After One Year Of Siege, ‘What Next’ For Kashmir?
By Ali Hassnain
For last one year Pakistan has been trying to use all peaceful ways so Kashmiris can get their fundamental rights of freedom and self-determination. Kashmiris have been subject to one of the worst atrocities since the end of World War 2.
Hundreds of thousands have sacrificed their lives honour and suffered unimaginable atrocities to be with Pakistan. So what now? The symbolic gestures and peaceful means like knocking the door of UN and all the other available forum and diplomatic efforts have been criticized by many since they have not yielded one breath of relief for Kashmiris. It reminds me of a book by a white man during the infamous apartheid era in which he wrote:
“I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men . . . desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it. . . . I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find we are turned to hating.”
“They” he has referred to are white men; the rulers.
Imran Khan Administration has been trying and would try every available platform to highlight the issue and get Kashmiris help. This perhaps is a very dangerous situation as Hindutva led government is rapidly suppressing any voice of reason in mainland India. They are using the playbook of Nazis and creating their own rewritten history with a promise of superior race.
Indian right wing is using it as a soothing tale to forget their problems. My main concern is what will happen when the world in general and Pakistan in specific decides to call it a day and intervene to save Kashmiris from a mini holocaust. Chief Minister of Indian state of Haryana (power equal to that of a Governor in the US) has already said in public that girls of Kashmir are white, pretty and he plans to wed them (by force implied) to people of his state where female foetuses are aborted as a part of culture.
World as a whole is either silent and except Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia no one has stood by Kashmiris. Realistically speaking, Pakistan is what stands in the way of a holocaust in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan even knocked the doors of the UNSC in vain. The geostrategic position in the world is rapidly evolving and India despite pre-2014 industrialization is losing support in international community.
Pakistan has always been on a moral high ground asking that Kashmir issue is solved by talks, either bilateral, mediated by a third party or through a plebiscite by the UN. India has refused talks despite international and bilateral agreements. So a lot of people in Pakistan ask, what now?
Something out of the ordinary happened last year. In response to an attack in Kashmir by local resistance in which 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed, India wrongly blamed Pakistan during their elections and tried to launch air attacks against Pakistan which were repulsed. Pakistan responded by carrying out day light air raid in Indian administrated Kashmir, deliberately targeting empty areas, but near Indian military installations. In the chaos India lost a SU 30mki and a MIG 21 Bison (upgraded MIG).
Pakistan took one pilot as POW without calling him that, later releasing him as a peace gesture. But the foolishness of Modi’s India didn’t end here. In his own denial he deployed ballistic missiles. Pakistan deployed its own ballistic missiles and in an instant there was a threat of nuclear war.
India and Pakistan share a border and it was an extremely reckless move by India. India froze. The threat was defused after intensive mediation by world powers. In retrospect India had shown what an irresponsible government is in Delhi, despite their numerical advantage brining missiles into the equation, they were not ready for a conventional conflict. Pakistan has clearly indicated on countless occasions that nuclear missiles are deterrence for a very desperate situation. On the other hand India bringing nukes in after two air skirmishes is alarming and it showed how reckless is this new India and for sure it would have forced Pakistani planners to re-calculate. The aborted air attack on Pakistan itself faced a fierce counter attack and a limited or perhaps all-out war didn’t break out because of Pakistan’s desire for peace.
So ‘what now’ is the question. Many including me have seen the Imran administration’s with scepticism. However in current international scenario it is the right move. No one wants another war. Some argue that era of wars is over. However war is an inevitable reality of human existence for millennia. With the society evolving all efforts must be taken to avoid it while preparing your defense. It’s an era of innovation in war strategies and wars have evolved too. It’s about technology now. Everything from cyber-attacks and strategic economic wins are involved. I can’t rule out that a classic 20th century war is out of equation yet, but we must focus on peace and progress, science and technology and projects of strategic importance.
What’s next in Kashmir is hard to predict. It is an indigenous and legitimate independence movement against Indian occupation troops who use brutal repressive tactics and mass punishments. Pakistan fully supports Kashmir’s right of self-determination. It is prudent if we leave the course of struggle to the Pakistani government. It’s time to trust them and a time of constructive criticism. We need new solutions while we need economy and defense to progress at full throttle. New alliances would be made and new strategies and counter strategies would be deployed. Let’s all pray that rationality and peace prevail in the end.