Discussion with Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Cell – What Pakistani government needs to do to resolve the longstanding crisis

The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Cell (J&KLC) is trying hard, without much assistance from any government, to keep the local and the international community updated on the Kashmir issue.

The cell is worried that with the fast-changing demographics of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), done deliberately to increase the non-Muslim population, the United Nations resolutions to see the Kashmir issue resolved, according to the wishes of its people, would become even more irrelevant. Already India insists on swapping the resolutions with a bilateral negotiation.

The reality, however, is that whenever the issue of Kashmir is brought up, India either spins the topic to call it an indigenous matter, or turns the tide against Pakistan by saying that ‘let’s first talk about terrorism’.

From what Prime Minister Khakan Abbasi has spoken at the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, the message is clear that India’s aggression both in Pakistan, across the Line of Control, and inside IoK is a violation of human rights, the Geneva Conventions, the Cease Fire agreement and the UN Resolutions.

The PM has said unequivocally that in case India acts upon its doctrine of limited war, Pakistan will give a fitting response.

Apparently, the PM’s response to India befits our ideological tilt towards Kashmir. In reality, however, some serious considerations – something beyond condemnations and conferences – are required to get the Kashmir issue in the limelight and towards resolution, said the senior officials at the J& KLC to this scribe.

Used often, and without much received wisdom, the phrase ‘Kashmir issue’ seems to have lost intents of its purpose.

What we have today in the name of the Kashmir issue is a muddied concept put forward by India through intense lobbying in the US and at the UN.

India has been able to internationalize the Kashmir issue as an insurgency instigated by ‘Pakistan-sponsored terrorism’. Many Kashmiri freedom fighters from IoK are on the United Nation’s terror designate list.

To break Pakistan’s grip on the Kashmir liberation cause, India has been propping up its allies in Europe and in the US to highlight Pakistan government’s – and especially its Army’s – effort to subvert the freedom movement inside Balochistan.

For years, Balochistan has been painted by the Indian lobby as a case of human rights violation. Juxtaposing Balochistan with Kashmir gives India the plank to argue that if Pakistan interferes in the Kashmir affair, India too reserves the right to assist the Balochistan freedom fighters.

A recent activity to India’s end happened in Geneva where ‘Free Balochistan,’ posters were placed along Rue de Fernery in the Grand Sacconex area. ‘Balochistan House,’ an affiliation of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a terrorist organization, sponsored these posters.

Keeping to its desperate posturing, India has ignored the UN’s human rights chief’s call to allow an international mission to visit IoK. The question is: if India has nothing to hide, why UN’s repeated request to allow the international mission to visit IoK is rejected.

It is by no mean third-party arbitration. It is simply a mission of observers to verify if Pakistan’s claims about India’s inhuman treatment of its people in Kashmir are true or baseless.

The irony is that United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan is sitting dormant. Only Pakistan allows the mission to move around its part of Kashmir for fact gathering. India has stopped the UNMOGIP from visiting IoK.

This one-sided reporting has failed the UNMOGIP in its mandate to restore peace around the Line of Control. This is another factor that has muddied the Kashmir issue.

From a discussion with the officials of the J& KLC, one could gather that Pakistan too has contributed in making the Kashmir issue turbid.

According to the staff of the J&KLC, it is Pakistan Army that has kept the issue alive – the government, it seems, is relying on mere rhetoric.

Though the J&KLC has been expanding periodically, no action is taken on the reports it prepares for the changing ground realities in IoK.  The national media does not highlight its research, seminars, and reports.

The media cell of J&KLC in Rawalpindi does not go beyond making documentaries on Kashmir. Had it wanted so, the government could have done much better with such an elaborative arrangement, and a highly motivated workforce at the J&KLC.

Mere rhetoric against Indian atrocities at LoC or in IoK will get us nothing, just as it is getting us nothing in Afghanistan.

As soon as our PM said in an interview in New York that India’s success margin in Afghanistan is zero, India announced 116 high-impact projects in Afghanistan. It indicates that we have reached the time to think strategic at the diplomatic level.

Leaving everything for the Army to do, or on the military solution, would not help us work our way out – neither in Kashmir, nor in Afghanistan.

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