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The real facts of Kashmir are not being highlighted. It is a far more complex issue than maudlin sentimentality displayed by the spur of the moment commentaries. Articles 370 and 35A were a sop to the sensibilities of Pro Indian Kashmiri leaders like Shiekh Abdullah, the first post partition Prime Minister of the state, appointed by Maharaja Hari Singh and Nehru. Article 370’s predecessor, the special status of Kashmir, was originally conferred by Hari Singh in 1922 to protect the interests of Hindu Brahmin Pandits who felt threatened due to increased migration of Muslims from Punjab and Bengal. Shiekh Abdullah who was part of Hari Singh’s emergency administration in 1947 was appointed as the Prime Minister of the Kashmir State on 17 April 1948 with Dr Karan Singh, the son of Hari Singh, as the President of the State. In 1952 the Constituent Assembly of the State was elected that voted to abolish the monarchy, thus bringing an end to the 106 year old Dogra dynasty’s rule.
Article 370 was introduced through Part XXIX of the Indian Constitution under a Transitional and Temporary rule. Shiekh Abdullah wanted the Article’s application under a permanent clause but was not agreed to by India. The short historical primer shows clearly that at no stage did the Article 370 stand in the way of Pakistan’s principled stance that was rooted in UN Resolutions that clearly spelled a UN supervised Plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of Kashmiris, whether to accede to India or Pakistan. After India reneged on its Plebiscite commitments, Pakistan fought four wars and a long asymmetric spell to settle the Kashmir dispute, before embarking upon peace parleys to find a peaceful solution to the intractable conflict.
As far as military options are concerned after the Kargil Conflict where two nuclear armed adversaries came to blows, and were forced to back out through US mediation, the asymmetric war route for Pakistan has been blocked. The international community has conveyed a clear advice(euphemism for warning) to abide by our FATF commitments to avoid inclusion in black list by November. Now what are realistic options for us? On diplomatic front aggressive diplomacy to highlight the Indian illegality sans the Kashmir State’s Constituent Assembly’s approval should be the first step. This issue should be most forcefully raised at UN Security Council level after marshaling the support of global and regional allies.
Vociferous moral and political support to Kashmiris agitating for their rights inside Kashmir is the next step that should be taken expeditiously. It should be done employing the right information warfare tools on scientific lines without whipping up frenetic war paranoia. The writers, poets, singers, and intellectuals should lend their shoulder to this effort with full vigour. While ratcheting up the media war there is a need to keep a delicate balance internally to be able to sensitive our population about some unpalatable realities about the Kashmir issue i.e the pro- independence lobby’s divisive effect on our “Kashmir Banega Pakistan” slogan. As a third step the moribund OIC should be gingered up to stand up in solidarity with their persecuted Muslim brothers and sisters in Kashmir. The Kashmiri political leadership should be afforded opportunities to travel abroad and present their ordeal directly to the opinion makers and power wielders of all influential countries.
The adverse impact of the Indian sabre rattling on the Afghan peace project should be candidly discussed with the USA along with garnering the support of regional stakeholders like China, Russia, and Iran. While doing above care should be taken that we do not take any precipitate step to alienate Gilgit- Baltistan’s population that is likely to ask for a revocation of GB’s amalgamation with the Kashmir State and grant of a provincial status for GB.
There is also a need to properly evaluate the legal rebuttal to the old Indian mantra of touting Kashmir as a bilateral issue after Simla Conflict. In the global community the Indian narrative of bilateralism should not gain traction at the cost of the UN Resolutions.
Indians have been successful in projecting the fiction of Simla and Lahore declarations as a replacement of the UN resolutions which is contrary to our stance. Recent US and Russians statements on Indian move also refer to Simla Agreement as a basis for bilateral talks to resolve all disputes. Moving out of Simla Agreement is an option for us but what advantages would we gain? Practically none, unless we intend providing material support to Kashmiris and initiating an asymmetric warfare. At least in its presence form the Simla agreement provides a fig leaf for a bilateral engagement that might yield some result in future.
Any kind of armed or unarmed struggle from here onwards should bear the clear imprimatur of indigenous Kashmiri effort. As per the classic exposition of Asymmetric Warfare by T. V Paul the weaker protagonists in a conflict equation initiate an asymmetric conflict when either or all of the four conditions obtain. These include favourable international environment, possession of a new war technology, asymmetry of will between contestants, and the cost-benefit calculations of the weaker actor that calculates the benefits of a military defeat to be better than the status quo.
The Kashmiri indigenous struggle passes muster on two of the above criteria. There is a clear asymmetry of will between the Indian occupation forces and the Kashmiri population’s will to fight a sustained war of national liberation.
Secondly in the cost-benefit calculations of the Kashmiris the benefit of armed defiance clearly outweighs its costs that include elimination of socio-cultural identity and political enslavement to Indian Union. Kashmir is on the boil and this time Pakistan must support a purely indigenous asymmetric battle with the Indian occupation forces in a manner that India could not point the accusing finger of cross border terrorism. Indian hubris has united the Kashmiris in a manner that was not witnessed in over seventy years of their struggle for independence and hubris does have a fall.



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