Bilateral talks: a futile exercise

Kashmiris, on both sides of line of control and the world over, observed 27th October as a black day against India’s illegal and forcible occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. It was on this day in 1947 that the India, in total disregard to partition plan and without any constitutional and moral justification, landed its troops on Srinagar airport and occupied a major portion of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir forcibly thereby usurping the fundamental rights of millions of Kashmiris.

The Indian military aggression on Kashmir marks a darkest day in the history of Kashmir. The day also marks the beginning of an unending ordeal for Kashmiris who have witnessed death and destruction over the past several years. For 70 years Kashmiris are trapped in a political turmoil that has consumed three generations. The peace loving nation has been deprived of their political identity; notwithstanding the international commitments India has always tried to stifle the plebiscite prescribed through the resolutions of the UN. Instead of paving a way for the implementation of the UN proposed road map on Kashmir, India has been using its military muscle to crush Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle for right to self-determination. Demonizing the legitimate struggle as a terrorist movement and indulging in extrajudicial murders, dishonouring of women folk, pellet gun attacks and incarceration of Hurriyat leaders on trumped up charges has become a norm for New Delhi in Kashmir.

The inattention and apathy of the international community towards the dispute, on the other hand, has added to the miseries of Kashmiris. To hoodwink international community India has been pedaling a false narrative to label the issue as a bilateral one and has made every attempt to scuttle talks on the matter. The Modi government’s recent move to appoint intelligence bureau chief, Dineshwar Sharma as its point man on Kashmir is yet another gimmick to portray Kashmir as a law and order problem. The BJP’s point-man has been tasked to initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue” for peace in the Valley and to understand the legitimate aspirations of a cross-section of the society in the state. It is quite strange that after the passage of 70 years New Delhi acts like a stranger as if it is clueless of the legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

What Kashmiris want is no more a secret, Kashmiris want nothing short of right to self-determination. Kashmiri leaders have made it clear time and again that Kashmir is a UN recognized disputed territory and the dialogue with India was only possible provided that India accepts Kashmir as a disputed territory.

Pertinently, Kashmir is a case of right to self-determination; it has a legal international dimension and needs to be addressed accordingly. As bilateralism on the issue has failed there is a dire need that instead of complicating the issue India should accept the ground reality and create a conducive atmosphere for meaningful and result oriented dialogue with all stake holders to bring about lasting solution to the long drawn conflict that besides consuming three generations of Kashmiris’ has marred socio-economic development in the region.

About Arif Qureshi

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