Kashmir, a conflict struck zone for over 70 years. Its people fighting one of the longest battles for self-determination and freedom. Its freedom fighters slaughtered and women raped by security forces. The torment and sorrow tolerated by the Kashmiri people was never felt nor heard by the international community.
Not so long ago the prime minister Imran khan visited the united states of America where he met with President Donald Trump who assured to provide a helping hand in the Kashmir issue and also agreed to work as a mediator between Pakistan and India to help resolve the long term agony suffered by the Kashmiri people over the past decades. But unfortunately, that offer is not on the table anymore. After India revoked Article 370 of their constitution followed by mass arrest of Kashmiri opposition leaders Trump never offered to rescue the disputed territory. India’s decision of revoking article 370 which gave Kashmir a special status and guaranteed special rights and privileges to the Muslim- majority state, including the rights to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters, except for defence, communication and foreign affairs created chaos and deep unrest in the region. Leaders come and go but matters still remain unresolved, questions unanswered and the miseries of the Kashmiri people still on the peak.
The international community has also remained silent for long ignoring the long sighs of the victims treated like animals by the Indian authorities. Militants are created, young souls are turned into jihadists in the name of Islam and freedom for Kashmir yet with no solution. Many insurgents group are engaged in a prolonged conflict supported and supplied by agencies of both the countries. The two countries Pakistan and India have fought three major wars upon Kashmir. In 1965 a brief war between Pakistan and India over Kashmir ends in a ceasefire and a return to the previous positions. In 1971 Indo-Pak war ends in defeat for Pakistan and leads to the 1972 Simla agreement. This turns the Kashmir ceasefire line, into the line of control and pledges both sides to settle their differences through negotiations. In 1999 both the countries go to war again after militants cross from Pakistan-administered Kashmir into the Indian-administered Kargil district.
The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has listed the revocation of article 370 in its election manifesto, and the dream of ‘integrating’ Kashmir has been a part of Hindu nationalism since 1947. Similarly, in Pakistan the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) government are making banners with the slogans of “Kashmir Banega Pakistan” (Kashmir will become Pakistan) these striking differences and the sense of possessiveness will lead towards catastrophic ends and the one who suffers will be the Kashmiri people once again. The annexation of Kashmir is the latest move by Modi administration, by bifurcating the region into two union territories. This move sets the scene for India’s inauguration of Israeli-style settler colonialism. For the first time in history, non-Kashmiris may be able to buy lands and property and become permanent residents of Kashmir. This move will increase crime rate in the region and hatred of right-wing extremist Hindu organizations such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other similar groups towards Muslims will increase by a double which will further escalate the conflict as Muslim majority jihadists groups are also quite active in the region. And the best part Is the atrocities they commit will be justifiable with the Indian governing party (BJP’s) hands over it.
Kashmir does not need an integration all that is required is for the international community to come together on a single table and point out possible solutions for the Kashmir issue. Looking at the historical background many politicians and policymakers will prefer referendum to be held in Kashmir. The united nations security council resolution 47 adopted on 21, April 1948, concerns the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. But the commission failed as a truce was not achieved due to disagreements over the process of demilitarization. Both of the countries do not agree on the referendum to be held in Kashmir because perhaps they fear of what the consequences of the referendum might be weather in favour of Pakistan or India the decision and choice of the Kashmiri people will be binding on both of the countries. so, seemingly managing a referendum might be quite challenging for the international community in the wake of rising tensions between two nuclear power countries.
Both India and Pakistan are vying for china’s support in the dispute over Kashmir. On Friday, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited Beijing as part of Islamabad’s effort to draw global support against the Indian government’s decision to scrap Kashmir’s special status being also condemned India’s move and called it ‘unacceptable’ and said it would help Pakistan in defending ‘its legitimate rights and interests’ in Kashmir region. Qureshi claimed that china offered complete support to Pakistan. This is the story from the Pakistani side only, India which is one of the biggest trading partners of China will also be looking forward to their support.
China is a vital actor and can prove very beneficial for resolving the long term conflict of the region. Both the countries should set their distinctions aside and work beside one another to shape possible solutions for the people of Kashmir. Table talks and negotiations are so far the best options available for the conflict to be resolved with China acting as a mediator things will surely go the right direction.