Home / Opinion / Centrality of Kashmir in Indo-Pak Peace | Dr Muhammad Khan

Centrality of Kashmir in Indo-Pak Peace | Dr Muhammad Khan

The process of peace building aims to prevent future conflicts and to address the root causes of conflict. The past experience of peace building both; preventative and post-conflict have worked well in some of the African and Asian counties in averting further escalation of conflicts. The process entirety involves three phases; the conflict prevention, the conflict management and finally the conflict transformation. Together, this process seeks to; prevent, address and transform potential conflict situation. The peace building process between Pakistan and India has always been scuttled by Indian reluctance for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Indeed, in the case of Kashmir dispute, the factual application of peace building has never been made, resultantly, there has been an imprecision in the entire process.

The seven decades post colonial history of India and Pakistan reveals that, maximum efforts for bringing peace in the Kashmir dispute have been centred around, stabilization and maximum ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC). Whereas, the border management through ceasefire did work most of the time, the essence of real conflict; the resolution of Kashmir dispute remained largely unaddressed or else only superficial attention was given to this core issue. Resultantly, the dispute remained unresolved to-date and becoming complex with each passing day.

Since the start of current phase of the conflict in 1990, India rather trying to resolve the dispute, involved itself in massive human rights violations in its occupied parts of the Jammu and Kashmir. As a result of this unremitting human rights violation, Kashmiri of Indian held Kashmir (IHK) feel more insecure, subjugated and alien in their own homeland. The systematic process of tyranny, coercion and even making demographic changes is going on as ever. Despite presence of United Nations resolutions on the dispute, India is not permitting any opportunity for the peace building in the IHK.

There is a total absence of positive peace between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute, which indeed is the root cause of all other issues and instability in entire South Asia. Johan Galtung, the founding father of the peace studies, describes the positive peace as “the constructive resolution of conflict”. In fact, a peace filled with positive content; creation of social systems that serve the needs of the whole population with no violence or fear of conflict resumption. This form of the peace, being the ideal is lacking between Pakistan and India in essence. The global inclination towards regionalism and globalization demands a positive peace in South Asia, which largely has been hampered by unresolved Kashmir dispute.

The negative peace on other hand is the pre-conflict stage. This is generally confused with existence of peace, prevailing somehow between Pakistan and India. However, analysing this from the perspective of realism, the dominant theory of international relations, the essence of this peace is also missing in its entirety as far as the peace in IHK is concerned. If there is no physical conflict between India and Pakistan, the Indian violence against the Kashmiri people is an ongoing process. The evidence is in the form of killing of over 100,000 people and raping of over 9000 women of this Valley of ‘blood and tears’. In the IHK, India has neither stopped violence (being perpetrated through its security forces) nor has it ended oppression and suppression against the innocent masses, asking for their legitimate right of self-determination.

A successful peace building is the need of hour in South Asia. The key to this peace building process lies in Kashmir. A peaceful and negotiated settlement of Kashmir dispute would bring regional peace, political stability both in Pakistan and in India, social harmony among the masses and economic prosperity for the entire region, especially India and Pakistan through trust building CBMs. In determining the causes, why after all despite three wars, nuclearization and a full fledge conflict, Kashmir dispute remained unsettled. The evidences and chronology of events reveal the obduracy of a reluctant partner of the dispute, the illegal occupant of the state, India, which always tried to justify its unjustified act.

In the process of peace building, the last step cannot be taken without a firm and determined first step. A temporary and fragile conflict prevention mechanism would never lead towards next phases; the conflict management and the conflict transformation. In order to impede the peace process and negotiations between India and Pakistan, India would always find excuses of taking over the peripheral issues or at time take cover of the sporadic incidents, which mostly seemed well orchestrated, to sabotage the peace building process. In order to curb the indigenous Kashmiri movement(s) against Indian occupation, this South Asian has unleashed a reign of terror over the innocent, peace loving and already subjugated Kashmiri masses. This massive human rights violation by India in IHK is indeed a ban for peace, rather the mechanism of conflict prevention. The other two phases would await the first. Because of ban over international media, the world remains clueless over the Indian human right violation since 1990.

Since Kashmir, holds the central position, in the Indo-Pak peace, therefore, a realistic approach has to be adopted for the resolution of this core issue, in fact, the ban of peace. The demand of Kashmiris from India is simple. It has to stop the human rights violations in IHK, being perpetrated through state sponsored terrorism. Furthermore, India will have to stop making the demographic changes in their homeland and allow them the UN mandated right of self-determination. Would India ever concede this Kashmiri demand for a peace in South Asia? The world body (UNO) and civilized international community must fulfil their obligations and emphasize India for the accomplishment of its responsibilities.

— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.


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