Kashmir Solidarity Day: A Call for Action

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The people of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the divisive ‘Line of Control’ will observe the right to self-determination day on January 5, 2022, in a bid to remind the UN Security Council of its long-standing obligation to implement its resolution of 5th January 1949. This resolution was passed by the UNSC supporting the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future by themselves through UN-sponsored plebiscite.

For sure there will be rallies, seminars, conferences, and protests highlighting the mounting human rights violations in what is now referred to as the largest human prison on earth and as usual, the international community and human rights organizations will pay lip service to the cause of Kashmir freedom struggle but it is very unlikely to prevent India from its grave human rights violations. In this context, India’s belligerent attitude towards Pakistan and its hawkish policies in the South Asian region only undermine the existing mechanism for dialogue on Kashmir. On the contrary, Pakistan has always demanded immediate redressal of the lingering Kashmir issue, the raison d’etre of its conflict with India, and the cause of many other regional traditional and non-traditional human security issues

Yet even after 74 years of the bloody partition of the sub-continent in 1947, the people of Kashmir are kept divided and their political status undecided with no immediate solution in sight and hope of any breakthrough on the issue in the foreseeable future. Worst enough, the Kashmir issue is complicated by conflicting narratives and positions adopted by Pakistan and India. The two South Asian nuclear powers are locked in this protracted dispute and have fought wars making the region a nuclear flashpoint. The frequent skirmishes on the border and India’s unilateral decision in violation of relevant UN resolutions and international human rights regime necessitate immediate global attention

Indeed, there is no denying the fact that Pakistan has always sought international mediation and facilitation to address the Kashmir issue in line with relevant UN resolutions. But the issue remains unaddressed partly due to parochial national interests and economic considerations of states in a capitalist economic system.  As a result, the potential arbiters of Kashmir including the UN and the five veto powers are deeply divided and unable to reach a consensus about developing a framework or implementing the existing UN resolutions to resolve the longest-standing international conflict which threatens to engulf the entire globe.

This may sound quite pessimistic but recent incidents and continuing military skirmishes along the border provide no hope of normalization necessitating concerted global efforts for peace and resolution of disputes including Kashmir. It is not enough to simply enough to condemn India for its atrocities in Kashmir and against Muslims all across India instead India must be is held accountable for its human rights violations. In this regard, India’s unilateral decision to rip Kashmir of its special status under Article 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution is a recent example at hand which requires international attention and necessitates that Pakistan revisits the efficacy of its own policy towards the Kashmir dispute.

As a party to the Kashmir issue, Pakistan will continue to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir and assure them of its unwavering moral, political, and diplomatic support in their freedom struggle. In addition, it will urge the international community to take up the issue at multilateral forums. Yet despite these sincere efforts towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, the country finds itself locked in a perpetual conflict with its much larger belligerent neighbor India which is on a killing spree in the disputed Kashmir. Thus, it is advisable that Pakistan revisits its Kashmir strategy and sensitize the regional and global forums like the OIC, the UN, and relevant stakeholders like China, and the US about the need to permanently settle the Kashmir issue.

On the other hand, the need for the international community to its voice and recommit the UN to implement its relevant resolutions cannot be overstressed. Although, India is very unlikely to budge as it has chosen to respond to the criticism by telling the critics to stop commenting on its “internal issue”.  This cannot be far from reality given the fact that the unresolved Kashmir dispute is a nuclear threat flashpoint between Pakistan and India that can engulf the whole world.

Thus, to honor the freedom struggle of Kashmiris and to defend their right to self-determination, we must call for the implementation of January 5, 1949, that provides the base for settlement of the Kashmir dispute while India’s intransigent attitude had been an impediment to the settlement of the Kashmir dispute. It is unfortunate that the UN has failed to implement its resolutions, resulting in the continued suffering of the Kashmiri people.

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