- The response to the Indian action has been encouraging
It is for the first time that Pakistan will be celebrating its birth anniversary as a Solidarity Day with Kashmiris, in the backdrop of the situation arising out of the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution by the Modi government, thus ending the special status of the state and making it part of the Indian Union. This unilateral action by the Indian government in violation of the UN Resolutions, Simla Agreement, Lahore Declaration and international agreements in regards to Kashmir and relations between Pakistan and India, constitutes an affront to the UN and the world community. The action of wriggling out of the obligations and commitments made by India to the UN, World community and the people of Kashmir, has also pushed the region to perennial instability and raised the possibilities of an armed confrontation between the two nuclear neighbours. This unilateral action by the Indian government has exploded the myth of Indian secularism and above all, vindicated the two-nation theory which formed the basis of the demand for a separate homeland by the Muslims under the indomitable leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was a staunch advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity and believed in peaceful co-existence with Hindus under a constitutional arrangement that protected the political rights of the Muslims and gave them their due share in governance, had to change course when he realised that the Hindu leadership wanted India for Hindus and were not acknowledging Muslims as a party and stakeholder in the movement for independence and would not give a due share to the Muslims in governance. Therefore, in 1937 he declared unequivocally that Muslims of the Subcontinent were a nation by all cannons of internal law. A visionary like him understood that the future of the Muslims of the Subcontinent lay in a separate homeland.
The followers of the Hindutva philosophy, through their communal policies, promotion of anti-Muslim sentiments within India, ruthless oppression of the Kashmiris and by changing the special status of the state, have in fact made a blind move, probably thinking that their actions will be accepted by all the stakeholders as a fait accompli. But the move has already backfired.
The initiatives and policies of the PTI government have surely given a new hope to the people
The people of Kashmir, who have been waging a freedom struggle since 1989 and bearing the brunt of the Indian atrocities, have already vowed to oppose the Indian move fiercely. When the Indian forces lifted curfew for allowing the local people to say their prayers on Friday, thousands of Kashmiris came out of their houses and protested against the Indian action. The rally was greeted with pellet guns and live fire, and according to reports several people were injured.
Pakistan, which is a party to the dispute and for which Kashmir is its jugular vein, has also out rightly rejected the folly committed by the Indian government. Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the joint session of Parliament, vowed to take on the ‘racist ideology’ of the BJP. Parliament has passed a unanimous resolution condemning and rejecting the Indian revocation of Article 370, urging India to end its oppression in Kashmir and calling upon the international community to take notice of the situation while reiterating the resolve of the nation to stand with the people of Kashmir in their struggle for freedom. The armed forces of the country have also expressed solidarity with the cause of the Kashmiris and vowed to go to any extent to fulfil their responsibility in that regard.
Pakistan has also decided to take the issue to the UN Security Council and launched a diplomatic offensive to sensitise the world community and world leaders to the situation created by India and the dangers lurking on the horizon which pose a threat to peace and security in the region. Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic relations with India, severed trade links with her, is reviewing all bilateral arrangements in different domains and decided to celebrate Independence Day as a Solidarity Day with Kashmiris and to observe Indian Independence Day as a Black Day. The strategy adopted by Pakistan as an initial reaction to the evolving situation is the right course to pursue while being ready to face any eventuality.
The diplomatic efforts by Pakistan have already started paying dividends. China has endorsed Pakistan’s stance on the issue and promised to support her in the Security Council. Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries have also expressed grave concern over the developments in IoK and reiterated the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolution. The USA, though, has not talked about UN resolutions, but has shown concern over the human rights situation in IoK, while advising restraint to both the parties. The biggest success in this regard however is the statement by the UN Secretary General, saying that the solution of the Kashmir issue must come through the UN charter and relevant resolutions.
The Indian action has also been vehemently opposed by Congress. One of its senior leaders, P Chidambaram, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, remarked, “Momentarily you may think you have scored a victory…drum beats, that You will hear on the streets, certainly will encourage you to believe that you have corrected a so-called injustice but history will prove you wrong…. and future generations will realise what a grave mistake this House is making today. This will be a catastrophic blunder. Even the pro-Indian Kashmiri leader like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have served as Chief Ministers of the state, have condemned the move and the latter went to the extent of saying that they had made a mistake by preferring India over Pakistan.”
Apart from being militarily ready to face any eventuality— though war is not a preferred option— Pakistan will also have to consolidate its position in the diplomatic, political and economic domains to strengthen its position. It is encouraging to note that the country at the moment is being led by a leader like Imran Khan who has an unflinching commitment to winching the country out of the economic quagmire that it is stuck into by resorting to realistic strategies without caring for the political costs involved; who has abiding commitment to eradicate corruption which has been the bane of our socio-economic development and is striving to give the country a system of governance that is in conformity with the objectives of independence.
Pakistan under Imran Khan is also pursuing an independent foreign policy and has played a pivotal role in promoting reconciliation in Afghanistan and facilitating talks between the USA and Taliban, a role appreciated and acknowledged universally. As a result of this effort, relations with USA have also improved. Relations with Saudi Arabia, China, UAE, Qatar and Malaysia have also been revitalised.
The initiatives and policies of the PTI government have surely given a new hope to the people. The response given by Pakistan government to the Indian indiscretion regarding Jammu and Kashmir has re-invigorated the spirit of independence among the people and reinforced their resolve to achieve the objectives of carving out a separate homeland for themselves, including resolution of the Kashmir issue. It surely has added a new dimension to the independence celebrations this year.