Straight from the heart!
Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi
Since 1990, 5th February has been marked as Kashmir Solidarity Day by Kashmiris and Pakistanis all over the world. For many years, it had just become a ritual with a public holiday featuring some rallies and conferences on Kashmir with no practical steps for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Unfortunately different governments of the last two decades had put Kashmir on the back burner. Kashmir policy had been changing along with every new government that came into power.
Thankfully enough, there has been a resurge in activities regarding the solution of this dispute which is the biggest impediment to peace in the sub-continent. We see a new life in Pakistan’s previously frozen policy on Kashmir issue. This ‘movement’ can be seen on every level, from Pakistan’s government to Pakistan’s military to Pakistan’s foreign policy.
The passionate activism from a year-old, Youth Forum for Kashmir, a lobbying group consisting of youth from Pakistan, Kashmir and IOK, is also a very bright sign of things ahead. It is interesting phenomenon to watch the Kashmir Freedom struggle being transferred from the older generation to the youth. The means and ways to obtain freedom from an oppressor may have changed, but the zeal and fervour has not.
Besides renewing this interest in Kashmir dispute, the government of Pakistan should also take into account India’s efforts to change the demography of Indian Occupied Kashmir. It is an alarming state of affairs when India is trying to give Kashmiri nationality to the Hindus and Sikhs who migrated from West Pakistan to India at the time of partition of sub-continent. Instead of settling these migrants in India, the Indian government has taken a leaf out of Israel’s book and decided to settle these non-Muslims in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, just like Israel did in Palestine.
BJP strived hard to get majority in IOK so they could come in power and change the Special Status of Kashmir in Indian constitution. Fortunately BJP was unable to achieve majority in Kashmir valley and now has also been severely defeated in the latest elections in Delhi.
This aggressive stance of India, albeit a wrong one, on Kashmir issue needs a befitting reply from Pakistan at every front. It is in the greater interest of Kashmiris and Pakistanis that a pro-active policy regarding the solution of Kashmir dispute is made and implemented without any further delay.
It is high time that we counter India’s propaganda that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India. The international community should be made aware that this is an issue of human rights abuse and the World cannot and should not remain a silent spectator any more.
Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi