Kashmir Valley: Resonant with demands for Independence

Senator McCain recommends India – Pakistan dialogue to resolve the Kashmir Issue

The US Congregational Delegation headed by Senator John McCain has ‘urged’ both India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir issue ‘through dialogue.’ The delegation included Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, David Perdue and Elizabeth Warren. The US Delegation last Sunday expressed its concern over the Kashmir issue. Mr. McCain’s Chairman Senate Armed Services Committee, while speaking to the State run television PTV said that US wants an end to the violence in the Indian occupied Kashmir.  He also stressed that Pakistan is an important ally to the US and appreciated it for its contributions and sacrifices in fighting terrorism.

 The Advisor for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz expressed his concern over the violation of human rights in Kashmir by the Indian Forces. He also indicated grief on international community’s long silence over the grave security situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Furthermore he also reassured Pakistan’s willingness to strengthen its association with the US in fighting the “emerging terrorism threats” in the region including the militant Islamic State.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi started off well with Pakistan in 2014 by inviting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration ceremony in New Delhi. Later he even paid a surprise visit to Pakistan on his way back from Afghanistan to wish Sharif a Happy Birthday. Modi maintained his calm tone despite the terrorist attack carried out on the Indian Air Force Base on 2nd January 2016. Consequently the scheduled round of talks between the two states were postponed. New Delhi resumed talks with Islamabad three weeks later. According to “The Atlantic” New Delhi’s decision of continuing diplomacy with Islamabad was admired by many Indian commentators. However some members of the BJP’s “nationalists support base” deemed the decision of pressing on diplomacy with Pakistan as mere ‘weakness.’ Criticism has certainly changed Modi’s stance on Kashmir. Some 70 civilians including two policemen were killed when demonstrations began last July to condemn the killing of Buhran Wani.

According to an article by Pervez Hoodbhoy in Dawn “Hindutva’s religiosity” has unfortunately replaced Nehru’s secularism all over India. The Indian democracy now seems to have surrendered to the Hindu “majoritarian rule.” Some International observers have criticized the appointment of Yogi Adiyanath as the chief minister of Uttar Pardesh which is a home to 200 million Muslims. According to “The Guardian” Adiyanath has been accused of fuelling anti- Muslim riots.

According to South Asia Monitor the valley has witnessed a phase of rapid radicalization of the youth in the recent years. Several reasons that encourage youth to adopt radical views have been discussed in the report. The Kashmiri youth are denied of “political empowerment” furthermore they are constantly subject to the “fear of losing the unique Muslim identity through engineered demographic changes.” Moreover poor infrastructure, recurrent confinements, and flawed strategies by various governments in New Delhi have given rise to a “sense of alienation among the Kashmiri youth.”

There is no denying the fact that settling the Kashmir dispute is of paramount importance for lasting peace and stability in South Asia. Both Pakistan and India must head towards the negotiating table for a comprehensive dialogue on all bilateral issues including Kashmir. Extremists and spoilers have the potential to take advantage of the situation in Kashmir therefore the International community should also play its role as dispute managers.

                 

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