Revocation of Article 370

Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, often referred to as paradise. However, it remains a contentious issue between Pakistan and India, having sparked more than two wars. Both nations possess nuclear weapons, which raises the specter of nuclear conflict. On August 5, 2019, India revoked Articles 370 and 35A of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. Article 370 granted Jammu and Kashmir special autonomy, including its own constitution and flag, with only defense, foreign affairs, and communications under central control. Additionally, Article 370 restricted non-locals from acquiring land or permanent residency in the territory. This revocation was celebrated by some as a victory but criticized both internally and externally. However, the criticism was not as extensive as expected due to the world’s silence, influenced by India’s strong economy, active diaspora, and effective diplomacy.

The international community has expressed concern over human rights violations in Kashmir. Indian security forces have been accused of excessive force, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, particularly during counterinsurgency operations. Internet outages and communication disruptions have restricted free expression and information access. Human rights organizations have condemned the use of pellet guns during protests, which have caused serious injuries and disabilities among civilians. The strong military presence has led to fears of harassment and intimidation. While India claims these measures are for security, calls for impartial investigations and human rights discussions persist both domestically and internationally.

When India revoked Article 370, many Muslim countries remained silent due to their political and economic interests embedded in Indian foreign policy. For instance:

United Arab Emirates (UAE): India’s main Middle Eastern trading partner, with bilateral trade in petroleum products, precious metals, diamonds, machinery, textiles, and agricultural items.

Saudi Arabia: Strong trade relations with India, primarily in oil, but also textiles, chemicals, plastics, and fertilizers.

Iran: Continued trade with India despite international sanctions, mainly in oil, rice, tea, and pharmaceuticals.

Indonesia: Trade in textiles, coal, palm oil, rubber, and other commodities, with efforts to improve bilateral commercial relations.

Pakistan should engage in effective diplomacy to highlight human rights violations in Kashmir and seek intervention from the United Nations Security Council to grant Kashmiris the right to self-determination. The UN should send peacekeeping troops to restore peace in the region. Pakistan should also balance its relations with emerging powers like China and other major superpowers. The United States has expressed a willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan, as evidenced by statements from the Trump administration. While China has been a long-time ally of Pakistan, it also raises concerns about territorial conflicts in Ladakh. Pakistan’s economic conditions are challenging, compounded by global geopolitical and strategic issues.

The Pakistani diaspora is a powerful force that can influence how the Indian government handles the Kashmir dispute. Diaspora members can promote diplomatic channels, emphasize resolving Kashmiri grievances, and advocate for long-term solutions to the conflict. They can raise awareness about human rights issues in Kashmir through public campaigns, social media activism, and local events. Diaspora organizations can participate in political lobbying to influence policies concerning Kashmir and collaborate with advocacy groups to hold India accountable for human rights abuses. By encouraging dialogue and understanding, the Pakistani diaspora can help create an environment conducive to conflict resolution and reconciliation in Kashmir.

Pakistani think tanks can also significantly impact the conversation and decision-making on the Kashmir dispute. Through thorough research and analysis, they can offer policymakers evidence-based conflict resolution strategies and insights into the conflict’s complexities. Supporting Track Two diplomacy programs, these think tanks can foster informal discussions and build mutual confidence between stakeholders in Pakistan and India. By amplifying Kashmiri voices in advocacy and public awareness campaigns, they can highlight human rights abuses and garner support for nonviolent conflict resolution. Pakistani think tanks have the potential to catalyze dialogue, reconciliation, and long-term peace in the region by leveraging their expertise, objectivity, and credibility.



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