India must rethink its Kashmir policy

February 21, 2019

Islamabad’s reaction to New Delhi’s war hysteria has indeed been a dignified one. PM Imran Khan was correct in his proposal for collaborating with New Delhi in any inquiry into the Pulwama incident and taking action if the latter provided attestable evidence regarding any Pakistani link. Imran Khan has made a clear-cut offer that Pakistan is prepared to cooperate in any investigation New Delhi wishes to carry out into its alleged role in the Pulwama attack and that the state will act on intelligence against anyone carrying out attacks from Pakistani soil and treat such actors as ‘enemies of Pakistan’. Imran Khan has also repeated the significance of dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue, calling on New Delhi to reconsider its policy of violence against the Kashmiri youth. In fact, the young native who carried out the attack was himself a victim. For New Delhi, which appears to be trapped in a rut and continues to blame Pakistan and reject dialogue, it would be expedient to take up this offer and engage with Islamabad on the issue of Kashmir and cross-border militancy. Even as New Delhi objects to Pakistan’s moral and political support to the Kashmir struggle, it must see the writing on the wall and admit that just as the US has realized in Afghanistan there is no military solution to Kashmir. New Delhi must realize that this battle will have to be fought through dialogue and not weapons. Imran Khan’s pledge to taking action against militant groups operating on Pakistani soil is an encouraging one. New Delhi must engage Pakistan in dialogue and must stop the forces that eject hatred. India must remember that even in times of dissonance between the governments, saner elements in the artist and sports world become the peacemakers. Undoubtedly, Pulwama is a huge tragedy, but the distressing rise of war frenzy in that country spread shamelessly by chest-thumping nationalist elements in the Narendra Modi-led government as well as the media and entertainment sectors must be stopped before it becomes an irresistible monster. Spiteful anti-Pakistan attacks by Bollywood actors, cancellations of visits by Indian artists followed by impolite tweets; and blocking of Pakistani sports coverage, are not going to help New Delhi. These acts have always trickledown effect and will encourage average citizens to harass Kashmiri Muslims. Traumatic accounts are already emerging of people living in fear. Indian military has been blamed for using extreme force to crush the freedom movement in the disputed region, regularly leading to civilian casualties. Thousands of young men and women have been killed and blinded in recent years due to lethal and non-lethal weapons used by Indian forces. New Delhi must rethink its Kashmir policy.

 

Thousands of young men and women have been killed and blinded in recent years due to lethal and non-lethal weapons used by Indian forces.