The Kashmir situation
Col (R) Muhammad HanifCol (R) Muhammad Hanif
SEPTEMBER 4, 2019
Pakistan could have used the military option to help the stranded Kashmiris and support their freedom struggle.
After illegally abrogating Articles 35-A and 370 of the Indian Constitution and taking away Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy, Modi and the RSS-led BJP government is busy in the genocide of the people of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The state is taking extreme criminal punitive measures to suppress them, to make them abandon their peaceful freedom struggle and their right to self-determination, as was promised by the UNSC, Nehru and Lord Mountbatten.
These criminal punitive measures include clamping of continuous curfew in the state for the last 28 days, as a result of which the common Kashmiris are unable to earn their livelihood, purchase grocery and other items of necessity, like medicines. Normal life remains disrupted and the markets are closed. People have not been allowed to take patients to hospitals for the last four weeks. Young men are being lifted from their homes and tortured.
The same way, telephone communication and the internet have been closed for the last 28 days and the Kashmiris are unable to talk to each other. They cannot even communicate their difficulties to the outside world, including the HR organisations for help.
Apart from this, the main worry is that the Indian forces break into the Kashmiris’ houses and apprehend male members, including children as young as 12 years. They are transported through military C-130s to the Indian jails and tortured by using inhumane methods. The BBC, in its programmes, has already shown the photos of the men, who have been tortured by the Indian forces. Therein, the Kashmiri boys are saying, “Just shoot us, do not torture us.”
The Pakistani media and other Western media channels have also amply highlighted Indian HR violations in Kashmir.
Pakistan had severely reacted to the Indian move of carrying out unconstitutional changes to take away Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy. With the full support of China, it had referred the matter to the UN, as a result of which the issue was discussed by the UNSC. Although no statement was issued, individually, the leaders of all major powers had asked India and Pakistan to resolve their issues through bilateral dialogue. They had asked India to protect the human rights of the Kashmiris.
Modi, however, refused President Trump’s recent offer for mediation on Kashmir. Nonetheless, Pakistan is still struggling to convince the UNSC members to pressurise India, through a UNSC resolution, to lift the curfew, restore the normal life in Kashmir as well as the autonomy of the state.
Pakistan could have used the military option to help the stranded Kashmiris and support their freedom struggle to the logical conclusion and correct the history as well. This was done previously by India in 1971 in erstwhile East Pakistan by launching a military offensive on the then East Pakistan in support of the Bengali separatists.
Hence, India would be compelled to lift the curfew at suitable intervals to allow the Kashmiris to collect/purchase rations and medicines from the market. Therefore, Pakistan should relentlessly pursue this policy to ensure the survival of a maximum number of the Kashmiris out of this humanitarian crisis created by India
But, Pakistan is not doing that as it wants to stick to its policy of pursuing peace and development in the region. However, it has vowed to blunt any Indian attack, if launched, in Azad Kashmir or elsewhere.
Given the above-discussed scenario, the following are suggested:
In the long-term perspective, Pakistan should continue with its diplomatic efforts to convince the member countries to pass a resolution in the UNSC; asking India to lift the curfew, restore normal life in Kashmir and the state position held before August 5, 2019.
But as an immediate measure, Pakistan should focus on convincing the world leaders to pressurise India to allow the entry of the International Red Cross (IRC) in Jammu and Kashmir for ensuring the provision of humanitarian support to the Kashmiris, like the provision of rations, medicines and other medical support.
In this regard, Pakistan should offer to provide rations and medicines to the IRC at the LOC. The IRC should also oversee that the human rights violations are not committed by the Indian security forces.
The adoption and the media projection of the above-mentioned strategy will help exert the world pressure on India to either allow the entry of the IRC to distribute rations and medicines to the Kashmiri people or lift the curfew and communication restrictions imposed on them to restore the normal life.
If India does not allow the entry of the IRC, it will be internationally humiliated. Thus, it would be confirmed that it is starving the Kashmiris to death if they do not surrender their demand of the right to self-determination.
Hence, India would be compelled to lift the curfew at suitable intervals to allow the Kashmiris to collect/purchase rations and medicines from the market. Therefore, Pakistan should relentlessly pursue this policy to ensure the survival of a maximum number of the Kashmiris out of this humanitarian crisis created by India.
The writer is a former Research Fellow of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad, and Senior Research Fellow of Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad