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August 31, 2019

Action for Kashmir


August 31, 2019

Has the world finally woken up to the protest situation in Kashmir, the continued lockdown, the human rights abuses, the rape of women over the past years and the sheer horror that the Kashmiri people have lived through since the uprising in the disputed territory began? The international media has indeed shown it has a conscience; a conscience that is far more honest and far truer than that of the Indian media which has mostly – with some honourable exceptions, of course – toed the line of its government and screamed out slogans insisting that all is well in the valley. This is clearly not true. The latest media reports in the international press from Kashmir speak of fathers desperately trying to reach sons based outside the valley and other relatives attempting to get in touch with each other and discover the true situation in a part of the world that has effectively been blocked off our screens. It is hard to believe that even in this day and age, such action is possible. Twitter, the regional headquarters of which are based in India, has helped by removing tweets which speak of the role of Indian security personnel or the terror of Kashmiris living there. Fortunately, international television channels including the BBC, Al Jazeera and publications across the world are delving deep both into the history of Kashmir and into what is happening there now.

In this context, Pakistan’s symbolic stand, from 12 to 12:30pm yesterday, was meant to draw attention to the issue. In our country, the long forgotten flag of Azad Kashmir has been rediscovered and a new generation acquainted with the cause of the Kashmiri people. It is unfortunate that in India – which terms itself the largest democracy on earth and a secular nation – the plight of Kashmir has been quashed. It appears the pretence that all is well in that troubled mountainous region has convinced quite a few Indians. However, there have been voices of dissent coming out of India, and some signs that these may grow.

The most important thing at the present time is to sustain the Kashmir issue in the eyes of the international world, until the UN can meet again to discuss the issue. This should happen in a few weeks time. Pakistan must continue its campaign and encourage the international media to do the same. The sheer professionalism of journalism has already led it to take up the cause. The situation inside Kashmir is already too brutal for the international world to completely ignore. This may be enough to move the world and create the recognition that Pakistan and India will not be able to talk bilaterally on the issue at the present moment and will need outside arbitration or support.

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