Less solidarity, more soul-searching is required to help the Kashmiri population
The Indian army occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Oct. 27, 1947, a day remembered in Pakistan as one of condemnation. After 70 years the condemnation and the accompanying self-approbation have become routine. The occupation has not only continued, but has become more heartless than ever under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in New Delhi. Pakistan fought many normal and asymmetric wars with India to get it to vacate a Muslim-majority area without challenging the idea of fighting India. The people of Kashmir who want to be independent are offering resistance as never before and the world media goes on carrying unprecedented evidence of the savagery of Indian troops killing and maiming unarmed men, women and children.
The world is no longer sensitive to the Kashmiris’ plight. The United Nation’s Security Council resolution that ordained plebiscite in Kashmir is no longer relevant because of the Simla Accord, which Pakistan signed after the defeat it suffered at the hands of India in 1971, consigning the Kashmir “dispute” to a bilateral slot. Pakistan’s unsuccessful “Kashmir” wars brought about changes within the state of Pakistan instead of changing the status of India-administered Kashmir. Pakistan’s embrace of asymmetric warfare alienated the international community that had earlier sided with Pakistan during the Cold War. Training nonstate warriors and allowing them to bear arms within Pakistan when not actually battling India triggered a power-sharing process that destabilized the state.
The asymmetric war resulted in a terror outreach that scared the world. Not only India but Iran, China and Russia were threatened; and Pakistan was found projecting terrorism into Europe when the Bosnia crisis broke out in Yugoslavia. In 2001, an Al Qaeda plot hatched by a Pakistani resulted in the 9/11 terror attacks in New York. Elected governments started being sensitive to the impotence inflicted on them by the adoption of asymmetry. However, textbook nationalism stood in the way of changing tack on Kashmir and frontloading normalization with India without giving up the cause of Kashmir. After the state found no internal consensus it split and rendered Pakistan permanently unstable. The entire world, including the “brotherly” Islamic states, looks the other way on Oct. 27 and reminds Pakistan of how dangerous it has become. Even China, the “all-seasons” friend joins India at a BRICS summit to put Pakistan on notice about the terrorist organizations it fields against India. Kashmir Day has become the day of self-rebuke rather than solidarity with the people of Kashmir.