Mission Kashmir: A new wave of diplomacy to resolve Kashmir Issue

The Indian Occupied Kashmir is under siege since August 5th, 2019 when Indian government stripped the people of Kashmir off their special status by revoking Article 370 and 35A. Most of the Kashmiri leadership is either locked away in jails or have no access to the valley due to strict curfew. As PM Imran Khan met with President Donald Trump on Monday, the points under discussion were mainly regarding Kashmir issue and President Trump offered to mediate between Pakistan and India once again because he insisted that he wants every Kashmiri to be treated well. President Trump and PM Imran Khan also exchanged views on how to de-escalate the conflicting situation due to its drastic implications.

President Trump expressed the desire to mediate if leadership on both sides is willing to come on diplomatic terms. He also said that PM Modi’s statements while addressing the public rally of Indian-Americans in Huston regarding Pakistan were very aggressive, PM Modi also denied first offer of mediation straight away claiming that Pakistan is a base for terrorists. Mr. Trump appreciated the diplomatic efforts being made by Imran Khan to put the flames out with the help of USA. This was the second meeting between PM Imran Khan and President Trump in the search of solution for Kashmir issue. The crisis of Kashmir can escalate between Pakistan and India even further if not addressed timely.

Following his diplomatic efforts trail, PM Imran Khan met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and discussed of New Zealand in New York and discussed about the anti-Muslim sentiments and Islamophobia among the people and appreciated her efforts for reaching out to Muslims globally. PM Khan briefed PM Ardern about the atrocities of Indian government in Kashmir and that they are being kept in “an open jail” with total communication blackout. PM Khan also showed his concern that once the curfew is lifted in the valley of Kashmir, there is a chance of massacre of the residents just as it happened in Gujarat. Kashmir issue needs to be highlighted in World’s parliaments to stop the Indians from oppressing unarmed innocent Kashmiri.

Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan expressed his apprehensions after witnessing ongoing Indian atrocities in Kashmir and urged Pakistan and India to tackle the Kashmir issue through dialogues, during his address at the UN General Assembly session in New York. President Erdogan said that international community has been failing to pay attention and resolve the Kashmir issue for past 72 years, ignoring the fact that the development and prosperity of South Asia cannot be separated from Kashmir. The issue needs to be resolved on the basis of equity and justice because the lives and wellness of more than eight million people is highly on stake.

PM Khan shared his views during a press conference in New York that the brutal treatment of Indian government towards Kashmir is unprecedented in this day and age. Moreover, 11 UN Security Council resolutions recognize Kashmir as disputed which gives the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir through a plebiscite but India is still content that Kashmir is an internal and that they are the ones to decide the fate of Kashmir. PM showed his disappointment that Kashmiris are being treated worse than animals and majority of the international community is silent and that UN was established to eliminate radicalization against weaker parties to the conflict.

There is a dire need to handle and suppress the radical ideology of Hindutva that is being followed by PM Modi and his political party BJP to maintain peace in the region. Long term deterrence has only two implications that either the crisis de-escalates or escalates more severely than it initially was. In case of Pakistan and India the issue is continuously escalating and there have been talks of both the states going on war, most probably nuclear war. To deter and discourage the risk of war between two nuclear states there are not many options that having proper dialogues by keeping all the grievesnces aside and diplomacy via engaging the world to reach a long lasting and sustainable solution to the Kashmir Issue.



IOK: Humanitarian Crisis?

The entire Kashmiri people are under siege in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).  It has become the most militarized zones in the world.  Since August 5th, 2019 Indian government has imposed curfew and a complete black out of communication, food supply, and thus generated one of the worst humanitarian crisis in current history. More than eight million people are under extreme social and military control. The abrogation of article 370 and 35-A has transformed the relationship between the Kashmiris and the Indian government. According to all international legal standards, India has annexed Jammu & Kashmir because India disregarded all UNSC resolutions and bilateral agreements. There are historical and ideological reasons that why India violated international law.

As a result of comprehensive communication breakdown, the fate of Kashmiris is unknown. There are some credible reports that thousands of Kashmiri youth have been transported out of Kashmir and imprisoned in different Indian prisons. The human rights organizations have serious concerns about the lives of these detainees, and there are reports of mass rape. However due to prudent diplomatic and political campaign of Pakistan, the current humanitarian crisis IOK is internationalized.

The current BJP government is known for its extremist Hindutva policies and thus created a remarkable challenge for the so-called secular sections of Indian society. The RSS is the front of BJP and by share control of resources, the RSS has forced the government to terminate all minorities including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits – because the RSS believes that Hindus are the most superior of all human race.  The Prime Minister Imran Khan has mentioned the role of RSS in determining the future of India. In his recent speech (26 August), “They (RSS) believed that Hindus were supreme and there was a hatred for Muslims in their ideology. Their leaders followed racist and fascist ideologies”.

As earlier mentioned, that Pakistan had managed to internationalized the plight of Kashmiri people, still there are countries which apparently have supported India’s current constitutional action against the people of Jammu & Kashmir but major countries have emphasized that Pakistan and India should resolve the issue bilaterally. The humanitarian crisis in IOK however has been highlighted and stressed upon. As a first step this diplomatic effort perhaps need more imputes, in order to galvanize support from both Muslim and Western worlds. Iran for instance has presented a resolution in favor of Kashmiri people.

According to KMS, a member of the Iranian parliament, Ali Mathari, presenting the resolution said that all the Muslim countries including Iran had an important responsibility regarding the oppressed Kashmiri Muslims and the Kashmir dispute. He said that ending special status of Kashmir was an important matter and the Muslim countries should support the people of Kashmir in this hour of trouble. The people of Kashmir, he added, are innocent and India is cruel because it is violating the legal rights of the Kashmiris.

To conclude, it is the responsibility of international community and the United Nation to prevent Indian PM Modi’s Hindu nationalist government to commit genocide against innocent Kashmiris. For India, it is vital to comprehend that Pakistan “will go to any lengths” to support the cause of the oppressed Kashmiri people” as PM Imran Khan put it, but also will severely retaliate any Indian aggression or military misadventure

Dialogue and Peace: Resolution of Kashmir Conflict

By Zara Qurban

Kashmir has been a flash point between Pakistan and India. The reason is that the partition plan was not implemented in its letter and spirit.  The partition plan of Indian sub-continent, under the formula of, that is, Kashmir was required to accede either with India or Pakistan and then Maharaja of Kashmir acceded with India despite Kashmir being Muslim majority which favored Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan geographically since the beginning. India being obnoxious as ever enforced war on the valley of Kashmir to keep them from getting what they truly deserved- Freedom and Autonomy. India has never been concerned with the catastrophic outcomes of war in waging and maintaining it, but it has been blinded with the vile idea of gaining power over region to weaken Pakistan.

Unfortunate Kashmiris could not get the taste of freedom and sovereignty due to the constant tug of war between India and Pakistan, the two nuclear powers, for past several years. One giant reason for why the relationship between both the belligerents has always been under hot waters is India’s use of coercive measures against Kashmiris to keep them repressed, to deny their right of self-determination and to keep undermining any bilateral or multilateral solution to the issue. The earthly paradise has turned into a valley of dead bodies of the loved ones, bullets, blood and women of all age groups who have been physically violated by Indian soldiers.

It has always been the major approach of Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue through UNO Resolutions to ensure the natural right of freedom of Kashmiris and to save them from further Indian atrocities. However, Pakistan rejected the UNHC Resolution number 47 that suggested Pakistan to withdraw its forces from Kashmir because of Indian approach of crushing innocent Muslim Kashmiris in order to maintain power over them. India has always been a fixed believer of war and genocide, it never really participated in finding any solution to the issue with clean heart and mind rather it has always taken defense under ferocious and intimidating methods which has further fractured the fabric of the Kashmiri society. India wants to bring Kashmiris, who have sacrificed to an unimaginable level to secure their right to freedom, on their knees through the projection of power.

Pakistan has successfully managed to keep the issue of Kashmir internationalized for past several decades to bring the attention of others influential countries towards India’s unrealistic and barbarian behavior regarding Kashmir. Few States of the international community have become blind, deaf and mute in fear of protecting their trade benefits with India since it’s a big market. Pakistan has tried numerous time on regional and international forums to discuss the matter and bring out the best alternative solution but India despite showing willingness to have dialogues restrains from doing so by constantly accusing Pakistan of being involved in terror activities and buys time to uptight its hold on Kashmir.

If the world pays close attention to the local grievances it will be quite evident that the Kashmir is not just some territorial issue between two strong-headed States, but it is more of a political issue which requires a political solution because it involves the people of Kashmir who are the rightful owners of their piece of land. All the rightful representatives are either jailed or killed to minimize the intensity of freedom movement led by agitated Kashmiris.

The constant atrocities, unfair treatment of the people of Kashmir and the killing of young freedom fighter Burhan Wani whose brother was also killed for no reason by Indian soldiers have escalated the intensity of freedom struggle and movement. India has never failed to violate the ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control and the violent responses have increased since the PathanKot incident followed by the Uri attack and Pulwama episode. India blamed Pakistan for conducting those attacks before even inquiring and successfully politicized the attack to gain more public sentiments which eventually helped the already ruling hardliner party of BJP under Narendra Modi to bag more votes to secure second term as Prime Minister of India.

Both the belligerents need to realize that military or coercive measures are not the solution rather it will further fragment the Kashmiri society. Dominance of one group over the other can never ensure human security that is mostly needed to comfort Kashmiris emotionally as of now. This is high time that Pakistan convinces India to have result oriented dialogues because BJP has majority in the Upper House and bill can be passed with a vast majority that can benefit the people of Kashmir and help them being a part of normally functioning States as well as the relationship between India and Pakistan will also improve. Ex-President of Pakistan and CoAS General Pervaiz Musharraf suggested a solution to this issue to have productive dialogues with India that Kashmir should be demilitarized and people from both sides should have the liberty to move and participate in economic activities. If not independence, autonomy should be given.

Kashmir needs a tripartite solution including Pakistan, India and people of Kashmir. The leadership responsible for carrying out solution from all three sides should have the exact knowledge of the problem. India need to realize that turning Kashmir issue into religious radicalization and promoting nationalism to fuel already brewing tensions will not bring any stability to the region. Kashmir’s president Sardar Masood Khan mentioned with a heavy heart that unarmed and innocent Kashmiris with only stones and sticks in hands are standing firm against 700,000 fully armed Indian forces, how is this even justified in the eyes of so-called secular and democratic State of India?

Joint machinery needs to be established to maintain law and order situation and to conserve political, educational, religious and humanitarian rights in Kashmir. UN Resolutions should be used as a tool towards making Kashmir stable and secure for its people. Being major stake holders, India and Pakistan have the authority to make the quest of finding solution complex or humble by working together. Funding of the fighters cross-borders on both sides should be stopped to promote peace, security and development of the people who have been kept deprived of all these for so long just because they belong to a “disputed territory.” The whole nation is being taken for granted which is not and should not be acceptable for much enlightened world of today.

One Day International Conference on “Kashmir: An Unfinished Agenda of Partition”

One-day international conference on “Kashmir: An Unfinished Agenda of Partition” was organized by Pakistan House on Monday 7 May 2018 at a local hotel in Islamabad. The conference mainly focused to assess the failure of International organizations and community to protect Kashmiris from continuous brutalities at the hands of more than 7, 00 000.00 heavily armed security forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The purpose of the conference is to explore “new channels of communications” between Pakistan, India and Kashmiri people so that a dialogue on peaceful resolution on Kashmir can be initiated.

The dignitaries of the conference included Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Ehsan ul Haq (Retd.) NI (M), HI (M), former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee & Chairman Board of Governors, Pakistan House, Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani (Retd.) HI (M), Mr. Chris Leslie, MP & Chair All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Kashmir, Ms Julie Ward, MEP, Vice President Kashmir Group in the European Parliament, Mohammed Afzal Khan, MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration, British Parliament, Dr Nazir Gillani, President, Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission (JKHRC), Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Self-Determination Movement International, Ms Yasmine Dar, Member of the Labour Party’s National, Executive Committee and Manchester Cr, Ghulam Muhammad Safi, Convener of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, (APHC) Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chapter, Mr. Tony Lloyd, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ms. Anthea Mclnytre, MEP, Chairperson Friends of Kashmir in the European Parliament, Sardar Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, MP, British Parliament, Ms Mushaal Hussein Mullik, Chairperson Peace & Culture Organization, Ms Naz Shah, MP, British Parliament, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, University of Sargodha.

Gen Ehsan ul Haq (Retd.) NI (M) stated that the focus on the Kashmir dispute has acquired a sense of urgency in recent times on two counts: massive violations of Kashmiri people are being perpetrated and the unfolding of geopolitical and geostrategic paradigm on both regional and global security calculus. He reiterated that we should ask the question that would this create a rethink in Delhi and could stand as an opportunity for peace? Kashmir dispute cannot be wished away and it will keep on recurring. Status quo is not a solution. The added that he Kashmiri struggle has shifted to the new generation. After many years Pakistan has regained centrality and Indian attempts have not been successful to pacify the issue. He stressed that it is a daunting humanitarian challenge. It warrants urgent attention to resolve through multi track dialogue and solution centric deliberations for resumption of indo-Pakistan dialogue and there are three parties to the conflict India Pakistan and People of Kashmir and it is essential to address varying levels of dispute. War is no more an option, we should restructure a detente and a structured mechanism for resolving is needed to be evolved. The immediate priority should be to provide relief to Kashmiri Population. Kashmir issue cannot be wished away and cannot be put on the back burner it yearns for a just and equitable solution. Kashmir solution is a win win for all that would lead towards inducing stability in the region.

Mohammed Afzal Khan, MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration, British Parliament, stated that Occupied Kashmir is also an area where human rights abuses have taken place, which are well documented by international organizations such as Amnesty International. The over bearing military presence has exerted its strength by violating the rights of women and children in particular, where the most vulnerable have no protection as the male members of the family lie in mass graves and /or are have disappeared. The truth is, the stubbornness of the Indian government is resulting in the South Asia continent paying the price with growing instability. The development of CPEC is a good opportunity for the region to work together for the benefit of all, yet again India appears to be quite happy to play a negative role for the geo political benefit of outside players. The UN is not speaking out to say who is violating the LOC, so that the world knows who is the aggressor? It would not be an unfair statement to say that UN does not have any legs nor any teeth!

While addressing the Conference via video from London, Mr. Chris Leslie, MP & Chair All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Kashmir said that one of the biggest challenge is that International media failed to highlight the plight of Kashmiri people that it deserves. Mr Leslie shown great concern over the ongoing human rights violation in IOK and is of the view that the situation in IOK in not only bad for Kashmiris but also for the wider region as both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. This year the priority of All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPG) to carry out our own inquiry on Human Rights violation in IOK. He empathized on initiating Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between Pakistan and India, in order to find pathways to peace including demilitarization of Kashmir. He also stressed the need for fulfilling the historic responsibilities of Britain to help resolving the Kashmir issue.

Addressing the Conference via video, Julie Ward, MEP, Vice President Kashmir Group in the European Parliament, said that she is very much concerned about women rights in Kashmir as well as Human Rights violation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). She stated that violation of women rights are rising in IOK and they are being sexually assaulted by police and security forces. As a result in several cases, miscarriages of pregnant women occurs during assault.  She further said that widely reported incidents of braid chopping is appalling, a practice that denies women’s dignity.  She condemns the abuse against women and stressed for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir.

Addressing the Conference via video, Tony Lloyd, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that thousands of lives lost due to unresolved issue of Kashmir since partition. He said that atleast 10,000 people have disappeared, and people are victim of rape and torture. The use of pallet guns is ruining the lives of many people. The major countries need to pay attention to resolve the Kashmir issue because it is the oldest conflict. Comparing current situation in Northern Ireland, he said that peace can bring economic prosperity and job to people and there is a need to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully so that people of the region can enjoy the benefit of peace.

Addressing the Conference via video, Ms. Anthea Mclnytre, MEP, Chairperson Friends of Kashmir in the European Parliament, validated Kashmiri’s right for self-determination and emphasized the need to continuously raise the issue of Kashmir in the European Parliament so that we don’t have another seventy years of terrible state that we are facing in IOK Kashmir. “My heart bleeds when I see the terrible stories of children being blinded by pallet guns and the heart wrenching incident of little girl who was repeatedly raped and then murdered”.  We cannot allow these things to go on without adding our voice. In the name of humanity, I hope that this conference will be able to find ways to promote peace in the region and towards a proper stabilization and means to have self-determination for all the people of Kashmir. Let’s hope that in coming time we will see peace in the region and we will see democracy prevail

Sardar Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, while addressing the Conference via video from London, said that the people in UK should support the dialogue and negotiation between India and Pakistan in order to resolve the Kashmir conflict. The Kashmir which was known to be such a beautiful, peaceful and paradise on earth that we try to ensure that human rights are safeguarded and that we work towards the prosperity.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President strongly condemned massive human rights violations being committed by brutal Indian forces, besides killings of innocent people, demolition of houses in the name of ‘cordon of and search operations,’ women molestations and illegal detention of Kashmiri leadership. He said Pakistan and AJK government always effectively highlighted the issue on all international forums, extended all political, moral and diplomatic support to IOK people in resolving the issue as per their wishes. He said indigenous movement of Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination would continue till getting rid of Indian subjugation, adding that lasting peace in South Asian region could not be achieved without resolving the issue.

Rana Athar Javed, DG Pakistan House while concluding the session remarked that the international community must take the responsibility to address the massive human rights violations in IOK. The dehumanization of Kashmiri people severely challenges the international standard of human rights. Thus, there is a need for the UN, Britain and other countries to convince India to initiate a peaceful dialogue to resolve the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir, he said.