India has not lifted the curfew even after 60 days from Held Kashmir. It did not stop human rights violations nor withdrew restrictions on media or allowed internet facilities to the people. Yet the world is silent and not doing much in this regard.
Indian government is not ready to revisit its controversial decision regarding changing the status of Indian held Jammu and Kashmir nor Indian Supreme Court looks in a hurry in this connection. What are the possible reasons behind India’s rigid stance at the cost of living human tragedy and where we will go now from here?
There are three main reasons apparently behind India’s ‘stubbornness’ and ignoring internal and external concerns from international human rights and media organisations.
One, the world’s silence or little concern over the happenings in Held Kashmir, second, its huge market and investment opportunities, which even the Muslims and Arab world were attracted too, and third and most important, the changing political narrative of world’s biggest democracy; from secularism to Hindutva.
The rise of someone like Narendra Modi as a popular leader reflects the decline in the Indian politics, which not only changed its political landscape but also the Indian society, which once use to be very open and liberal.
The worst came with the mainstream private TV channels, some of which now set the agenda and mostly create anti-Pakistan hype. India’s traditional parties like Congress or Communist Party of India (CPI) or CPI (M), which in the past had rule India or some of the Indian states, have either become ‘hostage’ to such mindset and facing difficulties in changing public opinion or when given opportunity could not delivered while in power.
Today’s Indian politics of ‘hate’ suits BJP and Modi’s mindset and until and unless the world’s leading powers like United States in particular beside Russia, England, China or France, used their strong influence there is very little chance of any ‘breakthrough’ or flexibility in Indian stance.
US President Donald Trump has expressed its concern over the plight of Kashmir and twice offered mediation and later the US officially condemned the violation of human rights in Held Kashmir but the most important statement of the US is in regard to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first commitment that Pakistani soil would never be used for terrorism and offered UN to send its observers if anyone has any doubt or concern.
India in the post 9/11 used the ‘cross-border terrorism card’ and linked Kashmiris fight for the right of self-determination and resolution of the dispute through UN resolution to the global terrorism despite the fact that none of the Kashmiri fighters had ever been found involved in global terrorism or with groups like al-Qaeda, Daesh or Taliban.
India knows well that leadership of Hurriyat Conference, comprising leaders like Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik (all under detention since long) believe in resolving the issue through talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership.
India targeted two groups; Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as the one was allegedly involved in Held Kashmir. Pakistan had not only banned both but even other Jihadi outfits in January 2002.
Even prior to 9/11, in August 2001, Pakistan banned all sectarian outfits as well. After 2008, Pakistan launched massive operation against all terrorists and extremist groups and paid a heavy price with massive killings including the incidents like murders of around 100 children at Army Public School in Peshawar. In all, over 70,000 people had been killed including soldiers, officers, political leaders and clerics.
Terrorists attacked Pakistani leadership and all those political parties which supported the operation. Former premier Benazir Bhutto became the victim of terrorism and leaders like former president Pervez Musharraf, ex-prime minister Shaukat Aziz survived suicide attacks; some frontline leaders of ANP, MQM and PPP were also killed.
So by the time elections were held in 2018, and Imran Khan became the prime minister, Pakistan was almost free from terrorism and some of the outlawed groups were not even allowed to contest elections.
Therefore, when Prime Minister Imran Khan gave his commitment that Pakistani soil would never be used for terrorism and offer to United Nation to send its observers; if anyone still has any concern or doubt knows that ‘all is well’ despite some incidents.
Imran is right when he said since he assumed power as PM he wanted to resolve all outstanding disputes with India. Even his predecessor, former PM Nawaz Sharif even went to an extent in easing the tension that he faced criticism within for going to far in building ties with India. Former president Pervez Musharraf was almost close to sign an accord at Agra, but the move was sabotaged by hardline BJP leaders.
India knew it has a weak case on Kashmir and also knows as disclosed by one of the former Indian leaders that ‘India has lost Kashmir’ through policy of suppression and oppression.
Yet Modi and his hardline advisers were not ready to show any flexibility, simply because it clash with its political narrative based on Hindutva and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
There is no doubt that Prime Minister Imran Khan presented a good case of Kashmir and Islamophobia before the august house of UN, but the follow up is yet to come. One must analyse his week-long engagements in the US and not merely his UNGA speech. In one of his interviews and question regarding solution of Kashmir issue, he also went ahead to support the people of Kashmir in deciding their own fate under the UN resolution or even beyond that. While Imran throughout his talks in the US remained firm on his commitment to shake the world conscience on the plight of people of Kashmiris, he also showed flexibility on the way forward. But India is unmoved and not ready to talk or stop what it is doing at the moment in Held Kashmir.
Therefore, even if the UN gave its commitment to its concern over the allegation of cross-border terrorism, India under Modi would not show any flexibility simply because any lasting peace with Pakistan will hurt its political narrative of Hindutva based on anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan stance.
If party like BJP and leader like Narendra Modi voted to power for the second consecutive term for its ‘anti-Pakistan’ agenda, the hope for peace can just be a dream and this is not good news for peace.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the 70s succeeded in pursuing the Arab world to use oil as weapon and came out with a concept of the Muslim World and Third World. Today there is no Bhutto, Shah Faisal, Hafez al-Asad, Col Qaddafi or Yasir Arafat, who challenged the US-led imperialism.
So, answer to India’s rigidity and world’s silence is in the unity of the Muslim world and oppressed class. Can Imran do it at a time when these countries stand divided?
The writer is a senior columnist and analyst of Geo, The News and Jang.
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