Narendra Modi regime, in an arrogant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, pledges and promises made by Jawaharlal Nehru to the world, Kashmiri and Pakistani leaders, bilateral pacts and understandings, has revoked the article 370 and clause 35-A of the Indian Constitution bifurcating the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir into two halves – Jammu and Kashmir and Leha and Ladakh – declaring the latter as an Union territory under the direct control of New Delhi and annexing the former as a state of the Union of India with the induction of additional contingents to kill, maim and suppress the armless Kashmiris.
This move has been on the anvil since Mr. Narendra Mod assumed the leadership of Bhartia Junta Party. The BJP leadership could not carry it out in their first stint in power being short of numerical strength in the parliament to amend the Constitution. One of the highlights of Mr. Modi’s election campaign for a second term was to rid the country of the festering issue of Jammu and Kashmir by doing away with its ‘special status’ revoking the relevant article of the Indian Constitution. Mr. Amit Shah, the Co-chairman of BJP was working on this scheme, driven by his communal hatred against the Kashmiri Muslims.
His campaign, unfortunately, struck resonance with the voters already enthused by the unchecked Hindu nationalism or Hindutva which has rapidly turned India into a Hindu Rashtriya. This move would not have been so precipitous, had there been no progress in the Afghan peace process brightening the chances of Taliban to secure power, an apparent thaw in Pakistan’s estranged relations with the USA, and the offer of President Donald Trump for mediation in the Kashmir dispute. The internal compulsions for the move might have received a fillip from the growing intensity of the public revolt within Kashmir despite brazen killing, maiming and blinding of the demonstrators.
Regretfully, we are also culpably responsible for what has just taken place in the valley. We should have been on red alert from the day Narendra Modi came into power. We, as is our wont, remained complacent believing in the hollow gestures of this rabid communalist and felt exalted in socializing with him. The country remained without a full-fledged Foreign Minister for over four years. The Kashmir Committee headed by Moulana Fazal Ur Rehman for some two decades with the status, perks and privileges of a Federal Minister was good for nothing. We left no stone unturned in appeasing our 800-pound gorilla neighbour by toning down our speeches and statement making the barest minimum references to Kashmir dispute in the United Nations. In the early 1990s, one mid ranking diplomat working in our Permanent Mission in New York was sent home merely because he declined to share his speech with his counterpart from India in a sub-committee of the UN.
The Indian move has grave implications for peace and security in the region and for the world. The Indian mad action, as already stated, has repudiated all the UN Security Council resolutions on the UN-supervised plebiscite, and the Shimla Agreement that clearly stipulates in clause 4 (ii) that “in Jammu and Kashmir, the Line of Control resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1970 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this line”.
Keeping in view the grave security conditions within the valley, the situation could rapidly turn into a dangerous military conflagration bringing the two nuclear states to face each other eye ball to eye ball. Any war between the two nuclear states would spell disaster for the region and the world too. Because after declaring Jammu and Kashmir as part of the Indian Union, India, given its history of shifting goal posts, would cajole Pakistan to discuss the future of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Northern region of Gilgit and Baltistan. This will inevitably accelerate the tension between the two countries. The world leaders still have time to shun their strategic and economic expediencies to save this region from the impending destruction.
However, Pakistan should not have any delusion about a meaningful intervention by the Western world already preoccupied with the Afghan peace process, trade wars, tension in the Gulf region and Brexit. Pakistan should be prepared for any situation. What a cool and rational analysis suggests is that for the Indian leaders, the annexation of the Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Union is irrevocable. Nevertheless, this sinister act of altering the status of the territory would not impact the ongoing revolt in the valley against the Indian oppression going in a cyclical momentum of rising and ebbing as more Burhan Wanis emerge to lay their lives for the sake of their land and people.
In all probability, the act will galvanize the Kashmiri leaders on one-point agenda of freedom from India. The pro-India leaders including Omar Farooq Abdullah and Mahbooba Mufti have not minced words in condemning the constitutional coup against their land with the latter declaring that their elders’ opposition to the two-nation theory was a grave mistake. Thus, the movement for freedom would intensify. The Indian rulers realize this. That is why they have already turned the valley into a vast dungeon, arresting and incarcerating the Kashmiri leaders of all persuasions, imposing curfew and shutting the valley to the outside world.
India has already inducted 35,000 troops in the highly militarized Jammu and Kashmir. The violence would witness unprecedented levels in the coming days. After their failure to quell the revolt with bayonets, the Indians would have no shame in allowing their forces to push the Muslims in hundreds of thousands into Azad Jammu and Kashmir repeating the bloody history of the shifting populations, killings and plunders of 1947. We should have contingent plans to stem this mayhem or at least we should be prepared to receive and keep the displaced Kashmiri brethren in comfort. This is going to be the most grave and gigantic problem that would confront us in the coming months. This would be the litmus test of our nationhood.
The Foreign Office should come up with innovative political, diplomatic and legal plans to sensitize the world about the gravity of the situation stemming from the Indian move. India has been calling it as an internal readjustment. We have to expose this deception and deceit. All the available options of approaching the UN Security Council with the help of China and the USA, sending well-chosen envoys to all major countries, securing the support of the influential Muslim leaders, or knocking at the door of the International Court of Justice, should be exercised on war footing basis. We should also be prepared for any traditional military confrontation as Prime Minister Imran Khan stated in the Parliament on 6thAugust.
The new emerging situation has inevitably changed the Jammu and Kashmir problem from a dispute between India and Pakistan as implied by the bilateral agreements, pacts and declarations signed between the two countries into a question of the self-determination of over 10 million Kashmiris. Now, the Kashmiris are not bound by any pact or instrument of accession approved or signed by their elders with the secular India of Jawaharlal Nehru. The Modi regime has reversed the whole matter to the conditions surrounding the Jammu and Kashmir in 1947. They have become master of their destiny unbounded by any previous understanding. Similarly, this move has also unshackled Pakistan from any restriction compelling it to act within the bounds of the previous agreements and pacts as repeatedly evoked by the Indians. We need to review our stand on the Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the new situation. We shift the thrust of our diplomatic blitzkrieg towards the right of self-determination of the 10 million Kashmiris and the massive human rights violations.
The communal frenzy ignited by the BJP and brought to a crescendo by the Narendra Modi’s Rashtriya, is playing havoc with the lives, property, honour and dignity of the Muslims in the length and breadth of India. Muslims are being disgraced and dishonored, killed and maimed in the name of ‘gao mata Rakhsha’, and in a rising communal hatred. Too graphic videos are swirling on the social media showing brutal beating and killing of Muslims and dragging and disfiguring their corpses. This must be arousing anger and anguish in Pakistanis and tempting the more radical segments for violent retaliation in Jammu and Kashmir. We may beware of the repeat of Jihadi elements ruining the indigenous movement of the Kashmiris in the 1990s. The world is very sensitive to radical and militant Islam. We should take all preventive measures to stem the intrusion of militant Islamists from this side of the border into Jammu and Kashmir. They will certainly damage the struggle of their Kashmiri brethren.
We should not indulge in any bravado or sentimental sloganeering. This is a too serious situation to be treated with hollow harangues. Nations face daunting challenges, and dare muster all their collective wisdom, courage and resources to face the situation. We are hauled up for a long, cautious and vigilant approach, maybe another 10 years, to face the juggernaut of this communalist nationalism called Hindutva until a coalition of moderates, democrats, secularists and leftists emerges from the polity of India and confines Narendra Modi into the dustbin of history like Hitler, Mussolini and other fascists.
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