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Restoring peace in Indian Occupied Kashmir

It is the fourth generation of Kashmiris that is experiencing humiliation, plight and agony because of the partition of their land and severe mistreatment at the hands of the occupants.

Aug 26, 2017
By Moonis Ahmar
It is the fourth generation of Kashmiris that is experiencing humiliation, plight and agony because of the partition of their land and severe mistreatment at the hands of the occupants. Veteran Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was allowed to deliver Friday sermon at a local mosque in Srinagar on August 18 following his release from weeks of detention. "I don't want to appeal to Indian politicians or parties, I want to appeal to the people who understand the pain and hurt and want to tell them that Kashmir is not a piece of real estate. Kashmir is not a part of property. This is not a territorial or land dispute between India and Pakistan, but a humanitarian problem. Do these people not have the right to lead a peaceful life? How many more lives will be lost?" Mirwaiz is right in saying that the humanitarian predicament of Jammu and Kashmir needs to end as it is the right of the people of the region to live a peaceful life and decide their destiny. This is only possible when the Kashmiris living in the regions of Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are emancipated from Indian and Pakistani control and decide their fate without fear and coercion.
On August 19, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKWAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai in an interview given to BBC Urdu Service said that "Pakistan should take the lead for the solution of Kashmir issue and propose the creation of an independent Kashmir" because the only solution to resolve the Kashmir issue is independence. Critics to his proposal argue that the onus to peacefully resolve the age old Kashmir conflict lies with India and not Pakistan because the former has not only converted its controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Muslim dominated Valley as a military camp but is also involved in brutal suppression of freedom movement. Pakistan has control over around one third of the total territory of J&K and the rest is under India's military occupation. Neither in Azad Kashmir nor in Gilgit-Baltistan are Pakistani forces involved in massive human rights violations like extra judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and rapes whereas, well documented evidence of Indian military's unspeakable repression in its controlled parts of J&K cannot be denied.
In view of the complicated nature of the Kashmir conflict, there is no short cut or quick fix solution to deal with the issue. Yet, it doesn't mean that millions of people of Jammu and Kashmir are left in lurch. It is the moral duty of India and Pakistan to seriously address issues which have deepened the predicament of people of the region. Three workable options exist to transform vision of peaceful Jammu and Kashmir into a reality. First, all proposals and plans which have been presented in the last six decades to end the state of conflict in J&K should be revisited. Out of box four-point solution presented by former President General Pervez Musharraf in late 2006 centered on providing self-governance to J&K by demilitarisation of the region; softening the line of control and promoting inter, intra-Kashmiri dialogue and trade. The lack of positive response of Musharraf's proposal by the Indian government missed a valuable opportunity to establish peace in J&K.
Second, in view of standoff between India and Pakistan to start the process of dialogue on the Kashmir conflict and the aggravation of security situation in the Valley, it is the responsibility of the UN Security Council to act and pass a mandatory resolution authorising the deployment of peace-keeping force preceding the withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani forces and taking administrative control for a specific period of time. Third, in order to prevent further physical and material costs of the Kashmir conflict, India and Pakistan must resume the process of dialogue without further delay. Here it is India's responsibility to commit itself for the resumption of composite dialogue as its intransigence is further compounding the plight of millions of Kashmiris. 
If India and Pakistan fail to proceed for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict and are unable to engage the major stakeholder of the conflict i.e. Kashmiri groups residing in the five regions of J&K, it will be the responsibility of international community to act through the UN Security Council and evolve a mechanism which in coming years can help establish meaningful peace in the region.
The pursuance of vision for peace is an uphill task particularly in case of India and Pakistan where instead of a forward looking approach, the leadership is obsessed with paranoia, mistrust, ill-will, suspicion and blame game. That is the reason why South Asia has not been able to produce visionary leaders like French President Charles de Gaulle and the West German Chancellor, Kurt Adeneur who transformed once war devastated and conflict ridden Europe by signing the historic 1963 Franco-German treaty of peace and cooperation. An independent, peaceful and developed Jammu and Kashmir should be the vision of India, Pakistan and China, the three neighbors of J&K instead of further plunging that unfortunate region into chaos, conflict and violence.
Daily Times, August 26, 2017

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