Celebrating International Day of Disarmament offers no hope to Kashmiris: Dr.Fai
Washington, March 5, 2023
Antonio Guterres has said that “Eliminating nuclear weapons would be the greatest gift we could bestow on future generations. On this important day, (March 5th: International Day of Disarmament) let us commit to forging a new consensus around defusing the nuclear threat for good and achieving our shared goal of peace.” The Secretary General of the United Nations and those who are interested in the world peace, know it well that Kashmir is the only international conflict which can bring two rival countries – India and Pakistan – to the brink of nuclear catastrophe, said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice.’ Fai quoted President Bill Clinton who said that Kashmir was the most dangerous place on earth; and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark who said, “Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint.”
Dr. Fai suggested that let’s get a quick snapshot of the problem: If you had half a dozen soldiers from a foreign country stalking your neighborhood block day and night, watching your every move, noting when you come and go, who your children are playing with, and who you talk to in your neighborhood, demolishing your houses, changing the demography of your state? What would you think if occasionally you would see these soldiers arrest one of your neighbors and then go into his house, ransack it and dishonor the womenfolk? What’s your take if another neighbor came out and complained to the soldiers and they simply shot him on the spot, labeling him a threat under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which is nothing more than a license to kill? How would you feel when you know that this kind of thing isn’t an occasional incident that happens once every six months or even once a month. This is daily life in Indian occupied Kashmir? How would you feel except to resist the occupation? There is a resistance smoldering beneath the surface of this occupation that belies every notion that India is actually in control and managing its colonial possession.
Fai apprised that Kashmir Valley currently has more than 900,000 military and paramilitary troops occupying an area with no more than 9 million people. Having so many troops in this small country whose size is no greater in square miles than the U.S. state of Tennessee should certainly be a cause for concern by anyone. This is more than three times the number of troops the U.S. had at the height of the Iraq War. Why are they there? Where’s the war? The answer is given by Yashwant Sinha, leader of BJP and former India’s foreign minister, who said, “there is no question of losing (Kashmir). We have lost Kashmir;” and P Chidambaram, leader of the Indian National Congress and former India’s finance minister, who said, “We have practically lost Kashmir.”
“The cry for azadi (Freedom) has simply gotten louder. As such the level of tensions between India and Kashmir; and India and Pakistan show few signs of letting up any time soon. It has been consistently a witch’s brew that has done nothing but engender evil throughout the whole region,” Fai warned.
India continues to create convenient excuses to ignore the people’s demands for self-determination. But ignoring the decades old problem of refusing to resolve the question of Kashmiri sovereignty and self-determination has not only led to deep unrest among the Kashmiris; it has also led to two wars between India and Pakistan. That they are now both nuclear-armed states raise the stakes dramatically and calls for action to defuse these tensions immediately.
Perhaps it’s time the world powers, particularly, the United States take this seriously. The answer is plain as day for anyone. Kashmir has international legitimacy, having numerous UN Security Council resolutions which have given the right to self-determination to the people to decide their destiny. They should once and for all be honored. The clock is ticking. Every day that passes without resolution of Kashmir dispute is one day closer to a cataclysm that will reach far beyond the borders of all countries involved.
Dr. Fai can be reached at: