Peace in Kashmir Valley – Truce between India and Pakistan

August 3, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The Indian State of Kashmir is under curfew due to the escalating clashes between the militants’ proxies and the Indian Security forces.

Reportedly somewhere between nine and thirty three people had died, several security personnel got injured in the past three days alerting a cabinet committee review among the Central and State government leaders. The cabinet meeting presided by the Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh appear to have discussed the pertinent issues on Kashmir.

Views on the Kashmir valley vary depending on the beholder.

Kashmir is the long disputed territory for the nuclear neighbors Pakistan and India since their independence. The misguided approach to the Kashmir dispute has stalled the strong bilateral relationship from fruition. Both countries that were once united in the Indian sub-continent share more similarities on a broad spectrum.

The multifold opportunities at political, economic and social front could benefit both countries enormously by divesting the disproportionate defense spending to improve the lives of the vast majority living in abject poverty and concurrently promoting the society’s educated middle class that has been instrumental in driving the respective work force.

Instead, the nations have engaged in conventional warfare and were at the brink of nuclear confrontation not long ago contributing to the lingering security concerns on both sides.

Kashmir is divided along the borders and the northern area alongside Pakistan referred to as ‘Azad Kashmir,’ falls under Pakistan’s jurisdiction.

Whereas the Indian side of Kashmir is bifurcated as Jammu and Kashmir state with a democratically elected Chief Minister Omar Abdullah under the governor N.N.Vohra.

Jammu and Kashmir with two state capitals Srinagar during summer and Jammu in winter has its origins tracing back to the first millennium when the entire valley was enriched primarily in Hinduism and governed by the people, a thriving republic.

Then the introduction of Buddhism came along, followed by the interim Islamic influence through Moghul emperors and again eventually ruled by the Dogras represented by the Hindu majority.

Maharaja Hari Singh, the most contemporary ruler (1895-1961) of the Kashmir valley sprawling from Jammu, Kashmir, Northern areas, Ladakh, Trans-Karakoram Tract and Aksai Chin had signed the instrument of accession to the Republic of India on October 26, 1947.

Upon Kashmir being attacked by Pakistani Armed Forces in 1947, soon after Pakistan and India’s freedom from British rule, Maharaja Hari Singh acceded the princely state of Kashmir in its entirety to the democratic India.

Maharaja Hari Singh is survived by his only heir His Highness DR. Karan Singh.

DR. Karan Singh held high profile cabinet positions during the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s term in office between 1970 and 1984. Besides being elected the President of the Province, then Governor of the State in 1964,

At present DR. Karan Singh is the titular Maharaja of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Today, Jammu and Kashmir demography reflects a Muslim majority, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists from Ladakh region and other ethnic groups from Northern India.

Regardless of the history, the bone of contention has been the state with the highly concentrated Muslim population should either become part of the Muslim nation i.e. Pakistan or allowed to seek autonomy from India and Pakistan.

Both scenarios do not bode well for the Kashmiris as they would be economically disadvantaged and politically vulnerable without the distinctive statehood and a stable Central government.

Moreover, Kashmir has other indigenous population such as Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs…with formidable cultural and religious heritage going back to several centuries. The dispute settlement beckons the positive outcome for all rather than the selective course of action heeding to the national and international political rhetoric.

The militant groups’ activism originating from the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba misleading the separatist movement APHC, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Indian State cannot be ignored.

Undeniably, the kamikaze policy is detrimental to the source and the parties affiliated to them.

If the notion is to create tension in the Indian state to destabilize the democratically elected government headed by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, such missions inevitably backfire leaving the majority population at the lawlessness mercy, thus exacerbating the political, economic and social environment.

The APHC and other separatist organizations seeking independence need not look farther for,

Pakistan in twenty first century is overwhelmed with internal turmoil triggered by ceaseless terrorism and the credible evidence against the Pakistan military as well as the intelligence agency’s affiliations to Taliban and terror networks keeps unfolding time and time again.

The democratic governments in Pakistan have been toppled and challenged since birth. The continued attempts only derail the economic progress for the country with incredible potential to compete in the global economy.

Pakistan is undermined by the defense sector focused on prolific arms trade. It is proved to be a major impediment in improving its relations with not only India but also Afghanistan and others in the region.

The intermittent diplomacy emerging between Pakistan and India including Afghanistan require perseverance in dialogue aimed at each other as allies not adversaries.

Although, the incumbent Pakistan government along with the United States has pursued the terror networks, the operation cannot be successful without Pakistan’s ISI and military officials’ true commitment.

Indian troop level maintained at half a million to safeguard the 10 million Kashmiri population has been the highlight of Pakistan’s complaint.

Pakistani government on its part is yet to address India’s legitimate request to eliminate radical terror groups – ominously Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Haqqani network and the likes, having been successful in the terrorist act against Indian civilians.

Even Pakistan’s cooperation has been dismal in extraditing the terror masterminds in the face of harsh realities.

It’s in the best interest of Pakistan to eradicate the contaminants polluting their soil and renew Pakistan’s image as a reliable partner in global war on terror.

Failing that people in Pakistan are held back from moving forward in the new millennium and stigmatized because of the various terrorist groups’ nefarious activities.

When comparing the economic and political conditions of ‘Azad Kashmir,’ under Pakistan governance with the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir, the citizens on the Indian side have better economic prospects and political stability barring the militant’s infiltration across the border and the Indian Security forces reaction to curb the instigation.

Poignantly, the advocacy on secessionism in relation to Kashmir from different corners ought to be analogized.

Those who favor Kashmir secession from the Union of Democratic India premise their decisions purely on the census data and disregard the dire consequences from it.

For instance, California is exceedingly populated by the once ‘minorities,’ projected to be the majority in the near future.

Similarly, France and other parts of Western Europe are dominant with immigrants especially a much higher Muslim population expected to grow exponentially by 2050.

The population ratio as the criterion for the secessionist demands on Kashmir sets a nonviable precedence with serious repercussions to India and the rest of the world.

Notwithstanding that India is the second largest Muslim nation surpassing Pakistan and other Islamic countries on the globe.

Therefore, Kashmir or any other state for that matter within India could not be isolated from the democratic union now or in the future.

Jammu & Kashmir for all the valid reasons have been represented by Muslim Chief Ministers duly elected by the people through a democratic process and are provided with the necessary support from the Central government under the remarkable leadership of Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh.

Any grievances towards the excessive security forces presence or the latest incidents involving them are to be resolved peacefully and effectively in a democratic setting.

In fact, the valuable suggestions from the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Omar Abdullah is pragmatic and extremely hopeful.

The Chief Minister has made the following proposal during the Cabinet Committee on Security session:

“The CCS, while taking stock of the situation, also discussed the proposal of state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for beginning an internal dialogue with all shades of opinion.

The state government had also sent a request for a policy to rehabilitate former militants who had served their jail sentence and were unemployed besides a comprehensive policy for those youths who were willing to return from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

It may be mentioned that intelligence agencies had been reporting that the majority of stone pelters have been those who have been former militants at present unemployed.”

It’s clear from the deteriorating situation in Kashmir that the former militants and the youths behind the unrest could be deterred through economic solutions i.e. employment, government and private sector programs assisting youth participation in community projects; facilitate entrepreneurship – small businesses and self-sustenance modeled on urban development

Indian Central government has a responsibility to investigate the allegations against the security forces in the ongoing protest producing loss of lives.

Indian security force would be admirable as peace keepers and avoid measures leading to civilian deaths or physical harm.

The Kashmiris’ plight from all walks of life deserve the state and the Central government result-oriented actions targeting the political, economic and social problems with an assurance that Kashmir is and will always remain the integral part of secular India.

Kashmir harmony is paramount for the Indian sub-continent peace. The elements trying to sabotage the democratic system are destined for their own downfall in accordance with the end justifying the means.

Kashmir could achieve the long lasting peace and prosperity in the current democratic atmosphere ideal for new developments.

Good Luck! To Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the cabinet ministers, APHC and the people of Kashmir in the amicable resolution of the conflict.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.