Pakistan’s Kashmir Policy has taken a slight shift in last few weeks as Prime Minister Gilani stated that two countries cannot afford to go to war over the disputed territory. News of putting Kashmir issue on a backburner for Pakistan seems to be an ideal choice, with internal disarray strangling the nation. And also leasing out Gilgit Baltistan to China for 50 years seem to converge with Pakistan’s changing stand on the issue. This holds great impact for Azadi demands and the people of the valley.
Kashmir has always been put as pre condition to talks between the two countries since ever. Post 2008 Mumbai attacks saw any scope of dialogue between the two neighbours go haywire. But recently Pakistan granting India the status of Most Favoured Nation and also the earlier interaction at foreign minister level has seen an inching towards amicable relations. Though the two nations have much to do on trust deficit and trust building, especially Pakistan doing away wtith non state actors and terrorism to thrive on its soil for better stability in the region. Pakistan itself has been victim of its self formulated policy of bleeding India through thousand cuts since the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan when it directed the Mujahideens to Kashmir. The self determination movement in Kashmir also took an ugly turn where Jihad and religion where advocated along with arms for move forward.
The battle has been long drawn and Kargil in 1999 was the ultimate full throttle which diluted the movement and also Kashmiri population’s battle against injustice. The separatist camps also stood divided on its demand for secession and some giving up arms for a peaceful movement. Since then valley has seen too many changing discourses and disillusionment with both the countries. Though Pakistan has maintained its stand that dispute is about the people of Kashmir and their inalienable right to self-determination and also the core issue with India. India on the other has moved on from Kashmir as core issue debate to terrorism debate. Its iron fisted rule has also continued to plague Kashmiris. Last three years has seen a movement of different kind against Indian rule where common Kashmiri has been on the forefront rather than separatists. This twist in the movement has much to say about the disappointment of the population who neither want to be with Pakistan or India now. Pakistan has lost its credibility with the population who feel that Kashmir has been a mouth piece for Pakistan to justify its military policy and need for resources than sympathy in reality.
Now, with the statements mentioned in the beginning coupled with separatists making noise about the economic and human rights aspects of the dispute, political solution or any settlement seems to have hit rock bottom. Meetings are held between the moderate separatist camps and Islamabad; it leaves much to speculate about the hardliner Geelani faction, who has been conveniently dropped off from Islamabad’s list. And also Pakistan’s decision if be true to lease out Gilgit Baltistan to China, Pakistan has contradicted its position that the area is a disputed one and linked to solution of Kashmir issue. The internal strife that has engulfed Pakistan has forced it let go off its conviction and play double whammy. The leasing out would take away Pakistan’s economic meltdown to an extent, is what is behind the idea. After all states run on self interest. It then should logically accept the Instrument of Accession and LoC as final and binding. The above quagmire in reality holds the mirror to how state’s function. When the need be, use an issue to justify cause and means to an end. Kashmiri population will be yet again caught between the liberator, dictator and the leader. Time is high to open eyes to how states go volte face for self interest.