Kashmir calls world conscience

Courtesy :-  Mahmood Zaman

Kashmir Solidarity Day is observed on February 5 each year since 1990 in Pakistan as a day of protest against Indian occupation and atrocities in Kashmir and seeking the world community’s attention to this core issue that has led to three wars and devoting a major portion of their national incomes to defence budgets. The issue now needs to be resolved to ensure lasting peace in South Asia, the home for one-fifth of the humanity, mostly suffering from abject poverty.The issue must also be resolved to avoid an eventuality that may cause a catastrophe in the region because Kashmir is the nuclear flash point of the region, surrounded by three nuclear powers.The consistent Pakistan stand found the way into a World Bank as it declared Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory when Indians approached the world body in 2009 to finance the ‘Participatory Watershed Management Project’ in Arunachal Pradesh as an Indian scheme. The World Bank responded that it was not an Indian plan but that of Jammu and Kashmir that is a disputed territory. The global donor agency also insisted on a disclaimer from the Jammu and Kashmir government that funding for a project amounts to accepting Indian claim that J & K was an integral part of India. This is the first time that any world body has recognized a territory controversial. And this may be seen in the context of the success of Pakistan’s foreign policy.India has been maintaining the presence of a huge army in disputed Kashmir since 1990 and continues to confront resistence from the people and have not been able to bring peace and normalcy to the region for more than two decades.
The interregnum saw hundreds of people killed and kidnapped and their homes set ablaze in repeated spree of arson and loot. However, the Kashmir question has more conspicuously been in the limelight since the middle of 2010 when widespread protests broke out amid atrocious conduct of Indian occupation forces which were found mounting the spate of killings of civilians besides looting and arson of Kashmiris’ homes.Just for a backgrounder, UN representative Sir Owen Dixon submitted on Sept 15, 1950 his formula that primarily focused on demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir by withdrawal of regular Indian and Pakistani troops and this arrangement was to follow by plebiscite under UN resolutions. He resigned in 1951 and the Security Council took up the matter soon after. A resolution drafted by Britain and the United States was approved on March 30 that year by eight votes to none, with India, USSR and Yugoslavia abstaining. The UN said it now had the mandate to demilitarize the State in accordance with the resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949. The resolution directed parties to accept UN arbitration.This is pertinent to mention here that it was India that approached the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948, and the world body adopted two resolutions on a whole gambit of the dispute beginning with a ceasefire that was readily accepted by India. But other parts of the resolution pertaining to US-sponsored demilitarization and plebiscite is still to see the light of the day because of a rigid Indian stance that has stalled the implementation of the resolutions till this day.The most deplorable aspect of the Kashmir dispute is that India itself had taken the issue to the UN but later backed away from the promises it had made to the international community regarding the settlement of the dispute and allowing the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination. As a result, Kashmir continues to be the hotbed of atrocities that Indian troops have kept on perpetrating by killing innocent people, arresting youth, disgracing and harassing women, and setting their homes ablaze with impunity. Pakistan has repeatedly emphasized that it would never accept any option for the resolution of the core issue between Pakistan and India, which goes against Kashmiris’ aspirations. South Asia has remained mired in tensions and conflicts because of the unresolved Kashmir dispute. Both countries have rather fought wars and paid a heavy price of compounded socio-economic problems and resultant human suffering. The clash in 1948, the 1965 war, the Kargil fiasco, the volatile Line of Control, the recurring skirmishes at the ‘Working Boundary’, frequent war-like military deployments and resultant tensions, and the perceived, ever-present Indian threat to our sovereignty and territorial integrity, all factors are directly related to Kashmir. This repeatedly manifested in all elections New Delhi held in the occupied territory that showed dismal turnouts. Kashmiris, thus rejected the Indian call to representative governments in J&K because they did not meet their aspirations as a free people.Pakistan also subscribed to other formulas with the hope and desire for the Composite Dialogue Process, starting in 1990, to succeed. Islamabad thought talks might become instrumental in creating an environment to the resolution of Kashmir. Pakistan and India are now at the verge concluding agreements, hopefully this month, on removing the no-tariff barriers to pave way for bilateral trade. This means that the stage of taking up contentious issues has come. Consequently, it comes upon the New Delhi leadership in particular and the world conscious in general to complete the course of bringing peace to this turmoil ridden region of South Asia by addressing the core issue of Kashmir which has lingered as a global obligation for nearly 66 years.


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