IN the aftermath of Indian government’s unilateral and unlawful act of stripping the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir, the occupied valley has been virtually turned into a prison, as India has stationed 900,000 troops and has taken the entire population hostage. All communications sources have been cut to keep the world in dark regarding the state barbarism, unabated human right violations and rising atrocities in IOK.
However, the Kashmir crisis needs to be handled with sagacity, firmness and far-sightedness, as warmongers in India would love to trap Pakistan in a heated exchange of rhetoric that can spiral into actual hostilities. Pakistan leadership demonstrated great maturity, wisdom and farsightedness so far that instead of opting to find out a military option to deal with the threat emerging from India, preferred “political, diplomatic and legal” alternatives to resolve the issue.
Kashmir is internationally recognised as a disputed territory; therefore India’s move to ‘localise’ the issue through amending its constitution should fool no one, as the claim is wrong from a historical, legal and moral perspective. Indian cannot change this internationally accepted disputed area as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolution nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and of Pakistan, because the steps taken by India are in violation of international law as well as United Nation resolutions.
It has also repudiated the pledge former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru made that “the future of Kashmir is going to be decided finally by the goodwill and pleasure of her people.
Pakistan, so far, played its cards quite artistically and wisely, as the Prime Minister Imran Khan mobilized the diplomatic channels without wasting any time and approached the friendly countries to garner their support on the situation arising out of the Indian’s unilateral move.
The decisions taken in a meeting of the National Security Committee chaired by the prime minister and attended by the military top brass are remarkable wherein it was decided that Pakistan would downgrade diplomatic relations with India, suspend bilateral trade and take the matter to the UN, besides expelling Indian High Commissioner. These are vital steps that send a strong message across the border that Pakistan does not take India’s unconstitutional steps in the occupied territory lightly.
Suspension of the Samjhota Express train service between Pakistan and India is a good decision; however, Pakistan must activate the OIC forum to do something tangible and practical for Kashmir issue instead of insipid statements in support of Kashmir. Pakistan must mount a strong diplomatic offensive and take its message to world capitals to apprise them of the Indian tactics, such as ethnic cleansing and plans to change demography of occupied Kashmir, as so far some Arab brothers’ response are not satisfactory.
India always escalated tensions to avoid talks to resolve the issues between the two countries, while Pakistan always welcomes any initiative by any countries and forums for talks between Pakistan and India to resolve the long-standing disputes once and for all. However, Pakistan must shun the mantra that India could stage ‘Pulwama’ like drama to divert the world’s attention from the oppression in Kashmir rather should put on high alert all forces to meet with any eventuality to give a strong message to India that even we are ready to give a befitting repose in case war imposes on us.
Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions on India could affect hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines. When Pakistan closed its airspace for Indian flights during February 7 to July 3, national carrier of India had lost Rs491 crore, while private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore, respectively. Therefore, Pakistan should instantly close its airspace for Indian flights as the move could build considerable pressure on the nuclear-armed country to agree for resolving all outstanding disputes between the two arch rival countries through negotiation and parlays.
By Amna Malik