OPINION

Kashmir after Balakot

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JAVAID BEIGH

Since the unfortunate carnage unraveled at Pulwama, things have been moving at a rapid pace- both in Kashmir valley and Indian subcontinent. The sheer swiftness of events has made it increasingly difficult to comprehend and make sense of the changing dynamics that essentially revolves around Kashmir valley. However, amidst all this confusion and chaos, one thing which is emerging very clear is an almost global isolation of Kashmir not only in the western world but also in the wider Muslim world as events that have unfolded since Pulwama carnage between India and Pakistan as well as in UN Security Council and Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) have hinted at, very clearly.

While the world has been largely fixated on events that have occurred between India and Pakistan, post Pulwama including Indian Air force strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot region in Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa province as well as the capture and release of Wing commander Abhinandan, there has been pin drop global silence on rapidly changing political scenario in Kashmir valley that includes arrest of Jamat-e-Islami leaders and its cadre and the eventual ban on the said organization. This is unprecedented in Kashmir’s modern history that such cataclysmic events within Kashmir valley have evoked little or no response whatsoever from either western world or Muslim world. It seems as if there is a tacit global approval to allow whatever it takes to ‘set’ the Kashmir valley in order.

So, how did Kashmir end up being so globally isolated? And will there be any introspection in Kashmir to the precarious situation that the people of Kashmir find themselves? Is the ban on Jamat-e-Islami, the only way to sort Kashmir issue? Finding answers to these questions can help us to foresee the direction in which people of Kashmir will find themselves heralded in the near future.

Roots of Kashmir’s current conundrum and what appears to be a global isolation lies in the predominance of a one-dimensional narrative of Kashmir’s post 1989 destruction that has been pushed by Kashmir valley’s intelligentsia and opinion makers. This narrative which turns a blind eye to violence in the name of Kashmir, complete ignorance of Kashmir’s religious diversity and deliberate obliviousness to the rise of religious extremism, intolerance, radicalism and social conservatism of Kashmiri society in last thirty years. It has slowly destroyed world’s empathy for what used to be a progressive, liberal, secular and moderate image of Kashmiri people.

Most Kashmiri people will prefer to live in the comfort of denial but the fact remains that while Kashmiri intelligentsia has been pushing its one-dimensional narrative on Kashmir, the world at large has been, time and again bringing forth the ‘other dimensions’ of Kashmir’s post 1989 scenario. But after the tragic loss of life at Pulwama, we, the people of Kashmir, must accept that the sheer magnitude and grotesque nature of the carnage has now emboldened the world to pay attention to ‘other dimensions’, something that Kashmiri intelligentsia has been hiding under the carpet when at the same time this ‘one-dimensional’ narrative has yielded no dividends for either the resolution of Kashmir dispute or for reliving Kashmiri people of their pain and suffering.

The fact remains that even as events unfolding in Kashmir valley, post Pulwama Fidayeen attack, are finding no resonance anywhere- the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning Pulwama massacre; countries like US, UK and France are tabling resolution to declare Maulana Masood Azhar a “global terrorist”; both Saudi Arabia and UAE played an important role in the release of Commander Abhinandan from Pakistani captivity and OIC inviting India’s Foreign Minister as a “special guest of honor” at the annual OIC meet, ignoring threats of boycott by Pakistan and snubbing Pakistan’s Foreign Minister – all these rapidly following events collectively point towards Kashmir’s global isolation including in the OIC, which has otherwise extended solidarity and shown frequent sympathy with Kashmir.

At the same time, the way things are unfolding in Kashmir valley also raise serious questions on the handling of security situation in Kashmir valley by New Delhi. The wholesale crack-down on Jamat-e-Islami, one of the most prominent socio-religious organizations of Kashmir valley, is not the way to deal with the ever-deteriorating security scenario in Kashmir. One could say that organizations like Jamat must be engaged politically to help in creating the atmosphere for a meaningful and sustainable peace process in Kashmir valley.

Kashmir is undergoing one of her darkest phases, where even after suffering so much pain and misery, the plight of people has not captured the imagination of the world community like the plight of Palestinian people has. We must introspect as to why do we find ourselves in such situation today? I believe that Kashmiri people already know the answer but continue to live in a perpetual state of denial even as our one -dimensional narrative, which was earlier questioned by the world community, today stands sidelined.

The apparent global isolation that Kashmir has suffered today, especially in the Muslim world must serve as a wake-up call to the people of Kashmir, who have been banking upon OIC to sympathetically espouse the cause of Kashmir and the plight of its ever-suffering masses. The role of non-state actors based in Pakistan’s Punjab province in not just Kashmir valley but also Afghanistan and Islamic Republic of Iran has not only pushed Pakistan towards global isolation but has also dragged Kashmir valley along with it. However as a region that has witnessed over 1,00,000 deaths, thousands of enforced disappearances and a massive destruction on epic scale due to deadly and never-ending conflict, we the people of Kashmir valley can hardly afford global isolation.

The writer is a political activist, an aspiring politician who has worked as PRO to Ex CM of J&K. He holds an MBA & MPA degree, besides having worked with companies including INFOSYS TECHNOLOGIES BANGALORE. javadbeigh123@gmail.com

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