Kashmir – A cornerstone of Indo-Pak Relations

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In the modern world, the serenity of the world is hijacked by some disputes including Kashmir conflict. It is the cornerstone of India-Pakistan dispute. Kashmir has three major ethnic areas: the Kashmir Valley (occupied by India) and the part now controlled by Pakistan, which is majority Muslim, Ladakh in the northwest, which is majority Buddhist; and Jammu (in the south), which is majority Hindu. The overall majority is Muslim. Disputed Kashmir comprises of 39,102 square miles, which is in under the hold of India. The capital city of this disputed area is Sri Nagar. And the remaining 25,000 miles are of independent Kashmir and the capital of this area is Muzaffarabad, which is stabilized and operated under the concentrated observations of the Pakistani government. The total population of Kashmir region is 10 million out of which 2.5 million Kashmiri people live in independent Kashmir and the remaining are strangled in Disputed Kashmir and are fighting for their independence.

When the two nation theory was accepted and a division formula was framed it was decided that all Muslim adjacent areas would form Pakistan. The states were to decide accession based on population demography. Jammu and Kashmir being Muslim majority were to come to Pakistan. However, disregarding public sentiment the Dogra ruler was forced to announce accession to India. The people of Kashmir had already started freedom struggle and liberated some part of Kashmir and northern areas. The Dogra ruler invited Indian army and recaptured the present areas of Kashmir. The issue was taken to the United Nations by India and a plebiscite was ordered in 1949. However, this plebiscite is still awaited. The last 70 years of freedom struggle have not liberated any areas. The Kashmir issue is simply this the people of a large territory which is not part of any existing sovereign state were assured by the entire international community represented by the United Nations that they would be enabled to decide their future by a free vote. Until now, this assurance has not been honored.

The reality is that no one wants to resolve Kashmir dispute. The issue is only discussed in hi-fi meetings. Western powers have a status quo in sub-continent in their favor. Divide and rule formula, keep them both busy fighting each other and then sell your weapons to both poor but hostile towards each other countries. India needs Pakistan as an enemy and the bogeyman for its national unity and integration. A solution of Kashmir Issue would mean the end of animosity with Pakistan that may lead to Balkanization of India. Separatist movements would get intensified. So they also need an enemy in the form of Pakistan. From the day first, the territory of Kashmir has become garrison place for both countries. We must learn from history, there is no military solution for the Kashmir issue.

Kashmir controversy is one of the major international concerns of the present time. The issue of Kashmir is a dilemma of humanity, human rights, and freedom which the world needs to recognize. The brutality of force being used against unarmed Kashmiris has crossed all limits. They had used pellet guns, a weapon no one has ever used for law-enforcement purposes. The atrocities on and oppression of the people of Indian administered Kashmir are being highlighted by international and local media of Pakistan. Kashmiri freedom fighters are fighting a freedom war against a nation far greater than themselves. It is an issue of life and death for millions of people. Kashmir solidarity day is being observed on 5 February to keep the struggle alive. Kashmiri people have a right to live in an independent state. They have a right to breathe freely. They need a state where they can live without any fears. They need a state where they can walk freely.

Kashmiri people are fighting for their legal rights. They have been fighting for their rights since 1947. The situation today is totally different. It is not the mainstream political parties of Kashmir but the people who have been in the forefront. This time, it was the spontaneous energy of a caged, enraged people that explored on Kashmir streets. It is youth that has come out on streets. Indeed, there has been a generational change in Kashmir. It is a youth-driven, social media mass movement. They are educated, determined and enthusiastic to achieve their birthright. Burhan Wani (Shaheed) never shot anyone but gave a brave voice to the youth-driven demand for self-determination that triggered the latest political revolt across the occupied state. The message of youth is loud and clear. They consider Indian forces as an occupation force. They have also made it clear that the Kashmir issue is not about governance or economic incentives. The youth of Kashmir are dying on streets, not asking for jobs. They want freedom.

The Kashmir Issue needs to be raised on all political & social platforms of the world. India and Pakistan must choose negotiation table. Both countries are spending a lot on the defense budget. It means that they are building their forces for future war not for driving out poverty from the region. A speedy solution to this dispute is beneficial to the security of the whole region. As much as this issue remains unsettled, it may result in nuclear war. We Pakistani always stand with Kashmir and we support Kashmir freedom movement because everyone has a right to live freely.

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has completed her M.Phil in Physics recently. She has a keen interest in writing on socio-political issues. She can be reached at [email protected]

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