Malik Muhammad Ashraf
India continues to deal with the people of Kashmir with a heavy hand to quell the uprising that erupted in all ten districts of Jammu and Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani on 8 July. Its security forces have killed more than hundred people and injured and maimed nearly 13,000 through the use of pellet guns, tear gas shells, rubber bullets, and assault rifles. Pakistan being a party to the Kashmir dispute could not remain a silent onlooker. It mounted a diplomatic offensive to sensitise the world community about the blatant human rights violations committed by the Indian security forces and their obligation towards the people of Kashmir.India felt ruffled by these developments and evolved a counter strategy to deflect attention of the global fraternity from the reign of terror let loose by the Indian security forces in the valley. It justified its actions by portraying the freedom movement as terrorism enjoying support from across the border. It also stage managed the Uri incident like the Pathankot episode and has ceaselessly been trying to rub in the notion of Pakistan being responsible for the acts of terrorism in Kashmir and India. It has used all available forums and opportunities to raise hue and cry regarding alleged Pakistani support to acts of terrorism on its soil. Modi tried it at BRICS summit and also with the visiting dignitaries from Japan, UK and Israel recently.Modi also built up war hysteria in India and vowed to punish the perpetrators and supporters of the Uri attack. However in view of the likely matching retaliatory response by Pakistan and the risk of a full-fledged war between the two countries, he restricted himself only to a farcical surgical strike to assuage the feelings of the Indian masses. Another ploy adopted by India to distract the attention of the world from the brutalities being committed by the Indian security forces against people of Kashmir was to heat up the LOC in complete disregard to the 2013 agreement between the two countries. In fact, it has become an uncanny habit of the Indian government to ramp up tensions along the LOC whenever relations between the two countries take a dip. However, under Modi, this phenomenon has assumed alarming proportions. The current spate of unprovoked firing along the LOC by the Indian forces and the latest incident in which seven Pakistani soldiers have been killed has added new dimensions to the situation, notwithstanding the fact that these bellicose overtures are being befittingly responded to by the Pakistani forces, and rightly so. Modiâ€™s hatred against Pakistan is not a secret. One of the major factors of his electoral victory was his anti-Pakistan stance.Pakistan is a nuclear state laced with the capability of hitting any target within India. Modi cannot dare to foist war on Pakistan in the presence of the nuclear deterrent unless he is out of his wits. Therefore, keeping the LOC hot probably is a well considered option for him to portray himself as a tough guy, both to the Indian public as well as Pakistan and also to use it as a smoke screen to hoodwink the international community about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He probably seems unaware of the fact that the continuation of unabated Indian hostility towards Pakistan through firing along LOC could also lead to a strategic miscalculation with disastrous consequences.So far, Pakistan has exercised utmost restraint with a view not to escalate tensions between the two countries, though the Pakistani forces have been giving a proportionate response to the Indian indiscretions. Nevertheless Prime Minister Sharif while presiding a high level meeting held in Islamabad on Tuesday to deliberate on the situation along the LOC and devise a strategy to deal with it said that Pakistani restraint should not be misconstrued as weakness. He unequivocally declared that Pakistan could not be bullied by moves such as firing along the LOC as our armed forces were fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of the country and coping with security threat of any nature. The option of raising the issue at the UN was also broached. I am of the view that it was right time to involve the UN and seek its help in dissuading the Modi government from pursuing a policy that could become a serious threat to regional peace.We also need to evolve a long term strategy to counter Modiâ€™s attempt of persistently accusing Pakistan of terrorism. Pakistan has already shared dossiers about Indian involvement in acts of terrorism in Balochistan and its attempts to foment insurgency in the province including the arrest of Kalbhushan Yadav. The evidence that we have should be shared with all of the world capitals through our diplomatic missions abroad and Pakistan should also consider raising the issue of Indian terrorism formally at the UN to unmask the real face of India.Unfortunately, the world community, especially the big powers including US and its allies, has not shown any genuine interest in what is going on in Kashmir and it has, for the most part, endorsed the Indian line on terrorism, owing to India’s strategic and commercial importance. However, that should not deter us from raising these issues at all global forums and establishing our credentials as a state, which not only abhors terrorism in all its manifestations but is also engaged in an indiscriminate offensive against all terrorists outfits. There is no disputing the fact that continued hostility between India and Pakistan is not only inimical to the interests of both the countries but it also threatens peace and security in the region. Pakistan has been making earnest efforts to restart the suspended dialogue between the two countries to resolve mutual disputes including Kashmir without matching reciprocity. As they say it takes two to tango.
Till such time that the Modi government realises its folly to tread the war path, Pakistan must spare no effort to neutralise the propaganda by India against Pakistan and appropriately respond to its hostile actions.
The world community and the UN also need to abandon their indifference to the resolution of Kashmir dispute and the Indian oppression against Kashmiris. In maintaining silence on these serious issues they are actually encouraging India to deprive the people of Kashmir of their inalienable right to self-determination, which is also one of the fundamental human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.