By Faraz Chandio
Repeal of the special status of India-occupied Kashmir (IoK) by BJP-led government would have catastrophic ramifications for the entire region, including Pakistan and India.
Grave consequences for the region range from surging extremism and terrorism, the revival of Kashmiri militant movements and disruption of the Afghan peace process to the risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
There is a consensus that the Kashmir dispute is linked to rising extremism and terrorism in South Asia. The latest atrocities against Muslims in IoK, after scraping of Article 370, will accelerate these issues. The entire Muslim population of the region, irrespective of their sect or ideology, is on the same page. They are eager to fight India to salvage the suffering of Kashmiri brothers. Besides, during Friday sermons, Muslims are urged to wage war against India. The problem is not their massive support for the residents of IoK. But, the issue is exploitation of their emotions by some militant organisations like banned Jaish-e-Mohammad and the most dangerous ones, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.
Hence, these groups will get an ample opportunity to recruit young Muslims, not only to fight Indian army in IoK but also wreak havoc within their countries and turn against their states for not invading India to prevent New Delhi’s brutalities.
The tactics employed by Modi can disrupt the Afghan peace process. Very recently, the political settlement of Afghanistan has entered into the crucial phase after Imran Khan’s visit to the US. At this stage, Modi’s sinister measure can divert the attention of Pakistan from Afghan peace settlement to IoK because the political settlement of Afghanistan, with Taliban being a major shareholder, is against the national interest of India.
Modi’s sinister measure can divert the attention of Pakistan from Afghan peace settlement to IoK because the political settlement of Afghanistan is against the national interest of India
Any misadventure by India along the LoC may turn the crisis into a wider military conflagration between India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan said, during his speech in Azad Kashmir’s parliament, that his intelligence had received credible information that India had made a plan to attack Azad Kashmir to divert global attention from human rights abuses in IoK to Indo-Paki war. The Indian folly will certainly bring the two nuclear powers on the brink of war.
The repercussions of the reckless move are graver for India itself. It seems that the BJP-led government has done blunder on its part by creating a crisis in India-occupied Kashmir.
The blunder of Modi will give fresh impetus to the indigenous freedom struggle, leading to the independence of IoK from India. Modi has alienated some important leaders of IoK, like Mehbooba Mufti, who sided with India in the past, by detaining and putting them in house arrest. These leaders may form a coherent political movement by drawing together all the important elements of Kashmiri freedom fighter to resist the brutality of India and liberate IoK. Besides, it can be reached from the history of Jammu and Kashmir that India cannot win Kashmir through coercive means. Kashmiris have always responded to the Indian brute use of force and never let themselves down before Indian aggression. Hence, the coercive measures of India, this time, to annex IoK, will further aggravate the already alarming situation and give rise to the freedom struggle.
Moreover, Modi’s move in IoK violates international law and resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed region. Attempting to change the demographics of the region violates article 49 of the Geneva Convention. Thus, the revoking of special-status of IoK not only maligns the image of India at the global level but also confirms its status as an illegal occupier of Jammu and Kashmir.
Furthermore, it will bring countries like China, Russia and the US on a single platform to prevent the crisis from turning into a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Since the new leadership of the US, under Trump, has already offered to mediate in the issue and seems interested in resolving international conflicts, he might (hopefully) chastise India and force her for compromise. Strong reactions are emanating from Muslims against her and the crisis is sowing the seeds of militant groups.
In addition to this, IoK is India’s Achilles heel. The additional military deployment will squander the resources of India and dwindle its capability to afford aggression against Pakistan. At present, around 700, 000 soldiers are deployed in IoK. These numbers will multiply the military expenditure of India.
For Pakistan, the desire of Imran Khan to forge good mutual relations with India and find the solution of their thorny issues through negotiation evaporates into the thin air. At present, Pakistani people view Modi as evil. Chances of good relation with India will remain a distant dream now.
Under current circumstances, it will be a difficult challenge for Pakistan to keep the Kashmiri militant groups under watch and prevent them from carrying out attacks across the LoC. By arresting Hafiz Saeed, Islamabad seems to have decided to dismantle the groups. However, these groups will gain strength and create problems for Pakistan now.
Pakistan has been put in the grey list by FATF because of its failure to completely dry up the finance of militant groups. At present, FATF cell has been set up and attached to FBR to monitor donation of these groups making the desire of Islamabad crystal clear to eliminate terror finance. However, the crisis of Kashmir will make this task difficult, as the chances of donation to these groups will multiply from Kashmiri sympathizers.
Pakistan is undergoing economic reforms and cannot afford to have a military engagement at this time. However, continued violations of LoC may divert the attention of Pakistan from economy to military. General Asif Ghafoor has already warned of stronger military response in case of Indian misadventure along the LoC.Thus, violence perpetrated by India, after scraping Article 370, carries grave consequence for the entire region and may turn the crisis into a wider military conflagration between India and Pakistan. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the international community and organisations to help pacify the issue before it becomes too late.
The writer is an author and Journalist