Kashmir Solidarity Day


WEB DESK: Like the years before, this year too, February 5 was observed in Pakistan as the Kashmir Day to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people’s struggle for independence from Indian rule. Massive public rallies taken out all over the country to mark the day underscored Pakistan’s moral and political commitment to the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Notably, Kashmir Day was first observed in 1990 in the wake of an uprising in the Indian-held Kashmir. Relations between Pakistan and India since have seen several ups and downs.

Pakistan was accused of fuelling the uprising by providing all sorts of help to the fighters, leading to an eyeball to eyeball confrontation between the two countries militaries in 2002. Later in 2004, the then president, General Pervez Musharraf, gave an assurance, in a joint statement, to the visiting Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that “he will not permit any territory under Pakistan’s control to be used for terrorism in any manner.” The two sides followed up with peace talks, nearing a resolution at Agra only to be disrupted by the hawks in Vajpaeey’s party.

All these years, nothing has stopped the Kashmiri people’s fight for freedom. The Indian security forces have killed an estimated over one hundred thousand Kashmiri youth and committed some of the worst atrocities, including the use of rape as a tool of war, demolition of houses, and custodial killings. Yet the struggle goes on.

Pakistan’s principled support for them is based on two important points: one that Kashmir is a part of the unfinished agenda of Partition. Second, and more importantly, two UN Security Council resolutions support the Kashmiri people’s right to decide their future through plebiscite. At the public level, the affinity has deeper roots due to the fact that a large number of Kashmiris have been settled in different parts of this country since pre-Independence days.

Which is why during the rebellion against the oppressive rule of Dogra Raja back in 1931 – that is, long before the birth of Pakistan – many of them went from these areas to join in. That history was repeated again following the Partition when a part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir – now Azad Kashmir and Gilgilt-Baltistan – was wrested back from India. Clearly, the Kashmir question is not merely a territorial dispute; it is about a people, and hence needs to be resolved according to their wishes.

Pakistan-India wars over the issue have not resolved anything. There is a realisation on this side that another conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours can only lead to mutual destruction. And that the only way forward is to find a negotiated settlement which is acceptable to the people involved. Hence it was a military ruler of Pakistan, General Musharraf, who offered to adopt a flexible stance, putting forward a four-point proposal that aimed at conceding to the Kashmiri people’s legitimate wishes without causing a major upset to Pakistan or India. That proposal, perhaps, needs to be revisited for the sake of peace and prosperity of all peoples living in this region.

Source: Business Recorder