World powers need to intervene to resolve the Kashmir crisis. Any delay will amount to aggravating the already deteriorated situation on the ground that could be misused by non-state actors such as the Islamic State, writes Dr Ejaz Hussain.
The dispute of Jammu & Kashmir has once more been internationalised owing to India’s act of revoking Article 370 that gave special status to the occupied valley. Since then, the Kashmiris across the Line of Control are on the receiving end of fresh wave of state oppression.
The BBC footage of protesting Kashmiri youth in Srinagar is a case in point. However, curfew is imposed for past twenty days, thus putting people literally in ghetto sans accessibility to food, medi-care, and communication means.
Thus, human rights violations are committed in broad daylight which, if not stopped immediately, would lead to Kashmiri genocide in the Indian-held Kashmir. Another Burma seems to be in the making, leaving dark stain on the face of Indian secularism and democracy as well as collective global conscience.
Moreover, cross-firing between Indian and Pakistani forces is intensifying on the LoC. There are reports of casualties on both sides and the civilian population has been consciously targeted by the Indian army as a way to further demoralise the Kashmiris living on Pakistani side of the LoC.
Nevertheless, the Pakistani civil and military leadership is now harmoniously pursuing a unified line of idea and action vis-à-vis the state oppression in Jammu & Kashmir. Prime Minister Imran Khan has not only vowed Pakistan’s moral and legal commitment to the cause of Kashmir but also repeatedly urged his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to think wisely to forge an amicable solution to this lingering dispute.
Khan also called upon the regional and international community especially the United Nations to play its due role. Indeed, he demanded that the UN special observers and peace-keeping force be stationed in J&K to help stop grave human rights violations. In addition, the Pakistani military reiterated its principled position on the matter, that it will go to the extreme extent to support the Kashmiris in their continued struggle for self-determination.
Pakistani state, thus, is currently acting both diplomatically and militarily. Diplomatically, it has contacted and urged China, France, England, Switzerland, Turkey, Malaysia, the OIC, the UN and of course the US to find a pro-Kashmiri solution to the dispute.
Indeed, the recently-held UN consultation session on the worsening situation in J&K has attracted international attention. However, Pakistan needs to do more on this front in the coming weeks as the UN General Assembly session is scheduled in September.
Militarily, the Pakistan Army is engaging its Indian counterpart on the LoC. The situation may worsen in the coming weeks. Because Pakistan believes that Modi-led Indian military may further violate the LoC through unprovoked escalation leading gradually to another Indo-Pakistan war.
In this respect, any Pulwama type incident by any element will ignite the continued crisis. However, if prudent is a guide, Pakistan does not seem to be in the mood to employ jihadi means in Kashmir to pressure India under the current circumstances though the former will frame its Kashmiri policy around the situational variables in the foreseeable future. In this regard, Pakistan has to generate domestic consensus among all shareholders particularly political opposition whose moral support is much needed to have a sustained policy (dis-)course.
Last but not the least, Pakistan must continue to raise the Kashmir dispute at all available fora. The ongoing G-7 summit offers an indirect opportunity where Pakistan can maneuver by supporting pro-Kashmir(i) local interest groups along with encouraging Kashmiri diaspora to hold rallies in major cities of France, the rest of Europe and the US.
Furthermore, Pakistani diplomats ought to discuss the matter and, importantly, highlight gross human rights violation in J&K by India – regardless of the size of the country they are based in. In addition, Pakistani state and the society need to express solidarity with those Indian political, legal and hurman rights forces and organisations that have taken a pro-humanity stance on not just Kashmir but also the crisis in Myanmar and Palestine.
Pakistani intellectuals and academics need to highlight the peculiar situation that has engulfed the Indian polity under the RSS-controlled BJP. There is a need to have a dialogue, either online or aboard, with such Indian mind that thinks differently. Already from within the Indian diaspora community, Professor Amartya Sen, who is a Noble Laurate, has registered his heartfelt disappointment and displeasure over what is taking place under the chauvinistic, racists and misogynist BJP led by Modi.
Lastly, Pakistani government, its professionals and, importantly, the country’s strategic community urgently need to re-frame the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in nuclear terms.
Indubitably, Kashmir has already been a ‘nuclear flash-point, as eruditely summed up by Berkeley based renowned South Asia historian, Professor Stanley Wolpert. In his book entitled ‘India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation?’, he vociferously alerted not just India and Pakistan but also the world (strategic) community especially the United States to internalise the immensely impactful existence of the Kashmir dispute which the potential to get transformed into (nuclear) Armageddon.
It is, thus, time for world major powers especially the Trump-led US to forth come with the intent and plan to get the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir resolved by the engaged parties in the best interests of the Kashmiris. Any delay will amount to aggravating the already deteriorated situation on the ground that could be misused by the non-state actors such as the Islamic State.
The writer has a PhD in civil-military relations from Heidelberg University. He is DAAD, FDDI and Fulbright fellow and taches at Iqra University, Islamabad. @ejazbhatty