Pakistan has maintained a principled stand on Kashmir. But over time the lack of concrete policy and action plan has reduced it to mere rhetoric. The NSP has once again restated the principled position but without putting out any details on the means that will ensure that the principle is put into practice, writes Kashif Mir
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has unveiled its National Security Policy, for the first time since independence. A summarized version of the NSP document was put in the public domain. It is expected to act as a guidebook for the synchronization of the collective national efforts and energies in achieving the goals.
The NSP offers the people of Pakistan a unique opportunity for discussion and deliberation on National Security, hence the scope for course correction. The NSP document has acknowledged all the stakeholders whose feedback went into drafting the policy. The document, however, does not reveal if the feedback from the resistance leadership and people of Kashmir was solicited thus raising questions if Kashmiris are considered genuine stakeholders by the people at the helm.
Pakistan has maintained a principled stand on Kashmir. But over time the lack of concrete policy and action plan has reduced it to mere rhetoric. The NSP has once again restated the principled position but without giving any detail on the means that will ensure that the principle is put into practice.
The recent statement of a top business leader of Pakistan, Mian Mansha, about backdoor diplomacy with India has sent shockwaves across Kashmir.
The statement has come at a time when the Indian fascist regime is using all its might to cement the settler-colonial project in the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir. It has come at a time when Kashmiris are denied a decent burial and thousands are languishing in Indian jails.
The people of Kashmir are afraid that Mansha’s statement was a logical consequence of the shift to geoeconomics. It is not for the first time Pakistan is trying to move ahead with India on trade and commerce. But ultimately geopolitics with India is too big to be traded with geoeconomics.
Such steps are bound to hurt the oppressed people of Jammu & Kashmir and weaken their resistance movement. It would be food for thought for the policymakers in Pakistan to explore the policies devised by Indian Policymakers on Kashmir during and after General Musharraf driven peace process. It can serve as a starting point for re-evaluation of the impact of his ‘out of box’ thinking on the resistance movement in Kashmir.
The unliteral gestures of peace by Pakistan have always been perceived as weakness by the Indian state. They have also resulted in gross self-deception and strategic miscalculations on our part.
The leadership in Pakistan patted their backs for the gestures of peace when Indian Airforce pilot Abhinandan was returned to India after the Balakot fiasco. That it will compel the Indian leadership to reciprocate was wrong. Long before the Indian state led by a fascist regime had laid down the plans for the unilateral and illegal annexation of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
What happened on August 5, 2019, was only a logical conclusion of what began in 1947. The modus operandi of the Indian state all the way since 1947 has been to buy time and consolidate its position in J&K. The Indian national narrative on Kashmir is unified across parties and institutions. There is an element of continuity. No leader in India does gamble Kashmir to script his name as a statesman in the history books. There is relative harmony and unity across sections of state and society in Kashmir. There may be differences in the means but none of them differs on the end goal.
Indian occupation of Kashmir is fundamentally militaristic in nature. It is the military that fosters and sustains Indian occupation. If this single factor vanishes the occupation goes lock, stock, and barrel. The pro-India politicians and civil administration in J&K are the adjuncts of the military occupation.
Hence any potent and genuine policy on Kashmir cannot be and should not be non-military in nature. All the ceasefires from the UN brokered to UAE brokered have only served Indian interests, giving it a breather to consolidate its position and at negotiating from a position of strength. The occupied people of J&K have a right under International Law to fight against India by any means necessary, including by armed struggle. It has so far been the most effective means for resistance from within occupied Kashmir. But unfortunately, the indigenous groups have not been given a free hand to operate from the basecamp. It also puts serious questions on the leadership on either side of the Kohala bridge. The government and state of Azad Kashmir have an ethical and legal standing on Jammu and Kashmir, but that has not been properly appreciated.
India altered the status quo unilaterally in violation of the Shimla Agreement, there is no clarity on our part yet, whether the agreement still holds ground. The insistence on restoration of Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution, and statehood is a win-win situation for India. They have effectively shifted the frontier of negotiation from UNSC resolutions to the restoration of the so-called special status.
A nation is defined by indomitable values, justice, and by upholding the cause of the oppressed. Geoeconomics barren of any commitment with the foundational principles of the Islamic Republic will be a betrayal with the founding fathers of the Republic as well as with the countless martyrs who laid down their lives for the establishment of the Republic.
The people of Pakistan and the people of occupied Kashmir have a right to know whether the government has set any red lines on engagement with India. While the status quo mindset and policy paralysis persists on Kashmir, the people of occupied Kashmir are concerned whether Kashmir will be once again put on the back burner. Will peace be spread in all directions for geo-economic considerations without a jet of fresh air on Kashmir?
Come what may, the people of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir will continue to resist the Indian military occupation until the shackles of occupation are broken.
ham to majbūr-e-vafā haiñ magar ai jān-e-jahāñ
apne ushshāq se aise bhī koī kartā hai
terī mahfil ko ḳhudā rakkhe abad tak qaa.em
ham to mehmāñ haiñ ghaḌī bhar ke hamārā kyā hai