By Ali Hassnain
2019 is here, Modi has been re-elected and his wishful thinking on US apathy on Kashmir has been decimated by the statement of Donald Trump. In his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mr Trump clearly said “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said, where? Modi said, Kashmir,” President Trump further explained.
“Because this has been going on for many, many years. I am surprised that how long. It has been going on [for long],” he said, as PM Khan reminded him that the dispute has been going on for 70 years.
“And I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you (PM Khan) would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” said President Trump while reiterating his offer to mediate.
“It should be. I mean it’s impossible …… we have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, can’t solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed his remarks, saying: “Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir).” Mr Trump added: “So all those issues should be resolved. So, he (Modi) has asked me the same thing. So maybe we’ll speak to him. Or I’ll speak to him and we’ll see if we can do something.” If President Donald Trump can do it, he would go down in history as a peacemaker, which would be his legacy. That’s the right approach, winning the hearts and minds through principled stance.
So after this happened, Narendra Modi decided to avoid the limelight. The supposed idol of India, who is supporting acts like lynching of minorities, is yet to respond to his offer. I believe Donald Trump. I don’t believe President of the US would lie about it so blatantly. Donald Trump has a reputation but he is not famous for making up stories. He may get a fact or two wrong here and there, and I don’t support his policies in general but he is not making such false statements about world leaders. I believe him and I think almost everyone believes him. Modi’s request for arbitration or mediation was the most rational thing he has ever done.
But why did Mr Modi ask for it? Before we discuss what’s happening in Kashmir, let’s analyse this. Was he trying to lure Trump and portray himself as peace-lover like he did in front of Barrack Obama with reasonable success? I rate Modi as of below average intellect and I don’t expect him to realise that despite domestic policies of Trump, his international policies are similar to post First World War America first isolationism. He went out of the way and put water on 33rd parallel (North Korean issue in a nutshell). A direct meeting with Kim Jong Un and American President was unthinkable just ten months ago but Trump did it. He also wants American troops out of Afghanistan, and despite much more excuses than US had on Iraq, he has plainly refused to attack Iran and wait it out.
So did Modi really want to sort out the Kashmir issue through dialogue? Did the February debacle made him change his mind? Has the enormous cost of occupation finally taken its toll after 7 decades? He has not refuted what Donald Trump said and I don’t think he would because that is what he said in all probability. So before analysing recent events in Kashmir let’s look at recent events of Mr Modi’s foreign policy.
Mr Modi is not internationally presentable anymore. Pakistan has fixed its foreign policy and the world has seen Modi’s claims of peace and progress were just political slogans. His meetings with Nawaz Sharif were cosmetic, to fool the Arabs to believe he wanted peace, as he said in his infamous interview where he claimed clouds helped Indian air planes evade radars when they tried to attack Pakistan. Even traditional Indian ally, Putin was seen making small talk to an educated Imran Khan whose understanding of international affairs is way advanced than Modi. It seems Modi’s con has lived its half-life. India was freeloading of Iran, bypassing sanctions and US has taken India to task for it. In February India actually propagated they had an implied alliance with Iran on Pakistan. Indian intelligence keeps creating such misunderstandings.
Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir has remained unchanged since 1947. Pakistan has always welcomed international mediation. President Ayub Khan was close to Kennedys. He once asked JFK, in an emotional moment, that he should mediate and help in solving Kashmir dispute as it would solve a lot of problems. Mrs Kennedy laughed and said Pundit Nehru has gyan (knowledge) on every topic under the sun but when Kashmir is mentioned he looks at the rose on his Sherwani and goes into a deep meditative staged. From UNGA, UNSC, UNHCR and OIC Pakistan has repeatedly looked for meditation. There is not one forum where Pakistan has not raised the issue, but has India changed their policy? Unfortunately facts and actions of Indian Government state otherwise. Although the request from Modi to Trump is a good sign but it has signs of deception all over it.
Recently they have deployed 10,000 “battle ready” troops in Kashmir. Indian Occupied Kashmir has a population of 12.55 million and India has posted some 700 thousand regular military in Indian held Kashmir. That’s roughly one regular well-armed soldier to every 17.85 civilians, highest in the world. If we count paramilitary the ratio would go up further. It is world’s biggest prison, overwhelming majority of soldiers are posted in the cities to suppress dissent to Indian rule. And that’s not all.. There are above 81000 CRPF (para military), 16 battalions of BSF (paramilitary) and 83000 police which uses state-sponsored terror methods (rape, loot, plunder, fake encounter enforced disappearances, shot gun shells and whatever they want). And there are definitely other Indian paramilitary forces there, and unknown number of intelligent officers and agents. For example they are soon deploying Assam Rifles (Indian paramilitary) in Kashmir.
In this day and age this gross injustice goes unnoticed by international community. Pakistan raises it on every forum it can. UNHR and Amnesty international reports (countless) can be quoted. In other words, any rational person can see the presence of so many armed personnel in the valley.
Wars, Soviet era cold war, nuclear weapons, proxy wars, blame game, hatred, terrorism and suffering of Kashmiri freedom fighters (mostly peaceful) would end if it is solved as per UNSC Resolution on Kashmir or on the principles of natural justice. This very February both countries were on hair trigger alert due to attempts of incursion by Indian air force and subsequent Pakistan counter air strikes. Both countries in all probability had their nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert. It should never have happened. Situation was so tense that Indians shot their own helicopter well within Indian occupied Kashmir in panic; all due to the madness of the ruling party in India.
India deploying 10,000 battle ready troops in Kashmir is alarming. The ruling Indian party plans to simple ignore the clause in Indian Constitution according to which Kashmir is not part of India but has a special status and no non-Kashmiri can buy a property to assume citizenship of Kashmir. The plan of Hindu extremists is to bring hoards of RSS trained militants and they plan to build these Sainik (military) colonies where they would settle people to impact the Muslim majority figures of Kashmir. To say the least the madmen in Delhi (current Indian Government) must be stopped.
Historians would probably rate the fair of UN and world powers to solve the Kashmir dispute as one of the biggest failures of United Nations and one of the main reasons of its lack of credibility.
USA is the strongest military power in the world, and US President is said to be the most powerful person in the world as PM Imran Khan correctly pointed out. If anyone can force India to solve the disputes on the principles of natural justice it is the US. It would definitely help the credibility US lost in the Muslim world due to issues unveiled in the past, like Abu Ghuraib prison torture and abuse (including sexual abuse) and the infamous Guantanamo Bay which despite his best efforts Mr Barrack Obama failed to shut down. It was a pretty sign when a female US soldier was posing with heaps of naked Iraqi prisoners climbed on each other so she could take a selfie. It’s a sad part of history along with many other incidents. It’s time to mend fences and the mad men in India (like Modi and Yogi) must be stopped soon. As Donald Trump correctly pointed out at various times that India has used US to further their interests at the costs of interests of US (including Afghanistan).
There is a famous song about Kashmir in Pakistan from the 1970,
Zulm rahey aur aman bhi ho,
Kia mumkin hey tum hi kaho.
It means, injustice (atrocities) exists and peace co-exists with it, you should consider yourself how it is possible?
Let humanity win. Let’s give Kashmiris the right of plebiscite under UN as agreed by India in UNSC in 1948. That is the stance of Pakistan. Which part is wrong? How many Hitlers, Stalins and WW2 Imperial Japanese Generals the world must face before knowing that the principles of natural justice, equality, freedom and equal rights are the answer? 70 years is a long time; Kashmiris want to be with Pakistan. In any case, UNSC Resolution should be implemented and Kashmiris should be given their right… That is what Pakistan says.