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Monday, August 2, 2010

Kashmir: the new wave of uprising

India continues to mistreat the Kashmiri people as if they were not human beings and have no rights. It refuses to acknowledge the uprising as a home grown insurgency. Instead, it finds it easy to blame Pakistan for sponsoring it.

By Shahid R. Siddiqi

A FTER Musharraf’s departure, the Kashmir issue has moved to the back burner. His aggressive approach had forced the Indians to come to the table for a serious dialogue with Pakistani and Kashmiri leadership. But the PPP government that succee- ded him did not take up the issue as vigorously and urgently, partly on account of its incompetence and partly due to its inability to deviate from the dotted line laid down by its benefac- tors in Washington in matters of for- eign policy.
Relations with India are icy at best. Playing a blame game on terrorism, India has forced Pakistan to play on the back foot through its offensive on the Mumbai issue.
For the US, which has a vested interest in South Asia and now enjoys greater leverage over India through which to pressure it to negotiate a set- tlement, Kashmir would be a distrac- tion at this point. It fears alienating India if it pressurises it or chastises it over human rights issue. And it has other woes to worry about. Indian atrocities in Kashmir and tensions between India and Pakistan do not bother it much, as long as the two do not go to war.
The United Nations is now impotent having increasingly turned into an American mouthpiece after the demise of the Soviet Union and continued low profile of both Russia and China on the international scene. It has failed to provide any specific, actionable proposals for a permanent solution, which has allowed the conflict to de- velop into one of the most intractable problems of international politics.
All it has done so far is to extend diplomatic courtesies and suggest vague formulas and generalities that are open to multiple interpretations and lead nowhere.
The West, the US included, which shouts from the housetops in support of human rights in other countries, shies away from applying same stand- ards to India. One sees alarm being raised over minor incidents of human rights violation in China, a high pro- file campaign of condemnation against the Iranian government in the aftermath of presidential elections, President Mugabe being run down over his policies, but one sees the same West turning a blind eye to much more serious violations of hu- man rights that have kept Kashmir and the region in a state of turmoil.
The plight of the Kashmiris has therefore been consigned to cold stor- age at the international level, at least for the time being. And because the issue has gone cold, with successive Pakistani political governments show- ing only sporadic interest in it, it no more makes it to the list of disputes that need most urgent attention.
A cartoon published in an American newspaper in 2002 showed former president George Bush sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office, ut- terly confused by a news report he was reading about India and Pakistan going to war over Kashmir. “But why are the two countries fighting over a sweater,” he asks Dick Cheney who stood by with his trademark sly smile on his face.
Apart from reflecting the intellectu- al capacity of the American president of the time, the cartoon was a realistic portrayal of the understanding that the new crop of international political leadership has generally shown of this dispute.
This has encouraged India to come down heavily on the Kashmiris who agitate for freedom. The murky cycle of violence is picking up speed. The killing of innocent civilians at the hands of the army, para-military forces and police draws protests in all nooks and corners of the state by enraged people which in turn provoke the security forces into letting lose a reign of terror. Men and women — young and old, and even children are indiscriminately killed, injured and maimed and women raped with impunity.
A recent report on Human Rights violations states that between 1989 and June 30, 2010 the number of Kashmiris killed at the hands of Indian security forces stands at 93,274. Additionally, there have been 6,969 custodial killings, over 107,351 children have been orphaned, 22,728 women widowed and 9,920 women gang raped. In June 2010 alone, 33 people were killed including four children, 572 people were tortured and injured and eight women were molested, 117,345 people were arrested and 105,861 houses or structures in the use of the communities were razed or destroyed.
This happens because the state or the central governments neither explain their actions nor carry out investigations to punish those who use excessive force. Human rights groups blame the culture of impunity among security forces in Kashmir on a controversial 1990 national law granting soldiers the right to detain or eliminate all suspected terrorists and destroy their property without fear of prosecution. Critics call this provision a licence to kill as it does not clearly define "terrorists".
India continues to treat the Kashmiri people as if they were not human beings and as if they have no rights. It refuses to acknowledge the uprising to be a home grown insurgency. Instead, it finds it easy to blame it all on groups that it says Pakistan sponsors.
After six decades of bloodshed and armed confrontation, Indian leaders should realise the impossibility of sweeping the issue under the carpet or keeping the Kashmiris subjugated indefinitely through force, an option which has acquired an entirely new dimension due to India and Pakistan having become nuclear powers. It is now time that India should move with sincerity towards resolving the dis pute with the following in mind:
(a) A solution must be found on the basis of tripartite approach that takes into account the wishes of the people of Kashmir, besides India and Pakistan.
(b) India should consider with an open mind Pakistan’s proposals to move away from old paradigms in search of a mutually acceptable solu tion. Proposals such as an ‘independ ent state of Kashmir’ deserve consid eration.
(c) Kashmir must be treated as an issue of basic human rights, which forms part of the jus cogens of general international law. Kashmir is also an issue of religious rights and identity where the majority Muslim communi ty has been adversely affected by the partition along the “Line of Control”.
(d) Kashmir is not only a regional is sue in terms of territorial claims by three states, including China, it also has serious implications for global peace and security. The fact that all three countries actually controlling parts of the disputed territory are nuclear powers cannot be ignored.
(e) The struggle of the people of Kashmir must not be confused with the so-called “global war on terror”, which happens to be a superpower agenda that is alien to this conflict. Instead of making this issue further intractable, India needs to understand the dictum: “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” The fact is that India promotes terrorism, like Israel, by denying the people their rights and subjugating them against their will.
(f) India will have to move away from the police and military approach and stop treating the insurgency as “a battle against terrorists”. Instead of dealing with symptoms, it must address the root cause of the conflict — the question of self-determination.
(g) Brutalities, rape and other human rights violations by security forces must come to an end and these must be prosecuted with full determination and without bias.
(h) The legacy of the Security Council resolutions 38 and 47 (1948) as well as the resolutions adopted by the UNCIP in 1948 and 1949 cannot be discarded, in spite of the time that has elapsed since their adoption, as these have neither become obsolete, nor invalid nor have they been recalled by the Council at any stage. On the other hand, ten years after the initial resolutions, Security Council resolution 122 (1957) reaffirmed the same democratic principle as basis of a just solution.
India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru fully endorsed this principle when on November 2, 1947 he said: “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given […] not only to the people of Kashmir but the world. We will not, and cannot back out of it. We are prepared when peace and law and order have been established to have a referendum held under international auspices like the United Nations.” It is time for the present Indian leadership to listen to its founding fathers, if it does not wish to listen to the rest of the world. ¦

(Shahid   is a writer on political and geopolitical issues and his articles are carried by the daily newspapers Dawn and The Nation in Pakistan, German magazine Globalia and online publications such as Axis of Logic, Foreign Policy Journal and Middle East Times)

 NOTE: This is a cross post.


  1. Over all this article makes an interesting reading but the opening lines are absolutely disappointing and far from reality...
    The Shameless ( and hiding in exile) Dictator remained in power for eight long years and what did he actually do for the Kashmiris.

    I am an eye witness to the erecting of barbed wires by the Indian Army all along the Kashmir border and We DID NOTHING( I REPEAT NOTHING) to stop the construction of that barbed wired wall, just because the, then COAS /President/ Self proclaimed saviour had ordered NOT to intervene ...The Kashmir Freedom movement suffered the most in his era ...I am an eye witness to many other shameful incidents too but can't disclose it on online forums like these..

    So please check your facts before declaring that Coward rat as a supporter of Kashmir Cause

    PS: If somebody wants to refute my claims ,he better have spent some time in that area , rather than sitting in his drawing room away from Kashmir and writing imaginary articles

  2. Currently India is building 62 dams on the rivers originating from Kashmir.Most of them started in the tenure of Musharraf so I fail to see how the issue was near to solution? Maybe the author would like to elucidate?

  3. i am sorry, but even the "founding father" of India, Mr. Nehru did not mean what he said that day.

    if they were sincere in the first place, they wouldnt have taken part in the shameful display of attacking a part that was to be handed over to Pakistan as per the directions of the Boundary Commission.

  4. the Indians took lessons from Israel for God's sake in how to control and handle the situation in Kashmir in a "better" way. just like they did in Palestine.

  5. How can this issue be resolved? Kashmir is a political issue and needs to be resolved through political process . Some Forum with countries mutually acceptable to both should be formed to address the issue.
    Let Kashmiris decide their fate.
    Let THEM vote whom they want to side with.

  6. opening paragraph:

    just for the record, Indians were NEVER serious in a solution to the Kashmir issue. even when ex-dash gave them a way which was quite contrary to the previous policy for so many years, and which the papers here termed as the U-TURN.

    the only true solution is the resolutions of the UN, where India promised the world to give the right of self determination to the people of Kashmir.

    decades have passed, Congress, or any other rulers in India have never once repeated the UN resolutions and the promise they made that day. and its been years since i ALWAYS hear them term Kashmir as their "Atoot Ang".

  7. @Sameeh...........such a forum is not possible, as India has always disregarded the helping hands offered from other countries.

    and recently under Obama's administration, it was termed as an "internal" matter by the US.

  8. @Rizwan. u raise a very valid point. there was only one reason the great Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah termed Kashmir as the "sheh-rug" of Pakistan. the water.

    and ex dash at one side saying things like "pakistan first" forgot what Mr. Jinnah said, and let the Indians build dams throughout Kashmir valley.

  9. Leave USA out of it Faisal.Their sympathies are with their new best friend India. They have every right to look after their own interests,why castigate them for it?
    We should look after our's.
    Pressure must be bought on India if the countries are SINCERE in having peace in the SWAR. The best pressure is economic. WHY is India being allowed to behave like a spoiled brat?

  10. Dr.Rathore, is correct in his Note on the role of Musharaff in the Kashmir Affairs,The first Debacle on Kashmir, was the ill-planned, poorly executed operation called the Kargil War,Thousands of our troops died a unknown death,those maimed too were countless,For a person whose Ideal was Mustapha Kamal,another great 'Debauchee',less said the better, as it would amount to washing dirty linen, in public.Yahya khan with all his bad points would shine compared to bhai Musharaff,as the man never accumulated Wealth,Vices of wine and women he had too,what Musharaff had sown we reap today, india had a field day flouting the Indus Water Treaty 1960,as Rizwan rightly pointed out,the maximum dams in process of completion by 2014,when we will get only TRICKLE and be on Mercy of India, where started by India in Bhai musharaffs RULE,with Lackeys like Short cut Aziz,who sold off the Family Jewels in Cahoots with Bhai sahib.

  11. Even the Baglihar Dam issue was handled in a Callous manner,that too was in Kashmir,2005.The Charge Sheet if ever made, would be rolls of Papers.But never the less the Main Article,on the Kashmir Issue is Excellent,the facts and figures correct,the plight of our Kashmiri brothers and Sisters cannot be Left at the Mercy of Hindutva,Brahmans,and the RSSS (BJP).We must as a Nation Fight for them.

  12. y leave the US out of it? as the sole "super" power it has the right to wage wars, it can't act to bring peace to a very volatile region??? it has the right to impose the sanctions against any country that tries to disobey it, then it must also have the right to have a say in this matter, no?

    mrs. clinton can come and force pakistan to sign a deal with afganistan, a deal which is not in favor of Pakistan, and leave the US out of this erupting end of the world???

  13. besides, i think it IS in US's interest to have peace between India and Pakistan. after all, it has told us time and time again to move our forces from east to west, as we dont have any threats from India.

  14. India is allowed to behave like a spoiled brat, is only cuz of the vast market they have for the west.

    thats y one country after another from west moves in, sells something to them, and leaves happy, and while leaving, scolds us for being a naughty boy.

  15. The fight between India & Pakistan over Kashmir seems to be endless.
    Does Kashmir has a say whether it wants to be a part of Pakistan or India OR they want to be an independent state?
    The suggestion here by Summaya is an excellent one to create a forum of countries. Will India allow it though?Will she set a precedent for the odd 18(?) seperatist movements going on within her borders?Will not she have to allow the same to the others as well?
    So is there a solution at all?

  16. there IS a solution, and India agreed to it.

    question is, is India sincere in solving this issue??? or just wasting time with no-good dialogues excluding Kashmir on the table.

  17. MARK:
    Yes our fight for Kashmir will continue as it is our integral part.From Historical Geographically,as well,from the linguistic point of View.
    Even the Wahkhan corridor was part of Upper Kashkar State,The lower kashkar is now called the Chitral region.The Pan handle was created,as a Buffer between Czars Empire and the British Crown,in the late 19th century.As
    was the creation of the Dogra(hindu) state of Kashmir.Even the entity of Afghanistan is a new Geographic term,in records it has always remained as 'Khurrassan'.The people have not Changed but new boundaries have been imposed on them,as per the forward policies of an old Empire, in which the sun has set.Punjab term was again imposed on us,as was Sind province, as is the term Balluchistan.Like i said we are very old races,and tribes within.India has many different entities as pointed out by you, as it did have always.We never were a federation till the british imposed on us the Act of 1935.Ours is the rebirth of the Sind a new Pakistan'.

  18. Rule of the world is 'might'.USA has it so have the Indians.We only have defensive power.The world is on the side of the mighty.We cannot force our opinion on Indians and they do not have any morals.So where do we go?

  19. We do not go Anywhere, AS WE HAVE DONE IN THE PAST', WE, hold the Ground.The Times have changed,in the Past Empires lasted for hundreds of Years, in exceptional cases for thousands.INDIANS are in the Death throes,Military might does not matter, as the case study of the Soviet empire is in front of us.

  20. I post a reply from SHAHID SIDDIQI, author,owing to google access problems at his end:
    The above comments are interesting indeed. I found some equally interesting comments that have been posted by a host of Indian friends under the same article initially carried by the Foreign Policy Journal (another on-line publication), who in their caustic comments dispute the existence of the Kashmir issue and reject the need of any solution.

    As for the above, I would like to respond as follows:

    I see here a current of cynicism about Musharraf. While I respect differing opinions (and I do not wish to be distracted by a debate on the merits or demerits of Musharraf rule while discussing Kashmir), my opening statement is based on my appreciation of the push the Kashmir agenda received in Musharraf’s time compared to the times of so called democratic leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, who claims to be a Kashmiri himself. The CBMs and the softening of the Kashmir borders etc. did help move the Kashmiris closer together and he did manage to bring ‘some’ pressure on the Indians to engage in serious talks.

    Making of dams by India is a different issue and Musharraf could only have protested, which he did. There was no other mechanism in place that he could use to stop them. Had he taken aggressive measures, my friends who criticize him for Kargil would have criticized him for that too.

    Comparing Musharraf with Yahya is ridiculous. Apart from his personal weaknesses, Yahya, by virtue of his crimes against the state – i.e. failure to carry out his duties of serving (and commanding) the army as per his oath and presiding over the dismemberment of Pakistan, was a traitor and should have been court-martialed.

    Pakistan has tried two options for the resolution of Kashmir issue. It sought negotiations or arbitration in the spirit of cooperation but India rejected it. We fought two wars but that did not settle the issue either. The nuclear balance of power rules out another war.

    The third option to my mind would be an effective combination of the above: keep India nudging to the negotiation table, force its hand through an indigenous struggle of independence by the Kashmiris which is morally supported by Pakistan, deny any quarter by remaining militarily strong and mobilizing international public pressure that India cannot afford to ignore. This calls for a smart and effective political leadership and brilliant diplomacy, independent of pressures such as those that come from the US to let the status quo prevail.

    While the Kashmiri struggle is underway and we are militarily strong too, we have failed on the political and diplomatic front. I wonder if that can be addressed any time soon.

    Shahid Siddiqi
    - Show quoted text -

  21. y couldn't we carry out the same negotiate with the Indians and also keep on supporting the resistance fighters in Kashmir during Musharraf's reign???

    with only negotiations, it is impossible to bring the conflict to an end, imo.

    someone said US has the might and Indians have the might, but WE don't have it. Well, we do. the best "defense" is a best "offense". old, but true.

    when we say there is a "nuclear balance", it means we are on an equal footing. they may have more arsenal, but where does it say more necessarily means superior??

    '65 should be kept in mind.

    as well as the "badr".

  22. oh, and there HAVE been cries (from the ex-military personnel too) that Musharraf has proved himself to be a traitor to the country by uprooting the constitution, and so he should be brought to justice.

  23. Without,going in the debate,as who was a better man,Yahya or Musharaff,which i will explain why? at the end, of this note,With just 'Negotiations'
    which india wants in its own subtle way,Nothing will happen,india will continue to maintain its 750,000 troops in that small confined area called 'Kashmir'.the Hidden Airfields in Kashmir will be parked with SU-30,'NUKE' loaded jets,The pace of the Building of INDIAN dams on our Rivers of the Indus Basin,will be increased,the IWT will be flouted,The World Bank will turn around and say that they were never the 'Guarantors' of the said Treaty, which infact they had been, as it was their Brain child to defuse a situation,in the 1950's,the blame for which falls fairly and squarely on the shoulders of Ayub Khan.The period of Musharaff saw a rise in the build up of Aqua Bombs on our rivers,as he SAT on the MAN'SAB, he now faces the charge sheet.
    Remember History is Narration of past deeds,of the people,who had the power to change the course,where they faltered the unforgiving time,notes,the error,Greed alone to stay in power,or prolong it does not go well in history.

  24. well said Naveed. very well said.