Thu, 19 Sep 2019

Doha [Qatar], Sep 12 (ANI): At a time when Pakistan has been ranting up false narrative on Kashmir to divert international attention over its so-called "Indian aggression" in the region, the world community should not overlook the role that the former had played in initiating the crisis after the two neighbouring countries gained independence in 1947.

Last month, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had penned an opinion article for The New York Times, wherein he made false assertions against India while trying to rake up the nuclear bogey.

"It is imperative that the international community think beyond trade and business advantages. World War II happened because of appeasement at Munich. A similar threat looms over the world again, but this time under the nuclear shadow," Khan wrote.

However, while making such assertions Khan completely forgot that Pakistan itself had shown little commitment to Kashmiris' right of self-determination over the past decades, Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui wrote in an opinion piece published in Al Jazeera.

Like previous Pakistani premiers, Khan sought to present Pakistan as a champion of the Kashmiri cause but completely ignored how his own country, during the independence, broke an agreement with the then Kashmiri Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Singh over maintaining 'Kashmiriyat' or secularism of Kashmir and had sent in Pashtun tribesmen to the region in a bid to take control of the valley.

Following this move, Pakistan had deviated from its own promises to the colonial powers who had given a choice to the two neighbouring countries whether to keep the identity of the former princely state intact.

In response, the Kashmiri ruler had asked India for help to defend his kingdom. New Delhi agreed to intervene but only if Kashmir would agree to accede to it, albeit temporarily. The conflict escalated into what has come to be known as the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948, which led to the de facto partitioning of the region by Pakistan and India.

In 1948, the United Nations passed a resolution, according to which Pakistan was supposed to withdraw its forces first (as it acted as an aggressor), while India was to maintain a minimum military presence until an independence referendum was held to let Kashmiris decide their own future. However, Pakistan did not abide by that resolution.

In 1999, Pakistan once again attempted to infiltrate the valley using its military in a move that was succeeded by the Kargil War.

In the following two decades, Pakistan-based groups have been repeatedly accused of carrying out terrorist activities, not just in Kashmir but also in mainland India.

From the 2001 attack on the parliament in New Delhi to the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, to recent attacks in Pathankot and Pulwama, these aggressive tactics have sealed India's perception of the Kashmiris through the lens of its historic confrontation with Pakistan.

With its past actions and hesitancy to crack down on terror groups in its territory, Pakistan has repeatedly presented the Kashmir issue to the world as nothing more than a Pakistan-backed insurgency.

In Pakistani-administered Kashmir (PoK), no political parties can contest the general elections if they do not agree to an accession agreement to Pakistan. Because of that, only Pakistan-based political parties end up participating and winning elections in the region.

Also, most of the bureaucracy and civil service is controlled by Islamabad, and a body called the Kashmir Council headed by the Pakistani prime minister oversees all government affairs.

Moreover, Pakistan has made efforts to absorb the region into Pakistan by carving out parts of its territory - the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region - and by creating a separate entity for it in the 1970s.

The Pakistani authorities took away GB's special status and until today it is governed by Islamabad directly.

If Pakistan is sincere about the Kashmir cause and cares for the wellbeing of its people, then it must first demonstrate its commitment at home.

It can do so only by putting an end to rights abuses and letting Kashmiris decide their own fate. (ANI)

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