Self Determination Through Peaceful Means

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The joint resistance leadership (JLR) of the Hurriyat has repeatedly been telling New Delhi that the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved by military means. However, it surprisingly doesn’t offer this sagacious advice to those who are waging an ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir. Instead, with Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani declaring that “We (Hurriyat) never denied or ignored the role of gun in our struggle.” And reiterating how “Gun could be one of the options for permanent solution of the Kashmir issue besides other political means,” he has made it amply clear that the separatist conglomerate has no inhibitions in using military means to achieve the right to self determination.

However, while the JRL hasn’t clarified as to how it proposes to get the international community to support its unique policy of simultaneously using peaceful means and military action in the self determination movement, yet it fiercely defends the ‘armed struggle’. Readers would recall that in February 2016, when a Pakistani parliamentary committee proposed that “Pakistan should not encourage calls for active support of armed, banned, militant groups in Kashmir,” it had greatly upset Geelani sahib. Readers would also recollect that the Hurriyat (G) chairman had reminded Islamabad at that time of how “All those groups busy in the freedom struggle of Kashmir have nothing to do with the terrorism but they are struggling for just and genuine demand of right to self determination for their nation.”

Just eight months later, Nawaz Sharif endorsed the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir by saying “India is mistaken if it considers that a freedom fight can be equated with terrorism” and even went on to say “No power in the world can stop us from supporting the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.” Unfortunately, though Islamabad has been paying a lot of lip service to the Kashmir issue, it hasn’t been able to get any country or organisation to support the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir. Why go far, despite being its founder member, Pakistan hasn’t even been able to get the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to accept ‘armed struggle’ as a legitimate means for attaining ‘self determination’. Consequently, even though we have the OIC on our side, its support is restricted solely to peaceful means to resolve the Kashmir issue and thus, the ‘armed struggle’ continues to be viewed as terrorism by the international community!

Encouraged by Islamabad’s public endorsement of the ‘armed struggle’, militant groups intensified their attacks. And as violence levels in Kashmir increased manifold, the security forces retaliated strongly and the last two years have seen heavy casualties on both sides. Unfortunately, militants crossed the ‘red line’ by abducting and executing security force personnel who had come home on leave as well as civilians whom they  suspected were working as informers. Hurriyat has maintained a stoic silence on these incidents.

Similarly, the Pulwama suicide attack on a CRPF convoy carried out by a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant that killed 49 soldiers and injured several others may be the most lethal attack on Indian armed forces in Kashmir. However, there is no reason to celebrate as the following fallouts indicate:

·US, UK and France moved UNSC to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar a ‘global terrorist’. Though China put this proposal on “technical hold,” the fact that it had the support of 14 out of the 15 members reveals that the international community clearly disapproves of the act

·Islamabad has acted against the JeM and even if the curbs and arrests are just to appease the international community.

·Islamabad had to abandon the high moral position it initially took by assuring New Delhi that it would act against Masood Azhar if solid proof was provided which was a clear indication that the JeM chief was present in Pakistan. Thereafter, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi revealed that JeM had been contacted and had confirmed that it wasn’t involved in the Pulwama suicide attack.

·Islamabad may be proud of having made non committal statement on the Pulwama attack. However, its is not merely a clear cut expression that disapproves of the Pulwama attack but also the ‘armed struggle’.

Our leaders maintain that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved by the intervention of UN and involvement of the international community. However, the international community despises violent incidents and its reaction to the Pulwama suicide attack has yet once again proved that violent acts in Kashmir are doing more harm than good to the self determination movement. Therefore, in case Islamabad and the Hurriyat are really serious about resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with UN resolutions and the aspiration the people, then they have to get the international community on our side. However, this can only happen violent means to achieve self determination are abjured!

The ball is squarely in our court!


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