Skip to main content

Any Indo-Pak dialogue "incomplete" without involving people of Jammu & Kashmir

By Syed Mujtaba*
Kashmir has been a zone of chaos for long. It is one of the highest militarised zones in the world. Kashmir is also a bone of contention between two nuclear-powered countries. Indeed, the independence of India and Pakistan gave the birth to conflicts, chaos, and hatred here. This is the state of affairs ever since two independent dominions of Pakistan and India were born on August 14 and 15, 1947, respectively.
Princely states were a peculiar issue. They were technically free to accede to either dominion or to remain independent. The idea of independence, according to Lord Mountbatten, the first and last British governor-general of free India, was merely a “theoretical option”; he therefore urged them to merge either with India or Pakistan.
Except Junagarh, Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), all others chose their dominions. Junagarh and Hyderabad were annexed in the Indian Union subsequently. J&K till October 1947 was independent. The idea to remain independent by Hari Singh put the future of the state at stake, and till date the state is being sandwiched between the relations of two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan. This has led to unprecedented tragedy to millions of innocent persons living here.
For over 70 years, unarmed Kashmiris, including men, women, school-going boys and girls, and aged people have continued to witness mental, psychological as well as physical humiliation and torture. Every day there are incidents of gashing of eyes, use of ever-new methods during unending curfews, torching of villages along with crops, and destruction of business as well as economic life, which is in utter defiance of international human rights and humanitarian laws.
The Kashmir conflict is a legacy of the past. The international community had given Pakistan and India many chances to resolve their outstanding issues. Ever since the Partition, apart from United Nations Security Council resolutions, various agreements, mediations and talks have taken place between the two nations. Tashkent Agreement, Shimla Agreement, Lahore Declaration, Agra Summit, Peace Process, and Confidence Building Measures are some of the glaring examples.
At the bilateral level, the political leadership of both the countries have failed, because prior to every sincere approach towards resolution, politically-motivated opportunistic preconditions are placed, which are not acceptable to one or the other stakeholder to the dispute.
Also, stakeholders incorporate political interests while seeking to “discuss” disputes, maligning the spirit of unconditional dialogue. Over the last three years, there have not been any productive and substantive talks between India and Pakistan.
In international politics, there are two basic strategic options: (a) defensive posture (b) Offensive posture. In a conflict, states display offensive and defensive behaviours. Both offensive and defensive behaviours can involve the use of force and aggression.
In the geopolitical scenario of South Asia, Pakistan-India animosity is the major subject, which has a decisive role. The geopolitical and strategic importance of J&K has put India and Pakistan on formidable wars, hostility, and low intensity conflicts. Both nations are nuclear powers and are rivals in non- military issues, too, including economy and politics.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that regional forums like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are inactive due to various political reasons of its members. SAARC members have made postponements of their summits on five occasions: 1991 (6th Summit in Colombo), 1999 (11th Summit in Kathmandu), 2003 (12th Summit in Islamabad), 2005 (13th Summit in Dhaka) and 2016 (19th Summit in Islamabad), and recently in 2018.
All regional powers are aware of the fact that the blame game between the two nations is spoiling the geopolitical landscape of South Asia. This is not making things any better domestically. If India and Pakistan want to make South Asia a peaceful and prosperous region, they have to adopt the ideology of non-violence.
Kashmir bleeds, and for the past seven decades, the people of Kashmir remain trapped in this status quo. The baggage of history weighs heavy on us, and a change is possible only through sustained unconditional dialogue. Dialogue, as we all understand, is currently the most civilised and humane way to resolve conflicts.
At the same time, there is an urgent need to address past and on-going human rights violations and to deliver justice for all people in Kashmir who have been suffering from several decades of conflict. Any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to end cycles of violence and unaccountability for past and current human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties and redressal for the victims.
Such a resolution can only be brought about by meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir. India and Pakistan should resume the dialogue process and engage all the stakeholders, including the people of J&K, in a sustained manner, unconditionally and with the aim to resolve the Kashmir issue, which will be imperative for a lasting peace in the South Asian region.
In order to move forward on Kashmir, there should be a proper mechanism. India and Pakistan should deal with Kashmir in such a way that the future generation is not forced to take up arms. The two should learn a lesson from Germany and France, who were once bitter neighbour, fought against each other two global wars, but now are part of the European Union, sharing a free border, both using the same Euro.
India and Pakistan should repair the damage they have done from the past 65 years and pledge to cooperate in economic, technological and social areas. This can be achieved with a soft hand, turning the Line of Control into Line of Cooperation to diminish and eliminate mistrust and stubbornness.
---
*Human rights activist, observer of socio-political contexts. Contact: jaan.aalam@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”