(Prof. Safdar Sandal)

Every year January 5 is celebrated in remembrance of the pledges of the UNO, as on this very day in 1949, in the UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan) a resolution was adopted in which Kashmiri’s right of self-determination was granted to them, through a free and impartial plebiscite which unfortunately has not materialized. To the contrary the adamant Modi government has lately and unilaterally lifted the special status of ‘Jammu and Kashmir’ state on August 5, 2019 and placed an additional force of 35,000 soldiers in the already well-armed area. Instead of letting the parliament vote on it, he had his decision accomplished to delete two relevant articles in the Indian constitution, i.e. Articles 370 and 35A, which had been decreed to define the status of Kashmir as a separate autonomous state which will not be a part of the Indian Union.

The announcement by Modi put senior politicians in Kashmir under house arrest, closed schools and shops and imposed curfew on the entire population. In addition all communication lines were cut – for telephone, cell phones network, Internet, television and radio etc. Despite this, there followed fierce riots in the Kashmir valley. The Indian government called on all pilgrims and holiday makers to leave the region. Pakistan responded by announcing the expulsion of the Indian Ambassador, limiting diplomatic relations with India and by calling on the International Community to intervene and help the besieged people. The step was not only in violation of the Indian Constitution but also a clear abuse of the ‘United Nations Security Council’ which had

decreed Kashmir as a disputed area and definitely not a part of India.  The opposition party ‘Indian National Congress’ plans to appeal to the ‘Constitutional Court’ against this violation of the constitution. Article 35A was designed in 1954 as a presidential decree which empowered state law to define permanent residents of the state and their special rights and privileges; Indian nationals from other states could not acquire land or property in J&K, take up work or take advantages of other government benefits such as higher education and health care. The article had been demolished now.

BJP, the political arm of the Hindu terrorist organization RSS, has thus caused Articles 370 and 35A to be repealed. The RSS was founded in 1925 as a paramilitary organization when Adolf Hitler had published ‘Mein Kampf’. The book describes the process by which Hitler became anti-Semitic.  RSS under the influence of National Socialism with attacks on Muslims developed into a fascist organization causing BJP unlawfully to delete Article 370 from the Indian Constitution, which gave Indian-occupied Kashmir a special status and an autonomous one. Pakistan as a party to this international conflict will use all possible options to undo the illegal steps. Both India and Pakistan claim the entire Siachen glacier. Fighting has been going on there since 1984. This fight is actually not about the glacier, but about the access to the southern Karakorum Pass. India had lost part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to China in the war between 1959 and 1962. This is why the Karakorum Pass became so important trade link between Kashmir and China. The strategically and economically important CPEC, the flagship of the New Silk Roads, runs through Gilgit-Baltistan and reaches the warm waters of Pakistan at Gwadar. The raising of the Kashmir question to the international stage seems a real problem and an irritant to peace of the region. Pakistan and India cannot agree bilaterally alone but the superpowers with their own strategic and economic interests are the real obstacle to the coping of this issue. The difficult global situation in general can quickly turn the conflict into a proxy war.  War mongering and belligerent statements of Modi and his new Chief of Army can

bring this region close to a horrible ‘nuclear winter’, as both the countries, Pakistan and India are nuclear powers and the hegemonic Indian posture is the indicator for destruction. I can say that God forgive, if this catastrophe does come, It will be more devastating for India itself as it can be wiped out of the map of the world with extinction of its largest population.

The majority of Democrats in the United States are on the Indian side. President Trump is also strategically turning away from Pakistan towards a new ‘Asian Cold War’ front against China and wants to build India as its proxy ally against China and to dismantle latter’s project on the new Silk Road which includes Pakistan, as its triumphant partner. Trump’s offer of mediation for Kashmir if accepted by Pakistan can create more misgivings than considered; it will be no different than that of Jerusalem-mediation role which he played acting more as a representative of Israel than of Palestine. Trump describes the lifting of Article 370 as India’s internal matter and wants to use Pakistan only for its “war on terror” and for bridging the gap over Taliban factor.  Pakistan cannot expect justice from such an umpire who would surely behave like the ‘cat dividing the controversial cake’.

Likewise, the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran play a significant role in the possible impact across the entire region of South Asia. The presence of CPEC is highly strategic and an important economic zone connecting Gilgit Baltistan with Gwadar : moves on to Baluchistan which is an eye soar to the US and India and no less to Iran. The Saudis rejected Imran Khan’s request to discuss the Kashmir question in an international forum. They are also eyeing on business and approaching India for economic reasons. The dilemma is of the majority- Muslim population in Kashmir. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres is here who says, Pak vision for international peace and security has been admirable. Regarding the Kashmir issue, the UN, Secretary General has reiterated that UN Security Resolutions of the 1949 need to be implemented and the human rights of Kashmiris be respected.

But once again the international community is failing by not meeting to the urgent problems that affect a major population of eight million. One gets the impression that human rights and the rule of law is falling victim to more and more imperial goals. The situation of the people in Kashmir is alarming.  As a majority in their own country, they are threatened by Hindus from India. Since Indians can now buy houses and land and there is no work left for the local Kashmiri. Prime Minister Modi drives Hinduism by all means. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Gueterres can mediate the matter and the international community pay heed to it. So far, states have given little attention to the United Nations’ admonitions and recommendations. People need to live in dignity, not in humiliation and the Kashmiri people have a right to self-determination. The grave situation is politically and morally unacceptable.

Solidarity on the part of Pakistanis with Kashmiris continues unabated and is solemnized every moment. ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is a national holiday in Pakistan on 5 of February each year. It is in observance of Pakistan’s support and unity with the people of Indian-held Kashmir. Solidarity rallies are taken out throughout Pakistan and in the bordering areas marched up to the ‘Kashmir Line of Control’, by the more enthusiasts. Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora spread all over the world also demonstrate on the important alleys and vent their anger over the Indian intransigence on Kashmir issue.