic civil rights; they do not have any freedom to move feely or access basic amenities. Kashmiris try to protest against this brutality are always countered by a disproportionate military force. To hear a new story of rape torture and witnessing the increasing number of deaths has become a common thing in Kashmir.
Persecution on the basis of religion and race is now considered as an art form by the Modi regime. The Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB), National Registry of Citizens and the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A are the most common examples where one can clearly witness the legislative agenda used by Modi regime to marginalize minorities and specially the targeted Kashmiris. A G Nooranian, an India Lawyer and constitutional expert defines measures taken in the pursuit of article 370 and 35a as “communal-minded majoritarian” intentions.
As far as the conflict resolution strategies are considered for Kashmiris, Biden-Harris team has come up with a significant slogan of human rights protection. The US administration needs to engage immediately with the plight of the twelve million Kashmiris whose human rights are constantly being violated. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan has significantly addressed the issue at multilateral platform of the UNGA however more importantly, it demands bilateral attention in India and Pakistan for its solution. Many scholars from the discipline of peace have proposed different possible solutions that are viably acceptable for Kashmir but couldn’t reach to implementation because of various challenges. Both India and Pakistan need to opt for a sustainable efforts and a systematic mechanism to resolve the territorial dispute and save the Kashmiris from great psychological and human loss.
These possible solutions revolve around the scenarios of making Kashmir an independent state and making Kashmir a part of India or Pakistan either. However, greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir and Demilitarization seems as a much comprehensive way for solving this conflict. Kashmiri people should be given autonomy over their decisions. They should me made capable enough to conduct a fair plebiscite free from any influence or pressure. This will allow the Kashmiri people to decide their fate by themselves. But the challenges that serve as a main hindrance in the implementation of any kind of these conflict resolution strategies stems from the inability and unwillingness of both the states to develop a consensus in this regard.
While seeing at this prospect through the lens of the Indian perspective, it requires Indian willingness to show some flexibility in their claim of “Kashmir being the integral part of India“. The image that India once had of being an aspiring democrat, is tarnished now. With every new day, India loses this image bit by bit as the BJP continues to make those policies as far from democracy. India, that consists of millions of people of numerous religions and beliefs is no longer a safe land for the minorities. The lengths that RSS and the Modi regime goes, to step over these minorities are reflecting the ways of Nazi regimes that brought Germany to its fetal fall. The things that are planned by the BJP government are too grim to imagine.
In reference to the challenges concerned in giving the greater autonomy to Kashmiris from the Pakistani side, Pakistan has always been an advocate of peace in Kashmir. But the fact why Pakistan is unable to do much for the strained territory is that Pakistan bears a great challenge of facing its population’s emotional attachments with people of certain territory or a religion. On one hand, it is wise to demilitarize the territory but on the other hand there is an intense hatred in population for India and its military. Undoubtedly, it is challenging on part of Pakistan to pull its military forces back from Kashmir, reason being the ambiguous Indian policies and their motives.
Nevertheless, history is a good mentor only if lessons are learnt. The journey of religious and ethnic cleansing in any of the society is not an easy one. It involves the distinguishment of some humans as inferior and some human from the others. The establishment of this kind of concept by any elite majority then views “genocide” as an appropriate method against minorities. The same thing is happening in Kashmir resulting in the killings of many innocent lives. The barricaded prison of the Kashmir needs an immediate attention of the world powers so that the human rights can be preserved.
By Mishal Batool – The author is a student of Bachelors in Defense and Diplomatic Studies at Fatimah Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi. She has done internship in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. She can be reached at email@example.com