ALL over Pakistan as well as in AJK and Occupied Kashmir, a Black Day was observed to condemn the brazen occupation of Kashmir by India on 27 October 1947. It was a reminder for the world that the Kashmir conflict still remains unresolved despite UNSC resolutions and the Kashmiris’ continuous struggle for their right to self-determination. Through decades of Indian repression, generation after generation of Kashmiris’ have rejected Indian occupation of their State as well as its illegal efforts to swallow Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Union.
Once again during the Black Day protests the Indian troops showed their ruthless aggression against the unarmed Kashmiri protestors as they fired at a rally. But it is not simply naked aggression that the Indians are using against the Kashmiris. The leadership of the Kashmiris is constantly targeted both physically and psychologically but their resolve has not been broken.
For Pakistan Kashmir is not simply an emotive issue but a strategic issue that has its roots in the principle of self-determination for the Kashmiris, but also rests on the fact that Kashmir is the lifeline for Pakistan – it is the place from where the river waters of Pakistan flow and without resolution of the Kashmir dispute, the water issue with India cannot be satisfactorily resolved as India will continue to hold Pakistan to ransom on this count as long as it is able to sustain its occupation of Kashmir.
However, there is a growing realisation in India that the present status quo in Kashmir is untenable which is why New Delhi has appointed a three-member team of interlocutors to deal with the Kashmiris and search for a solution. The problem is that the mandate circumscribes the solution as being one within the Indian Union – which is a non-starter to begin with. Even though the leader of the mediating team, Padgaonkar, has stated clearly that Pakistan and AJK have to be included in any dialogue towards a solution but unless India accepts the reality of the need for a plebiscite according to UNSC resolutions, there can be no resolution of the Kashmir issue. And, unless Kashmir is resolved, there can be no meaningful peace and stability in the region. Nor can there be normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India because time and again it has been shown that Kashmir defines the parameters of the Pakistan-India relationship.
It is time for Pakistan to be more assertive in its support of the Kashmiri struggle which has gained a new momentum with the latest youth intifada. For over sixty years the Kashmiris have sacrificed their families, their future and their lives for their right to self determination. They will not give up now.