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

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

'Human rights trampled upon': Activists, litterateurs, academics 'reimagine' India

Bezwada Wilson, Romila Thapar, TM Krishna By Our Representative  The Reimagining India public lecture series, initiated by the civil rights group India Inclusive Collective, has brought together one platform about 50 prominent speakers in order to highlight how, over the last seven years, there have been “consistent attacks” on the democratic fabric of the country, with Constitutional and human rights of people being “trampled with impunity.”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ease of doing business? Govt of India seeks legal cover to 'divert' forest land

By Gopinath Majhi*  The proposed amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) vide ‘Consultation Paper on Proposed amendments in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980’ (F No FC-11/61/2021-FC dated October 2, 2021) must be dropped by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC). 

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.