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A pragmatic approach needed

On Monday, Pakistan rose in unison to show solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir “in the struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination under the United Nations (UN) resolution’. The day was officially observed as holiday throughout Pakistan. Human chains, rallies, and massive protests were held at different places. The Day is observed every year on February 5 by Pakistan government to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The day was first observed in 1990s on the call given by then Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Qazi Hussain Ahmad. The day was also observed by Pakistanis and PAK people in the U.S., Britain, Belgium, and other European countries. The highlight of the day-long protests was the moment of silence, bringing traffic across the country to a halt for a minute as a mark of solidarity with the Kashmiris. The solidarity day was observed amid heightening tension between India and Pakistan. The two hostile neighbours are at the war as the rival armies have been unendingly firing at each other. On Sunday four Indian soldiers, one of them an officer of a captain’s rank, were killed in firing from Pakistan side. As many as 130 Pakistan soldiers have died and many others wounded in firing from Indian soldiers on the line of control (LOC), last year. Indian army suffered 38 fatal and 70 non-fatal casualties during the same period at the hands of Pakistan army. Inside Kashmir the situation is quite is no less uneasy. The uncontrolled deaths, both, of civilians and militants keep the valley on boil. The ghastly killing of three unarmed youth by army at Ganaopora village in Shopian, last week, is a grim reminder of the happenings in Kashmir. More than 100 civilian have fallen to the bullets and pellets of security forces, thousands others have got wounded since July 2016 when a rebellion of sorts erupted in Kashmir streets after the killing of Hizb command Burhan Wani. Hundreds of protesting civilians have lost their eyesight. Pakistan government asked India to end the ‘bloodbath it is carrying out in Occupied Kashmir and allow a free and fair plebiscite to be held in the disputed region under the auspices of the United Nations’. Pakistan Prime Minister, while addressing a joint session of Pakistan administered Kashmir assembly called upon the international community to raise its voice in “seeking an end to the gross violations of human rights and the reign of terror unleashed in Kashmir and fulfil the promises it made with the people of Jammu and Kashmir 70 years ago”.
India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since the inception of the dispute in 1947. They have fought three wars (besides a limited war in Kargil) since then but the issue still remains unresolved. The involvement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who rose in arms against Indian rule in 1990, added a new dimension to the dispute with the people of Jammu and Kashmir emerging as principal party to the dispute. Unofficial figures say that more than one lakh people have died in Jammu and Kashmir over the past 27 years. The peoples’ involvement in the dispute touched new heights in 2008, 2010 and 2016 when unarmed civilians hit streets in millions to seek the end of Indian rule. Indian response, however, remained unchanged. It used all its military might to crush the rebellion—the 2016 experience remaining the worst. Though the streets in Kashmir have turned somewhat silent but the war of words between Islamabad and Delhi has become hotter. Despite being two of the world’s poorest countries where more than half of populations lives below the poverty line, have egos of an elephant’s size with regard to the dispute. While Pakistan considers it an unfinished agenda of partition, India calls it integral part. Both are spending their reserves on military advancement while completely ignoring the fact that their citizens lack basic human necessities. In the race, both the countries have gone nuclear, making the region in particular and the world in general more vulnerable to destruction. But the most unfortunate part of it is that the international community has turned a blind eye to the impending dangers in Indo-Pak subcontinent. The people and the governments of the two regions understand this well but their egos come in their way, and they behave like alpha-males who focus on proving his masculinity. The resolution of Kashmir issue, sooner or later, has to be resolved. We cannot go with the problem anymore. That needs a pragmatic approach by the leadership on both sides of the border.