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

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.