EDITORIAL: Kashmiris all over the world, especially on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC), spared no effort as they took out rallies and marches to observe ‘Black Day’ last week on October 27, marking 75 years since Indian troops invaded their territory and triggered the longest lingering dispute in the subcontinent in 1947.

The Pakistani state was also at the top of its game in criticism of the illegal Indian occupation, as usual, with diplomatic missions mobilising prominent Kashmiris by arranging seminars and photo exhibitions. And the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) also reiterated its “full solidarity” with the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their long fight for the right to self-determination.

Yet all this has now been going on for so long that it is more like going through the motions than anything really meant to deliver serious, tangible results. Till not too long ago, it seemed as if another generation of Kashmiris would come and go without anything happening to the status quo.

But the Modi administration went a step further in 2019, immediately after its re-election, and revoked Kashmir’s special status whose sanctity New Delhi had promised – under Jawaharlal Nehru, no less – to protect. And now the Indian establishment is going about a demographic re-engineering of the occupied valley in front of the whole world and all the pro-Kashmir lobby has been able to do is add one more line to its condemnation of India’s atrocities and human rights violations.

All this begs the obvious question of what is the way forward for people who are waiting for the UN-mandated plebiscite to be held in Kashmir? Former prime minister Imran Khan made a very interesting, and important point during an interview with a German TV channel recently.

When asked why Pakistan should refrain from taking sides in the Russia-Ukraine war, which the West is pushing as a grave injustice by Moscow, he asked why they expected poor countries to fall in line behind their narrative when bigger and worse violations are carried out by the Indian state and military every day in Kashmir.

Much has changed since this conflict started a quarter of a century ago. Social media has changed everything; and the way it can bring out truth from conflict-hit areas is also impacting how international diplomacy is carried out. It’s fast becoming impossible for governments to take politically correct lines that are divorced from on-ground reality.

This is perhaps one area where the people of Kashmir and government of Pakistan can do a better job. All they need to do is feed facts to the international conscience to the point that voters in powerful countries start questioning their elected representatives about their silence on such things.

It’s one thing for Kashmiri representatives, and even Islamabad and OIC to tell the world about what is happening in the occupied valley; but it’s another to make them see first-hand the trials and tribulations of the people there; only because India wants its troops and tanks in Kashmir to flex its muscles.

There’s no point in waiting for talks that are not going to happen, at least not while RSS-BJP combine is in power, and not going to deliver any results even if the occasional exchange does take place. Otherwise repeated offers by Pakistan to sit down and resolve all outstanding issues would not have gone unheeded.

First Delhi rejects any outside mediation and then rules out bilateral talks as well; which is proof enough that it, not Islamabad, wants to preserve and perpetuate this conflict. It’s also no good to just issue statements on important days.

We will also have to change our approach and take all the facts directly to the people of the world and urge them to become agents of political change in some of the world’s most powerful and influential countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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TimeToMovOn Nov 02, 2022 10:12pm
"voters in powerful countries start questioning their elected representatives" -- Not going to happen. You are dreaming. I live in the USA, and no one cares about Kashmir outside Pakistan. India's clout as the fifth largest economy and brand India has too much power to counter any narrative coming from Pakistan. Pakistan people have forgotten about OBL, but world citizens have not. We will remember where he was found.
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