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EDITORIAL: New Delhi revoked illegally occupied Kashmir’s constitutional autonomous status and the only thing that has changed in the valley is its demographic structure; with more than four million suspected domiciles issued to non-Kashmiris; in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, not to mention scores of international laws and covenants.

That alone goes to show that the BJP government never, under any circumstances, intended to restore the occupied state’s autonomy; which also shows that it must have done a great deal of diplomatic homework before ending it.

There’s been the odd whimper out of Human Rights Watch about India’s “assault on fundamental freedoms” in these three years but such things, welcome as they are, carry no sting unless backed by serious warnings from some of the world’s most influential countries. And that is where Kashmir’s friends continue to let it down.

Granted, nobody has stood for them quite like Pakistan’s government and its people. But even as everybody from the president all the way to the average person once again condemns India’s actions in the valley, their traditional saber-rattling remains ineffective when it comes to effecting change in a way that would bring tangible results for Kashmir and Kashmiris.

Everybody knows that India uses the trump card of its giant, lucrative market to get away with murder in this merciless game of strategic geopolitics. Just like Israel leverages its clout in Capitol Hill to keep its foot firmly on the throats of occupied Palestinians, India is using its own cover to slowly but surely change the majority ethnic representation, and therefore the very soul, of Kashmir.

Also, just like the Palestinians feel and appreciate the warmth of the support on the Arab street but have come to accept the incapability of Muslim states to help them, Kashmiris too have understood in all these years that no amount of noise will get them their freedom until and unless powerful governments change their positions.

If all this proves one thing it is that Pakistan, which is the only country seriously speaking for Kashmiris, needs to turn up the temperature a notch or so on this debate in the international arena. A good way of improving tactics would be showing the world what is happening here, in addition to just telling them about it.

The way India has clamped down on moderate political Kashmiri voices, like Yasin Malik’s, by dumping dubious cases on him, needs to be highlighted very strongly. And since his wife is a Pakistani citizen, and has been crying hoarse in Islamabad about the treatment meted out to her husband by India’s legal system, we should ask ourselves why she’s been asking the world why “my state” is silent about this?

In its haste to rebrand India’s very DNA with its Hindutva fanaticism and gobble Kashmir to hurt Pakistan, the Modi administration is over-reaching. To pollute Kashmir’s demography alone it readily subverted its own laws and rules, and now it’s tainted its own judiciary as well.

Pakistan must put the spotlight on this clear case of connivance between India’s top institutions as Delhi attempts to punch above its weight and seal the fate of Kashmir forever. That the international community can conveniently turn a blind eye to human rights and even war crimes is well established, but it struggles for excuses when its partner democracies fiddle with the very fundamentals of representative government for very obvious fascist ideals.

It’s already gone from bad to worse in three years. And you can forcefully keep a lid on simmering discontent for only so long. So who will be to blame, at the end of the day, when this house of cards ultimately, inevitably implodes? Pakistan has already done, and does, everything possible for Kashmir. It would be a shame if the only thing left for it to say is ‘we told you so’ to a remorseful world as it one day counts the wreckage in Kashmir.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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