Kashmir Needs a Human Touch

In 1986, the dominance of National Conference was seriously challenged by a newly formed coalition called” Muslim United Front “. But the National Conference with the support of centre didn’t allow MUF to capture power and therefore the infamous rigging took place. The elections of 1987, marked a watershed in the history of Kashmir. It was the culmination of fraud results in the beginning of new phase in J&K arms struggle. The large scale deception turned Yousuf Shah into Salahudin and freedom struggle began. Pakistan openly came in support of liberation movement and supplied money and ammunition. 

Anti India movement is an expression of the denial of freedom of expression to Kashmiri people. Repercussions of 1987 elections forced India to rethink and recheck its policy vis a vis Kashmir and finally India realized that suppressing peoples freedom of expression is no more in the interest of India and in 2002,first time in J&K history free and fair election took place in which large number of people participated and elected their representatives. 

Situation in others parts of Kashmiris not rosy. These areas under the control of Pakistan named Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan have not enjoyed the real taste of democracy. Pakistan has always installed puppet governments there in order to control their political system and economic resources. 

Pakistan has a history of rigging elections in so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Balitistan. Pakistan is treating these regions as its colonies to suppress their freedom of expression and fulfill their imperialist agenda. 

The recently held elections in Gilgit Baltistan in which PMLN won majority of the seats makes it clear how they are dominating the political system of these areas. 

Kashmir is not merely a political issue for India and Pakistan. Both the countries look at it from an economic perspective also. Kashmir inspite of being the upstream and rich in water resources has been affected badly due to Indus water treaty. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian prime minister Jawahir Lal Nehru and Pakistan president general Ayoub Khan. 

India and Pakistan take credit for concluding the historic water treaty. The fact remains that it was concluded at the cost of the economic rights of Kashmir without taking into account its interests. The state remained economically backward and couldn’t built its industrial infrastructure because the water resources which are backbone of the J&K economy have been snatched by this treaty. 

Centre remains non committal on the genuine demands made by the state Govt from time to time which has suffered badly due to Indus water treaty. India is treating Kashmir as its colony. It can be realized from this fact that centre Govt is not interested in making Kashmir a self sufficient state and always want to see Kashmir begging before New Delhi. Recently union power minister during his visit to Kashmir had ruled out royalty of agreements between state and NHPC on corporation owned projects in the state. He also made no assurance of transfer of two power projects- Dul Hasti and Uri-1 to JK. It shows their rigid attitude vis a vis Kashmir and how they are exploiting the water resources while taking state government for granted which is strongly pitching for the transfer of atleast two power projects and increase in its power share from 12% to 25%. 

Kashmir is a humanitarian issue and it needs a permanent but pragmatic solution which should be acceptable to all the sections of society. India and Pakistan must shun their differences and start constructive dialogue process for the betterment of their countrymen . Both the countries must adopt realistic approach vis a vis peaceful settlement of Kashmir is concerned, which would not bring only bring peace in Kashmir but also usher a new era of development in whole sub-continent region. The cordial relations between both the countries is imperative for the development of south Asia which is badly affected, directly or indirectly, by their rivalry. 

Ajaz Dar

Kashmir University


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