April 22, 2024

Column | The Kashmir Quagmire by Sibghat Ullah

Moving towards Pakistan, the incumbent Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI) government has severely lacked in formulating any effective policy on Kashmir dispute.

On 5th August 2019, India revoked article 370 and 35-A from their constitution, thus ending the special status that was granted to the state of Jammu and Kashmir(JK). The unconstitutional and oppressive occupation by the Indian state received a special impetus after the unilateral decision of annexing the JK with Indian Union.

Afterwards, more armed troops were deployed to suppress and weaken the resistance movement in Kashmir Valley. The controversial domicile law and altering the demographic factors were recent developments that the Indian state incorporated in the former state of JK.

Moreover, the resistance leadership was either incarcerated or was put under house arrest. Many of the activists were booked under the Public Safety Act(PSA). The leading militant commanders like Riyaz Naikoo and Zakir Musa were also killed by the occupaying forces. As the Kashmir Valley remains in the state of distress, the iron curtain dropped on the state of JK on 5th August remains dominant.

Moving towards Pakistan, the incumbent Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI) government has severely lacked in formulating any effective policy on Kashmir dispute. Though Foreign Office claims that through effective diplomacy, Pakistan has outplayed India on an international level, but the irony is that India got 184 votes in order to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations.

The opposition parties in Pakistan on numerous occasions pointed the fallacies associated with the PTI government on Kashmir problem, but the government remained unmoved. Instead, the Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to stand for 30 minutes before Jumah prayers, inorder to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people . This posture depicts the seriousness this government has with the Kashmir issue.

As the Indian Administrated Kashmir was under the situation of lockdown and curfew, a whole lot was expected from the Muzaffarabad government installed in Pakistan Administrated part of Kashmir. Prime Minister of Pakistan Administrated Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider, on numerous occasions, advised Pakistan government to allow the representatives of Kashmir in order to plead their case in front of the international community but the government of Pakistan pay no heed to his recommendations.

Farooq Haider also reiterated his stance of providing the government of Pakistan Administrated Kashmir with observer status in International Organizations and providing an International legitimacy to the government, but here again, the response from the Pakistan government was not welcoming.

As far as the people of Pakistan Administrated Kashmir are concerned, they took to streets in rallies of thousands, showing solidarity with the fellow countrymen, but here again the pro-freedom parties were badly divided, as they were unable to formulate an effective strategy on the concerned problem.

It is ironic to see that Syed Ali Shah Geelani has also parted ways with the Hurriyat Conference faction, thus weakening the pro-freedom camp in Kashmir Valley. The Joint Resistance Leadership is no more in picture and it’s influencial leader, Yasin Malik, has been incarcerated in Tahar Jail, Delhi.

In such critical times, the people on both sides of JK will have to formulate a joint strategy in order to attain their dream of freedom. The splinter groups and the religious extremist factions on both sides of Line of Control (LOC) have severly undermined the struggle of the people.

The people of this particular conflict zone should understand that through moral, diplomatic and political support from any country, the freedom of a nation can never be attained. Freedom struggle requires valour, dedication and effective strategies through which the adversaries are outplayed at the end.

The people of JK over the past 72 years have faced a whole lot of hardships in order to achieve their political cause of freedom. The time has come that the people on both sides of LOC should understand the real dimensions of resistance politics which is largely concerned towards ideologies and policies instead of self-vested interests and personalities.


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