Recent assertions of the former head of RAW came as no surprise. There is no doubt that India has been discomfited in Kashmir, as Hurriyat is unified and the Kashmiri youth is more determined than ever today. What should boggle the mind, however, is the rationale that while ex-RAW chief A S Dulat regards the current state of affairs in Kashmir “scarier” and “hopeless”, he didn’t cite the use of pellet guns, violation of the Geneva conventions by sniping ambulances and scores of other heinous humanitarian infringements by the Indian forces.
Ironically, the situation is uncontrollable because ‘young Kashmiri minds have become out of control’ and India can’t manipulate them any longer. To put Indian mentality in further context, one can also refer to Yashwant Sinha’s report wherein he knew the causes of 2nd intifada but on limited yardsticks, which mostly favoured India. Nevertheless, the bright side is: Indian hawks are now also in favour of a dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir without any preconditions, as stipulated in the Simla Agreement.
What India is slowly realising is that dialogue offers a better solution — something that Pakistan has been lobbying for the last 25 years. During this period, Pakistan successfully internationalised the Kashmir dispute. It allowed as well as facilitated the local and international press, including Indian media, to cover the ongoing condition on the LoC. In a similar manner, Pakistan also placed the Kashmir dispute before a number of international organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the UNHCR.
In addition to on-ground efforts, Pakistan has also been sending versatile delegations, consisting of parliamentarians, thinkers, analysts and journalists to the international community. Islamabad has been of the opinion that it was India’s national leadership of that time that took the case of Kashmir to the UN under Article 35 of its Charter on January 1st, 1948. Later on, the Simla Agreement, the Lahore Declaration, Agra Summit and the peace process following the 12th Saarc Summit, all bear Pakistan’s and India’s struggle to initiate a bilateral discussion on the issue, reiterating the need for resolving the Kashmir issue time and again. The same should have been carried on until a resolution was found.
India has tried to militarily subdue and throttle the aspirations of Kashmiris. But the only way forward to quench the thirst of Kashmiris’ self-determination right is through dialogue. And a Pakistani dove has a solution for it. In this regard, a collaborative approach can be utilised to manage the Kashmir dispute. Dr Syed Shahid Hussain Bukhari in his article, “Managing Kashmir Conflict: A Collaborative Approach” says that in order to operationalise the collaborative approach, the foremost step is the recognition of the Kashmir dispute as a mutual trouble by India.
It has been India’s persistent stubbornness that had been depriving Kashmiris of socioeconomic development. What could help is the establishment of a loose confederation of Jammu and Kashmir territories with maximum possible decentralisation. Such a central government should be managed by the Council of Common Interests of both countries, with Kashmiri representatives from both sides as an essential element.
Another important initiative should be the revival of people-to- people contact. Both sides could use the biometric verification system to avoid any untoward incidents. This would resurrect the hopes of self-determination of Kashmiri youth who are unafraid to die in their struggle against India’s brutalities. And as Amit Ray rightly said, “The formula of life is simple. It is the formula of giving courage, attention, peace, love and comfort to yourself and the society. Non-violence…requires courage to love the beauty of life, beauty of humanity and the beauty of the world.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2017.