Kashmir’s Possible Solutions

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Umm-E-Rubab Bukhari

 

Both India and Pakistan are developing nations with challenges like terrorism, drugs wars, illegal trade and foreign pressures. Kashmiris want peace in both countries and wish for them to develop a strategy to solve the Kashmir issue. Dialogue, discussion and diplomacy are the best means to resolve issues amicably. War is not an option as both countries are nuclear powers.

 

Prior to the introduction of the bill and the revocation of the state’s special status, the central government locked down the Kashmir valley, with a surge in security forces, imposition of Section 144 preventing assembly, and placing political leaders under house arrest. The State had been first under Governor’s rule and then under President’s rule since 20 June 2018, after the coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti lost support from the Bharatiya Janta Party. 35,000 paramilitary troops were deployed to Indian-administered Kashmir, prior to which a warning was issued to annual Hindu pilgrims and tourists citing a terror threat and imminent attacks by militants.

 

The imposing of restrictions included the blocking of internet and phone services. Politicians, such as former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were put under house arrest. The moves were followed by the revocation of the state’s special status without the consent of the state legislature, which had ceased to exist owing to President’s rule in the state. Many of the Kashmiris who are affected by that decision are under a communication blackout imposed by the ongoing security lockdown.

 

China, which shares a disputed border with India in Ladakh, has objected to the reorganisation and accused Delhi of undermining its territorial sovereignty. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to challenge India’s actions at the UN Security Council, and take the matter to the International Criminal Court. In an ominous warning, he said: If the world does not act today… (if) the developed world does not uphold its own laws, then things will go to a place that we will not be responsible for.

 

But Delhi insists that there is no “external implication to its decision to reorganise the state as it has not changed the Line of Control or boundaries of the region. US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate in the crisis – an overture that Delhi has rejected. The idea of handing over Kashmir in UN Trusteeship for a certain period and on the basis of the consensus arrived at by the Kashmiris through plebiscite. Joint Control of Kashmiris is exercised by India and Pakistan.

 

The LoC can be turned into a soft-line with free movement of Kashmiris for trade. Keeping in view the past track record of Indian interventions in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal, this option again has little chance of success. The United Nations should conduct a polygonal dialogue with the US, China, India, Pakistan and Kashmir. South Asia today stands on the precipice of a nuclear catastrophe. Let the international community assert its will through the UN to find a lasting solution to the dispute.

 

Kashmir is an unresolved issue and the existence of UN observers at LoC verifies this claim. India hence should accept this reality instead of trying to make it look ambiguous by raising petty issues. The nature of dispute should be made very clear. While India calls it a territorial issue, to Pakistan it’s a humanitarian issue where the population of 1.3 crore is being denied the right of their self-determination.

 

The entire freedom struggle in Indian-occupied Kashmir is indigenous with their 5th generation now fighting the war. Pakistan on the other hand is also an un-detachable party to the dispute. After the passing of resolution, the UN now is also a party to the issue; and even without the resolution, it is its job to resolve such disputes, and the continued human rights violations in Indian held Kashmir must be addressed as a matter of priority.

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