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Kashmir conflict over to Trump

During his recent visit to Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by massive civilian protests in the region, reflective of Kashmiri peoples’ aspirations with regard to false Indian claims on the territory, and ongoing repressive measures by India occupation forced. While inaugurating a tourism based Chenani-Nashri tunnel, Modi asked the youth of Kashmir to choose between tourism and terrorism.

And a day after National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah replied: “I want to tell Modi sahib tourism is our lifeline, there is no doubt about it. But he is a stone pelter. He has nothing to do with tourism. He will starve to death but he is pelting stones for his nation and there is a need to understand this.” Abdullah went on to say “… if India and Pakistan cannot resolve their issues, the US should come forward and facilitate as the third party to resolve issues between the two countries”.

Latest effort towards resolution of Kashmir conflict has come from the Americans, signalling a shift of position. Earlier in December 2016, during an interview with NBC News, US Vice President Mike Pence had indicated that Trump could use his “extraordinary deal-making skills” to reduce tensions around the world and resolve problems, including the Kashmir issue.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, indicated American intent to mediate on Kashmir on April 04: “It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward.” Donald Trump may get involved in India-Pakistan peace process, said Nikki Haley. Instead of waiting until “something happens”, the United States would try and “find its place” in efforts to de-escalate strains between Pakistan and India. “It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward,” Nikki added.  However, Haley’s statement also indicates that the US does not expect a breakthrough.

Pakistan has welcomed the US offer. “We welcome the statement of Ambassador Nikki Haley, expressing concerns over the rising tensions between Pakistan and India and the offer of mediation…this has happened in the backdrop of the deteriorating human rights situation in IoK, she also expressed the intention of the US to play a proactive role in deescalating the situation”, Spokesperson of Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs stated during his weekly briefing on April 07.

A day earlier, in a kneejerk reaction, India has snubbed the US offer.  Indian ministry of external affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said on April 06 that its position on resolving all issues with Pakistan bilaterally in an atmosphere free of terror hasn’t changed.  “We of course expect the international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond,” Baglay said.

As usual India has reacted negatively to the US offer on the pretext that it wants to speak on terrorism. Pakistan also wishes to take about of terrorism, and it is one of the elements of the comprehensive dialogue process. Pakistan wants to address the Indian sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. Confession of Kulbhushan Yadav alongside numerous other indicators are irrefutable proof of Indian involvement in Pakistan. India tries to hide the atrocities in IoK and is afraid of being exposed on account of crimes against humanity committed by the Indian Occupation Forces in IoK. Over 100 innocent protestor have been injured during the last few days, which include victims of pellet guns, who lost their eye-sight forever. Occupation forces have mercilessly and deliberately targeted children, women and elderly people.

Almost simultaneously, the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has once again repeated Iranian offer to mediate between Pakistan and India over the long-standing issue of Kashmir if requested. “Any conflict or tension between the two countries will hinder the progress and development of both the countries but will also impact upon the economies of other regional countries,” Mehdi stated during an interview. He was confident that “more interaction and cooperation between the biggest Islamic countries can help remove tension between them [Muslim countries].”

India will eventually conclude that the only solution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is the realization of the right to self-determination of Kashmiris through a fair and free plebiscite under the auspices of the UN in line with the relevant UNSC resolutions. International Community should take note and call India to account for the crimes against humanity committed by its forces in IoK.

Pakistan did not start the recent uprising in Kashmir and cannot stop it either. In the current insurgency, about 30,000 Kashmiris have been injured, maimed or bruised in the state-sponsored terrorism. Some time ago Rajmohan Gandhi had concluded that: “a de facto plebiscite already seems to have taken place there. Kashmiris appear to have voted with untiring throats, with eyes destroyed or deformed by pellets, and with bodies willing to fall to the ground for what the (ir) heart desires. And the vote seems to be for azadi”. Yashwant Sinha, a former Indian foreign minister also thinks that: “Kashmiris have lost their fear of India.”

IoK has been a troubled valley since the partition. Visionary people had foreseen it well before that.  A renowned Kashmiri historian and journalist, Pandit Premnath Bazaz, in 1934, wrote a letter to Gandhi, as early as 1934, and enquired that what the Maharaja of Kashmir should do, when majority of his subjects were Muslims. Gandhi’s reply was: “Knew that Kashmir is predominantly Mussalman, it is one day bound to become a Mussalman State. Therefore, a Hindu prince can rule it only by not ruling i.e., doing as the Mussalmans want him to do”.

There have been little signs of the Hindu Prince (Modi) applying its mind to the Kashmir issue. It has not taken up the larger dialogue which was initiated by Prime Minister Vajpayee and carried forth by Dr Manmohan Singh. A durable resolution of the Kashmir issue requires a comprehensive settlement between the three parties to the conflict—India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. Modi is persistent with its approach of settling the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through brutal use of force. Over 700,000 criminals in the garb of Indian Army and civil armed forces have been unleashed on innocent people of IoK; they are supported by nearly a dozen draconian laws. IoK is nothing more than a cage for its hapless people.

On its part, Pakistan has ever since been ready for talks with India on every issue. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said: “If India does not engage in talks, the negative forces get advantage of the situation…It is very significant that both nations come to table and resolve all outstanding issues.” In an interview with India’s news channel NewsNation he also emphasised the need for confidence-building measures between the two countries.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been quite consistent in its desire to reach out to India, but to little avail. The Americans can do no more than ‘encourage’ India and Pakistan to engage in direct talks, but given the intractable position of India such counselling is likely to fall on deaf ears. By itself America is going nowhere as a broker, it needs to co-opt remaining members of P-5 to gather critical mass.

 

 

 

 

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Selective Assessments of Human Rights Status

These times are witnessing increasingly selective assessments regarding Human Rights status across the World. And slogan of Human Rights has become a tool for furthering hidden strategic objectives. In response to the letter, written by HRW Asia Director Brad Adams to Prime Minster Imran Khan, on August 24, Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari responded: “I hope that you would also raise your voice against a massive human rights violations, carried out in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, Palestine and in some European States against Muslims citizens.” Minister also urged HRW to take up the issue of the violation of human rights by some European states against their Muslim citizens in the form of curtailing their right to practice their religion freely and in the form of abuse of Islam and its Prophet (PBUH), in direct contravention of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. “Since HRW claims to monitor human rights across the world, I would like to be informed on how you are ensuring the rights of Muslim citizens to have their mosques and be able to dress and practice their religion freely and without ridicule in European states,” she added. She went on to ask that since the HRW claims to monitor human rights violations in over 90 countries, “I hope that would include the massive human rights violations being carried out as a matter of state policy by India in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Minister also said that she would like to be informed on how the NGO is “ensuring the rights of Muslim citizens to have their mosques and be able to dress and practice their religion freely and without ridicule in European states”, which have seen an upsurge of xenophobia in recent years. Pakistan government would always welcome positive suggestions, but “an NGO’s institutional credibility will rest on its commitment to ensure human rights across the globe and not just in selective states.” She added. In a blatant violation freedom of information norms, India’s home ministry abruptly withdrew the security clearance granted to Qatar’s Al Jazeera network after a documentary on Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) was aired by the channel. Now, matter is under consideration at appellate level. According to Times of India, the report leading to this action had highlighted the protests after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016 and the brutal use of pellet guns against protesters amongst other Human Rights violations in IoK. Report was deemed by Indian government as biased. The Economic Times has added that “the television channel will be taken off air if the Home Ministry strikes down the review petition filed by Al Jazeera”. Moreover, Indian government has also rejected recent reports by Amnesty International and Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) on atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces in IoK. “Once again we find out that Kashmiris are the ones having to pay the price for the political battle”. In a related development, Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), has “urged the Indian leadership to admit that human rights violations are taking place on their side of the Line of Control (LoC), and they must work with Pakistan to find a solution that puts the interests of Kashmiris first”. She said it is about time leaders in both India and Pakistan realized that Kashmiris are living in a conflict zone and suffering human rights violations. “They must understand and acknowledge this and ensure that human rights of these people are not violated anymore. It needs to happen right now… this should be about Kashmiris who are suffering.” When asked to comment on misuse of special powers given to the Indian military, Ganguly said that not only the UN but also other groups and commissions, including those, formed under the Indian government have also appealed to the government to repeal such laws. Commenting on the role rights groups like Amnesty and OHCHR could play to make India more accountable over Kashmir issue, especially when Modi government is targeting almost all minority ethnicities in the country, she commented that the voice of dissent should not become the political tool. “Unfortunately this is what happens way too often”. Commenting on increasing communal violence by pro-BJP vigilantes against religious minorities in the country, Ganguly said the environment of an extreme form of nationalism violates religious freedom. Prime Minster Imran Khan has recently said that little noteworthy progress has been made in the past to find a solution for the Kashmir issue. He said so while meeting Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi before assuming office, adding that through the UN resolutions on Kashmir a solution must be found for this intractable issue. Now an extraordinary situation is developing in IoK in the wake of BJP government’s attempts to abrogate Article 35-A of the constitution that grants special status to the occupied territory and its citizens. India is using all cheap tactics from brute use of force to political and constitutional aggression for forcing the occupied territory completely to its fold. The Kashmiri leadership has made it clear that they will fight with full resilience to foil the nefarious designs of India. Pakistan government must approach not only the International Court of Justice (ICJ) but also the United Nations Security Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to prevent the Indian government from going ahead with its plans of changing demographic nature of Jammu and Kashmir.

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