Friday June 21, 2024

International focus on Kashmir issue

By Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
August 07, 2019

The Indian government has miserably failed to protect its minorities on the whole while the situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir is becoming graver day by day. Now the Modi government in its second term has ended the special status of the held valley where its troops battle the Indian armed forces. It is trying to integrate the disputed state into the Indian Union, something not acceptable either to the people of the valley or Pakistan, a party to the dispute. In this regard, the Indian government is making attempts to change the demography of the valley by bringing in non-Muslim retired army men and other law enforcement agency personnel. This is being carried out in violation of laws that prohibit naturalization of non-indigenous settlers in the disputed valley. Also the BJP and the RSS are busy in changing the religious identity of the state. For example, special concessions were given to expand the horizon of Amarnath Yatra to project that Hindus have greater stakes in the IOK than Muslims.

Also, for demographic re-engineering in the state, the so-called West Pakistan Refugees are being recruited in Indian armed forces from the IOK quota. Allocation of lands for separate cities for repatriating the Hindu Pundits and allocation of Rs2 million for rehabilitation of each Pundit family in the valley are aimed at creating Hindu constituencies in a thorough Muslim region of the Valley through delimitation. The legal protection to the Indian troops in the guise of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has continued over the years, allowing the Indian forces to deal with the Kashmiris cruelly, something strongly and repeatedly criticized by international human rights groups.

As it is, the held Kashmir remains an international issue. President Trump renewed his offer to mediate on the issue and said he was ready to assist if the two countries wanted him to. He initially made the offer during a recent meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington. Pakistan welcomed the offer but India, as expected, rejected it. Later, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met his US counterpart Mike Pompeo and, in a tweet following the meeting, said he reiterated that India would only speak to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. “Have conveyed to American counterpart this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Trump’s offer to mediate has sent shockwaves through the Indian foreign policy establishment, which is disturbed on the new development. The Indian media has labeled Trump a liar, prompting a top Trump adviser Kudlow to say “the president doesn’t make things up.” There has been no direct denial from Modi that he had asked Trump to mediate.

One must remember that it was India that first took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations and even agreed to the UN Security Council resolution on holding a plebiscite in Kashmir, which was never done. India and Pakistan both agree that the Kashmir issue is the root cause of instability and hostility in South Asia.

After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s highly successful visit to Washington, China and Turkey also supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Both the countries said that Kashmir is a longstanding dispute in this region and should be resolved at priority. China especially backed US President Donald Trump’s recent offer of mediation between Pakistan and India in the Kashmir issue. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement that “We support the international community, the US included, in playing a constructive role in improving Pakistan-India relations through dialogue”. She further said that Pakistan and India can peacefully settle the Kashmir issue and other bilateral disputes through dialogue, and make concerted efforts to safeguard peace and stability in South Asia.

Similarly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also telephoned Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the bilateral ties as well as developments in the region, including the Indian occupied Kashmir and ongoing efforts for Afghan peace. President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan has thanked Turkey for support to Jammu and Kashmir dispute, especially for its strong, consistent and steadfast support to the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Turkey has always extended its invaluable diplomatic support to the Kashmiris at all the international forums, especially in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The support by China and Turkey is seen as another diplomatic victory for Pakistan.

Member of British Parliament from Labour Party, Jaise Philips, has also welcomed the US President Donald Trump's repeated offers of mediation and described Trump's offer of arbitration as timely in the current regional and international situation. Philips, on a visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in a statement in Muzzaffarabad urged his country, especially the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to perform his due role for the settlement of Kashmir issue, as it was chiefly created by Britain and, therefore, “it is London's moral and diplomatic responsibility to ensure its early durable and permanent settlement.” Jaise Philips also said India must stop the reign of human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the Modi government, which has failed to read the situation, still blames Pakistan for the crisis that is getting graver by the day. The excessive force used by the Indian government against unarmed protesters has shamed the world’s so-called largest democracy. The developments in the valley show the simmering and blatant hatred towards the brutal Indian rule.