Kashmir’s worst fear has been realized. With Kashmiri politicians under arrest, an information blackout in place, and soldiers marching through the streets suppressing any dissent with brute force, India has attempted to annex Kashmir without their consent. What follows now is the most crucial period in the history of the region since 1947, how does the world respond?
That the move is unconstitutional and illegal is clear for anyone to see. A Frankenstein’s monster of presidential decrees, stolen provincial autonomy, and parliamentary resolutions cannot amend the constitution – a two-thirds majority and consent of the Kashmiri people is needed. The audacity of this constitutional perversion is surely to be challenged in the Indian courts, but can they rule fairly with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) breathing down their neck?
While the niceties of the constitution will be debated to no end, India will continue holding on to the region through naked force, turning this move into a fait acompli. A political show on Independence Day – planned beforehand – will serve to further ingrain the notion that Kashmir has been annexed; the “mission” has been accomplished.
In response to such blatant oppression what will the world do, what will Pakistan do?
The world is expected to do little; the major powers had already turned their back on the crisis long ago and are unlikely to intervene on their own. The United Nations (UN), which has long been the ostensible third party in the conflict, has been ominously silent so far. This is where it is needed the most, but can it go beyond mere condemnation to take some actual action. With the Security Council paralyzed by the veto and the General Assembly embroiled in other matters, the chances seem bleak.
This leaves Pakistan on its own to come to the aid of Kashmiris. While it is certainly hoped that our diplomatic outreach will be able to rouse the centers of world power and friendly nations into action, Pakistan will have to rely on its own might to meet the challenge of this Indian move. Cross-border shelling has already tested Pakistan’s resolve, attempting to bait it into an expanded military response. Perhaps that is what it may come down to.
The government has kept all options open and has appreciably closed ranks to present a united front when it comes to this Kashmir. This is a bigger test for our leadership than previous tensions with India have ever been.
Kashmir bleeds alone, the world must awaken to its cries, and if it doesn’t, Pakistan must do what is necessary.