Kashmir: August 5 and Beyond

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By Khurram Wani

CRPF men stand guard at a closed market during lockdown in Srinagar. KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

Nothing can stop any wise being from appreciating the way Kashmiri people; especially the youth have reacted to the situation which was created on August 5th, 2019. We can rightly call this strategy, ” Anger with grace” with which the people of Kashmir valley have reacted to the bitter reality which was imposed forcibly on them on 5th August. Lot of blood would have been spilled on the streets of any other Muslim majority state of today’s era if any such untoward situation would have happened there. It is a sign of evolution and emancipation of Kashmiri people and their understanding of conflict and moreover their realistic understanding of strength and weakness of all the stake holders of the Kashmir issue.

STAKE HOLDERS

India and Pakistan have ignored their important issues like poverty, health care and education and rather chose to fight over Kashmir. Armed to the teeth with conventional weaponry, both countries have invested their scarce resources in building nuclear arsenal. Their nuclear arsenal may have acted as deterrent but chances of slipping into war have not receded.

Both India and Pakistan have been in perpetual state of war ever since their independence from Britain in 1947. They fought each other four times since then and nearly went to war yet again as recently as in 2019.

Psychologically analyzing it, wars stem out of ego and in human nature there is no limit to it. Human ego has led to the destruction of civilizations and not just of a particular region or a community.

MULTI POLAR WORLD

It is not strategically wise to see any country in isolation in today’s multi-polar and interdependent world. India, though bigger, should not underestimate Pakistan and see it as a smaller and weaker. China has invested massively in Pakistan and more than investment it has a dream which it sees being fulfilled through projects like CPEC and OBOR of which Pakistan is an integral and the most important part. CPEC and OBOR are not only key pillars of Chinese economy but of greater strategic importance as well. They are aimed at increasing Chinese dominance and presence in every country where these projects have a mark.  Meanwhile, due to charismatic leadership of Imran Khan, countries like Iran, Turkey and Malaysia are becoming strong allies of Pakistan. On the other hand, conflicts of Arab countries, especially the Syrian conflict has brought Russia, Iran and Turkey very close as their geo-political interests converge there. Interestingly in the emerging geo-political reality state of India is increasingly finding itself on the side of the United States, Europe and Israel. Under Trump leadership, the US has been acting erratic and losing respect globally. US has abandoned many global treaties ranging from Climate Change to Iran Nuclear Accord. The sudden withdrawal of United States from Syria and haste to leave war torn Afghanistan has strengthened the notion that Washington is no longer a reliable partner. The new bonhomie between New Delhi and Israel has also cause lot of unease across LOC.  Analysis question the wisdom of aligning with an apartheid state for settling old issues despite the fact that US backed Jewish state has failed to settle lingering Palestinian issue on her terms so far.

PEACE DESERVES A CHANCE

If New Delhi and Islamabad do not act wisely then both countries can descent into war and engulf the whole region in bloodshed. And if the government’s on either side look for quick and small political gains they will be doing that on their own peril. It is imperative on India and Pakistan to come forward and sit for dialogue without pre-conditions. Opening of Kartarpur corridor has set a good precedence and from here on both the countries can build on it. A similar corridor for Sharda Peeth, “an ancient seat of learning” can be opened for pilgrimage which will connect both sides of Kashmir. More such measures can be taken for confidence building in order to remove suspicion which is hindering both India and Pakistan from coming closer. Similar positive strategies can lead to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue as well.

REAL POLITIC

Desire for political space and dignity for centuries has made the struggling Kashmiri politically conscious, mature and realistic. Stocking up fuel, medicine and food supplies before August 5 is just an example of such political maturity. Despite assurances from governor and his administration that nothing is going to happen on August 5, an average Kashmiri had sensed the looming crisis and was ready to resist by surviving and not getting killed on the streets. Silence is not always submission. It is a form of protest. The people of Kashmir yearn for a life of dignity and honour like any other citizen of India.

Years of political uncertainty and in particular last 30 years of mayhem have taught Kashmiri people how to adapt to new and challenging situations. The current peaceful protest is a manifestation of that. This open mindedness and political maturity can be used positively by both India and Pakistan in order to find a peaceful solution to the problem while keeping the ego and dignity of all the stake holders intact.


Author is Chairman Kashmir Reform Group and can be reached at khurramwani@hotmail.com

 

 

 


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