Kashmir Solidarity Day or Kashmir Day is a national holiday observed in Pakistan on February 5 annually. On this day the Pakistani establishment pledges to continue with its ‘moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris for their ‘inalienable right to self-determination. This “magnanimous” gesture of Pakistan’s establishment is widely appreciated by its progenies in Kashmir, especially by the self-exiled diaspora. Meanwhile, over a whole year from one February 5 to another, hundreds of Kashmiris including militants, civilians, policemen, and security forces personnel get killed as part of the manufactured conflict imposed on Kashmir. The whole year, Pakistan enjoys the killings for political and diplomatic reasons. The pretence of grief comes to the fore on February 5.
Pakistan’s Grand Positioning Vis-à-vis Its Ugly Realities
Pakistan has been projecting itself as Kashmir’s protector. This projection is so hollow. For 32 years, the blood of Kashmiris has spilled over the streets, at encounter sites, at sites of violent protests, in the countryside when ‘unknown gunmen’ force their way into the houses of unarmed policemen, those labeled as informers, traitors and the like – and kill them.
These militants, whom Pakistan chooses to label as rebels, often fire at soft targets outside mosques and kill them. Naked threats are issued to soft targets – mainly policemen, political workers, and journalists – in designated blogs and social media platforms. For the killings of the innocent perpetrated by the militants, Pakistan remains mute. For some killings, it justifies the militants. And for other killings, it washes off its hands and puts the blame on Indian security forces. For the whole year, this bloodbath is commended and applauded by Pakistan and is wrapped in the narrative of “freedom struggle”. Kashmiris are provoked and motivated for the whole year to kill fellow Kashmiris and get killed themselves. As if this was not sufficient, Pakistan sends its own nationals as terror operatives in Kashmir to always keep the valley on the boil. It sends its nationals as human bombs make Kashmir bleed. Indian security forces respond to the violent provocations, and in the process, more Kashmiris are killed.
If Pakistan Is Sincere, Let It Initiate The Solution
Pakistan made Kashmir the arena of its war with India. It made Kashmir the war zone. In this war imposed upon us, the violation of human rights followed. The question that merits an answer from the Pakistani establishment is this. What does this solidarity day mean for them when everything that leads to death and destruction in Kashmir has the firm print of Pakistan. Through the bullets of the militants or the counter-insurgency action by state forces, it is Kashmiris who die. The militants hold Pakistan-supplied guns on their shoulders. Those in the state forces who get killed are Kashmiris. At times unfortunate Kashmiris get killed in the fight between the guns pitted at each other. Pakistan continues to build its Kashmir narrative on the basis of these killings. It uses these killings for scoring diplomatic goals across the globe. Kashmiris continue to be the raw material for this war. What is the way out? Let us presume that Pakistan is truly concerned about the human rights of Kashmiris. How can this be proved? Let us also presume that the intentions of the Indian state vis a vis Kashmir are not good. How can Pakistan make the world realise this?
If Pakistan is honest in its claim that it is the saviour of Kashmiris, it is not difficult for it to expose the Indian state. Pakistan should stop sending arms and drugs to Kashmir. Pakistan should stop sending mercenaries to Kashmir. Pakistan should dismantle the terror training camps operating in secure zones on its soil. After Pakistan ticks all these boxes, it shall be a litmus test for the Indian state. When the last gun and the last terrorist pushed in by Pakistan falls silent in Kashmir, the test for the Indian state shall begin.
Will Pakistan do it? No.
Will the Indian soldiers stop responding to militants? No.
Pakistan Needs To Walk The Talk
Pakistan should finally drop the pretence. By observing Solidarity Day, Pakistan is doing exactly what its trusted pawn Syed Ali Geelani did for 31 years. He would identify the soft targets, particularly among his detractors, political and ideological rivals, and competitors. He would get them killed and then wail over their dead bodies. Syed Ali Geelani would console the bereaved families the same way Pakistan expresses solidarity with bereaved Kashmiris every year on this day after killing them. This mockery should end now. If Pakistan wants to walk the talk, it should end cross-border terrorism forthwith and then hold the Indian state accountable for its actions in Kashmir. As things stand, Pakistan inflicts wounds on Kashmiris year after year, and then rubs salt on the wounds by its duplicity. Let this sink in.
Pakistan’s Pursuit To Isolate Kashmir From Its Liberal and Democratic Social Moorings
Back home, Pakistan has realized the potential dangers of religious orthodoxy. There are some efforts, though late, by Pakistan to build its soft power and project the face of religious tolerance and liberal thought. It faces huge challenges internally, much of its own creation. Extremist religious bodies have occupied the central space in Pakistan’s social, political, and economic discourse for long. They are not willing to budge. The Pakistani Army has been engaged in a pushback against the religious extremists. In India, it tenaciously deepens the orthodoxy template. The armed militants, theologists, and its political progenies in Kashmir have consistently pushed Kashmir into regression. This transition took decades primarily because Kashmir has been a progressive and liberal society that aligned well with the secular and democratic India. Why has Pakistan hammered at the essential Kashmiri ethos? The effort has been to isolate it from its liberal and democratic social moorings and shift it towards its own orthodoxy. This is part of Pakistan’s two-nation theory project. The objective is to align Kashmir to its narrative of the so-called unfinished agenda of the Partition. Deep and persistent indoctrination constantly pushes at Kashmir’s transition. The terror of the gun moors it to that space. The existence of the Kashmiris has visibly shrunk.
Why Hasn’t Pakistan Made POK The Referral Point For Human Rights And Good Governance?
How sincere Pakistan is to Kashmir and Kashmiris should be adjudged by the socio-economic and political realities of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Going by Pakistan’s posturing on Kashmir, POK should have been the reference point in terms of the human rights index. Its governance should have again been a reference point to corner the Indian state. The grim realities of POK that we witness falsify Pakistan’s grand positioning on Kashmir.
On Kashmir Solidarity Day, Pakistan counts the Kashmiris who fell to the bullets. It only talks about the killings of combatants and non-combatants. It does not count the silent deaths sweeping across Kashmir, caused by the narcotics web that it has woven over the valley. Had it been truly concerned about Kashmiris, Pakistan would not pump in narcotics here, which is consuming our youth and destroying families.
Let Pakistan Begin The Count Of Who Killed Whom
Pakistan expresses solidarity with Kashmiris, especially those who are killed in this violent conflict. At the same time, Pakistan must come out with the statistics of who fell to the bullets fired by whom. 15 journalists have been killed so far in Kashmir. All fell to Pakistani bullets. Pakistan should also come up with the statistics on who killed the Kashmiris who owed allegiance to one or the other political parties in Kashmir. Hundreds of political workers and so-called police informers were consumed by the terror network of Pakistan. All those Kashmiris who were killed by Pakistan-trained militants or the mercenaries pushed in here – their families were told to forget the loss and move on. Consider these realities too, on the so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day.