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November 18, 2019

‘US, Israel want India as policeman in region’


November 18, 2019

LAHORE: Former Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani has said that in the wake of US interest in the region a new nexus comprising Tel Aviv, Washington and New Delhi is emerging with United States wanting India to become a policeman of the region.

Speaking at a session “Lahoo Ka Suragh—Kashmir” in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 on the concluding day of Faiz Festival at Alhamra, he said the world’s silence over Kashmir annexation had not just exposed United Nations as a redundant institution but also exposed double standards of the Western world and the Muslim Ummah.

The other speakers included Pakistan’s former High Commissioner in India Shahid Malik and artist, teacher and activist Prof Salima Hashmi while Ali Dayan Hassan moderated the session.

About the non-realisation of the possible abrogation of Article 370, PPP stalwart Raza Rabbani said we were too busy with non-issues within the country that we did not see real issues of the country and that of the region. “Let me be the first person to take the blame,” he said and added parliament was not playing its role and it had become as redundant and irrelevant as other institutions of the country.

Raza Rabbani said Article 370 had not just impact on Kashmir but had a far-reaching impact. Kashmir was not the only state which enjoyed special status as under Article 370 as there were a number of states that enjoyed the special status. He added India had a tremendous diversity and had a very volatile history of Nagaland and people taking up arms.

“So with this happening in India and with the concept of Hindutva taking birth and trying to spread its tentacles all around eating away Indian democratic institutions and the secularism which held India together,” he said while questioning “What if a process of unraveling begins in India?” He continued with the answer saying “If a process of unraveling begins in India then surely those countries within the region can also fall prey,” and added “Given the internal and external factors that we have in our own country we have to be very careful.” Senator Raza Rabbani said Kashmiris should not rely on the international community.

“Indigenous struggle must pick up and must go on,” he said while referring to Palestine’s struggle for independence. He said there was a need to internationalise the brutality and aggression of Indian armed forces on innocent Kashmiris as the Palestinians were informing the world about Israeli brutality through seminars and exhibitions world over.

The PPP senator said bubble of Muslim Ummah had also busted as besides some time clocks counting lockdown in Kashmir after its annexation no reaction came out from most of the Muslim countries. On contrary to that Pakistan always reacted whenever something happened in other Muslim country. Shahid Malik said Pakistan needed to draft a comprehensive foreign policy about India in the post-Article 370 scenario and approach international friends. He said Pakistani diaspora abroad who had influence on the local senators and congressmen should be more active and similarly Kashmiri diaspora abroad should exercise their influence and sensitise local parliamentarians about the Kashmir issue.

To a question Shahid Malik, who enjoyed two postings in India, said Article 370 did not happen all of a sudden as it had been part of the BJP manifesto and it seemed Modi waited for the right time to strike as our internal cohesion was not the same. Underscoring the need of introspection, he said a speech was made before a policy was formulated.

Talking about the lack of response of the Muslim countries over the Kashmir annexation, Shahid Malik said he wasn’t surprised at all. To explain further he said the demolition of the Babri Mosque took place during his first posting in India in 1992 and when he approached diplomats of Muslim countries in India for a joint resolution only two countries came forward. The former ambassador also talked about Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s deep rooted connection with Kashmir and his poetry which highlighted the message of hope for the people of Kashmir.

Faiz's daughter Salima Hashmi talked about Kashmiri writers, poets and artists and their efforts to highlight the plight of people of Kashmir and their struggle and sacrifices for independence. She also talked about “Blood Leaves Its Trail”—a documentary on enforced disappearances in Kashmir by Iffat Fatima, an independent filmmaker from Kashmir.

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