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Kashmir quagmire and dialogic approach.

Byline: Marria Qibtia S Nagra

VIOLENCE is an aberration that halts processes of peace, growth and chances of social and communal inclusivity. When nations engage in ferociousness as a state policy to influence a population, curb genuine dissent or contain calls for self-determination, the situation assumes a dangerously different dimension, repudiating the very humanity of its victims. It is such violence that eminently defines the Kashmir quagmire where the Kashmiri populace since the past seventy years continues to bear the brunt of Indian brutality for the expression of their basic right to self-determination, a right exigently accorded to every state but conveniently filched from the Kashmiris.

Back in the seventeenth century, on a visit to Kashmir, Mughal Emperor Jahangir had famously remarked 'If there is heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here'. However, as a dire repercussion to the draconian patterns of Indian violence in Kashmir, it ceases to be the paradise that it once was, standing as a cleaved land, dotted with cold-blooded episodes of flagrancy. Recent times manifest that the Indian forces policy of 'shooting to kill' has evidently morphed into the policy of shooting to encumber the Kashmiri population, essentially in the post-Burhan Wani era. Equaling the trajectory of killing, the coercive enervation of the Kashmiris is nothing but an attempt to stall their resistance.

Resort to inhuman laws like the Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows the arrest, illegal detention of the Kashmiris and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1990, particularly Section 7 of which grants virtual protection to the members of the Indian security forces from prosecution for human rights abuses in IOK are a clear violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the International Law. The lack of accountability of the members of the security forces, perpetuated by the disheartening fact that not one of them has been tried for prosecution in a civilian court for involvement in human rights violation is an expose of the panoptic contours of Indian violence in Kashmir. The Kashmiri law of land has also been a direct target of Indian power politics in Kashmir, with an attempt at altering the demographics of the region through a measured process. Be it the construction of residential areas for Hindu pundits in the Kashmir valley or the allocation of land to non-Kashmiris and retired Indian army officers, the sole aim appears to be to give an artificial rise to the Hindu population in Kashmir and to convert Muslim majority areas to minority ones to suit an India befitting plebiscite.

Such heartrending contours of the Kashmir issue are problematic on several fronts. By resorting to ferocity as a means of ensuring control, domination and subservience of the marginalized Kashmiri population, the Indian government, which holds itself to be the biggest democracy of the world, is simply sending across the contemptible message of a normalization of such exhibition of power by authoritarian states for satiating national egos and safeguarding national interests, which by all standards of human rights is detestable. Tahir Amin in his book Mass Resistance in Kashmir: Origins, Evolution and Options befittingly remarks that Indian position on Kashmir unveils the 'facade put on by the largest democracy in the world' and 'heirs to Gandhi's non-violence philosophy'. Flagrancy is also one of the prime reasons for the turbulent Indo-Pak relations, which recurrently cusp on the threat of a nuclear war between the two states over Kashmir. This can be estimated from the fact that in only the first twelve days of 2018 there were seventy LOC violations from the Indian end, followed by Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat's undiplomatic contention of 'stepping up the offensive'. Dialogue impregnated with hope and candor births peace. It needs to be understood that amity in Kashmir cannot be envisioned in the absence of a formal dialogic process. For this the exigency of a tripartite dialogic process between Pakistan, India and Kashmir mandates initiation for the resolution of the Kashmir crisis since any dialogue on Kashmir that disregards the concerns of the Kashmiri leadership would simply not be sustainable to the burgeoning of peace in the region.

Moreover, a resolution of the Kashmir quagmire essentializes the role of UN in the conduction of the much awaited plebiscite to decipher the leanings of the Kashmiri population. It is time that it moves beyond words of rhetoric and engages in meaningful practical dimensions of the conflict to restore the faith of people in an agency that truly advances peace and inclusivity, and is not simply a case of failures as Rwanda or Srebrenica. Lastly, International power politics on Kashmir that essentially verges on the contention of India being a counterweight to China, which stands as one of the fastest growing economies breeding insecurities in flailing Western economies, signifies the apathy of the global stakeholders that have conveniently turned a blind eye to the worst form of human rights abuses in Kashmir. Sanity demands that the world awakens to the plight of thousands of homeless Kashmiris experiencing the transmutation of their homeland from the heaven it once was to the Dantesque' hell it presents in contemporary times, after all the exigent demand for freedom and peace does not and should not mandate the perpetual condemnation of individuals or nations. Its evocation is but, a right sanctifying humanity itself.
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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 4, 2018
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