WEB DESK: There have been ups and downs in the Kashmiri uprising against Indian rule since 1989, the current year being yet another high point in the struggle.
During the recent days, there has been a surge in violence in Srinagar and several other places after the police and Rashtriya Rifles, a branch of the Indian army, shot dead a 22-year-old fighter of the Hizbul Mujahedeen, Burhan Wani, and two of his companions. How the Kashmir people felt about the incident is plain from what followed. While the Hurriyat leaders called for a strike and three days of mourning, widespread protests erupted leading to clashes with the security personnel.
At least 20 people were killed and over 200 injured. Despite a police crackdown, cut-off in internet and mobile services, and a curfew, thousands took to the streets to protest the killings. A massive crowd showed up at Wani’s funeral as his body was brought for burial draped in Pakistani flag.
Notably, Wani had emerged as a hero of resistance, spreading his message via the social media that found resonance with young people in the Valley. Not without significance, press reports point to several incidents in which the local people provided cover to fighters engaged in shootouts with security personnel by throwing stones at them, regardless of the risk of inviting arrest and torture in prison cells. Clearly these people are not Pakistani militants as the Delhi government would have the world believe.
Attempt to change the Valley’s demography by bringing in settlers from the outside and creating ‘sainak colonies’ has only been adding fuel to the fire. Pakistan having a moral responsibility, under the unfinished agenda of the Partition, to support the Kashmiri people’s right to decide their future, cannot be expected to stay indifferent to what goes on there. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, an untiring advocate of normalisation of relations with India, issued a statement calling for the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions while the Foreign Office, deploring Wani’s killing, expressed “serious concerns over the detention of Kashmir leadership in IOK”, urging the Indian government to “fulfil its human rights obligations as well as its commitment under the UN Security Council resolutions.”
The statements highlight the unsavoury reality that Pak-India relations remain hostage to the unresolved issue of Kashmir. It is a hindrance in the progress and prosperity of the peoples of the two countries, and a constant threat to regional stability. One can only hope New Delhi will respond sooner rather than later to Islamabad’s calls for the resumption of the ‘Comprehensive Dialogue’ process to settle all outstanding issues of conflict, including the core question of Kashmir.
Source: Business Recorder