Missed opportunity


As the conflict in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir grinds on for the last over seven decades, the unilateral actions adopted by the Hindu ultra-nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided fresh impetus to the indigenous freedom struggle in the Himalayan valley.
The Modi government in August 2019 unilaterally scrapped the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and stripped Kashmir of its statehood, spoiling the opportunity to make peace with Pakistan and restore normalcy to the region. Since then, the Kashmiri people are increasingly alienated.
Due to its illegal actions, New Delhi is grappling with growing unrest in the Muslim-majority valley, and has deployed thousands of additional forces to put an end to the freedom struggle. Schools and colleges were shut and internet and telephone services were suspended. Large scale restrictions were placed on movement of people. Kashmiri political leaders were placed under house arrest. Such actions led to stripping the valley of its special constitutional status and redrawing its boundaries.
Several months prior to taking away the special constitutional status of the valley, the unilateral actions pointed to something sinister being afoot in the Kashmir valley. Shortly thereof, the Modi government stunned the world by revoking Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which has been the basis of Kashmir’s complex relationship with India.
It goes without saying that for the people of Pakistan, Kashmir is a matter of life and death for Islamabad, which marks the Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 to draw the world’s attention to the worsening human rights situation in the illegally occupied territory.
As the people of Pakistan and its government stand firm for the cause of Kashmir which is not a piece of real estate to claim its ownership, but an issue of self-determination – the right of a people to shape their own destiny.
Unfortunately, mentioning the very word ‘Kashmir’ to India is like showing the proverbial red rag to the bull, even though it was India which had taken the issue to the UN as a complainant.
Yet it is astonishing that the aggrieved party doesn’t want justice done and blocks every move to have the issue settled. Ironically, India is on record as having accepted various Security Council resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir and having told the world that it would accept the Kashmiri people’s verdict.
India and all those states which support it on diplomatic fronts for their vested interests should realise the reality that people, especially the people of Kashmir, cannot be kept in bondage forever and that the unsolved Kashmir issue can push South Asia into a devastating war.
The Kashmir Solidarity Day should also wake up the Pakistani politicians to the overriding need for unity by keeping political differences between the opposition and government within the limits of decency and democratic ethics.
By taking drastic, unjustified and illegal actions, New Delhi missed the opportunity to resolve the issue with mutual understanding with Islamabad and to the satisfaction of the Kashmiri people. Islamabad is still seeking support of the comity of nations to bring New Delhi to stop atrocities and respect humanity to restore durable peace to the region.