We owe it to Kashmir

School and college girls have come out risking their lives in Indian-held Kashmir, throwing stones at the armed occupation forces. Courageous as they are, the protesting students are unlikely to move the world to action. When it comes to Kashmir, the so-called international community has slept over much worse for decades. Pakistan must slap the world out of its blood-soaked slumber now.

Clearly, Kashmir is very important for us and not only for idealistic, historical and emotional reasons. Even when seen through the prism of cold-blooded pragmatism, its importance for our national security and regional stability is obvious. At a time when we should be devising a proactive strategy to support the growing movement for azadi in Kashmir, Nawaz Sharif would rather follow the imperial script like a good boy and not rock India’s boat too hard.

Despite the upheaval in Kashmir, his government has come up with little more than hollow rhetoric and routine rounds of patchy diplomacy without clear goals or direction. At a time when the anti-occupation resistance in Indian-held Kashmir is becoming a mass movement, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is still the chairman of our parliament’s special committee on Kashmir; forever snoring in his ceremonious chair as if Kashmir didn’t matter at all.

As it is, those who lord over our world are not interested in resolving the Kashmir dispute just yet, even as Modi intensifies state-terrorism there. To quell the widespread anti-India uprising, his government is collaborating closely with Israel to introduce more sophisticated tools and techniques of genocidal repression. Every day the Indian occupation of Kashmir becomes more barbaric but the world sleeps soundly. We see Pakistani flags cropping up all over Indian-occupied Kashmir.

It’s not a matter of humanitarian principles alone. After all, we are a party to the Kashmir dispute. Lest we forget, the UNSC resolution that recognises the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination, gives them the option to join Pakistan or India in a plebiscite held under the UN auspices. It is our responsibility to protect the besieged people of Kashmir. It is also our right. We don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch India get away with murder.

In fact, our policy on Kashmir must move beyond diplomatic initiatives aimed at stirring up the dead conscience of a power-drunk world. Does our government really think that Trump would bring India around to resolving the dispute? Or that an OIC resolution would do the trick? Of course, we need to polish up our diplomacy on Kashmir and bring focus to it. But certainly, we need more than just diplomacy.

In a fair world ruled by international law, the people of Kashmir would have freely decided about their future in a plebiscite held under the UN auspices a long time ago. But, the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir have been dangling in the air for nearly 70 years, with no sign that they are any closer to being implemented. India has backed out of its UN commitments on Kashmir and says that it is a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India. It doesn’t end here.

On one pretext or another, successive Indian governments have refused to hold a meaningful bilateral dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir. India would like to portray the popular uprising in Kashmir as cross-border terrorism from Pakistan. That’s all there is to discuss with Pakistan on Kashmir, it says. It claims not only occupied Kashmir but also Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan as its integral part, the UN plebiscite be damned.

As the US-India nexus grows stronger, the chances of a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people will only get slimmer. As the demands of azadi get louder, the Indian occupation would only get more brutal. Simultaneously, the nexus would use the US occupation of Afghanistan to spawn proxy terrorists and launch them into Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to disrupt regional integration led by China and Russia.

So what would take the US and India to back off from their violent plans? Do they care about international law or morality? Are they swayed by diplomacy? Don’t they hide behind such lofty concepts to advance their hegemonic agendas? One only has to look around and see what the US and its allies-cum-vassals are up to in various corners of the world. Would they start behaving if we say please? I don’t think so.

India routinely accuses Pakistan of arming and training Kashmiri freedom fighters and the US has started accusing Russia of arming the Taliban which is a blanket name used to describe any group opposed to foreign occupation of Afghanistan. I hope that Russia and Pakistan take the cue and start doing what they are being accused of. The hegemons feel that only they have the right to play such dirty games. It is time to pay them back in the same coin. There’s no other way.

If India could arm proxies against Pakistan, why is it taboo for us to arm Kashmiris fighting for their freedom? In a world bloodied by US-armed proxies, what’s wrong with Russia arming Afghans fighting foreign occupation? Given India’s provocative romance with the Dalai Lama, shouldn’t China support the groups fighting Indian repression in its north-east? In a world at war with no holds barred, why must only the good guys follow all the rules?

This will not add to the chaos unleashed in our region by the US-India nexus but contain it. We must act to change the situation on the ground to bring the unilateralist hegemons to their senses and, hopefully, to the negotiating table. Wishy washy diplomacy and balancing acts won’t help us win the war being waged against us. We must act with clarity about who our partners are and in close coordination with them, not only in the realm of diplomacy but on the ground as well.

This is not only about principles. Winning the war for Pakistan is inextricably linked to the liberation of Afghanistan and Kashmir. The good news is that the geopolitical wheel is turning rapidly to favour us.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be contacted at hazirjalees@hotmail.com

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt