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I’VE never been so emotional on a plane journey than on Aug 5. I received news of Article 370 and 35A being abrogated on a flight from Srinagar to New Delhi. I couldn’t believe that the news was true.

When the flight landed I felt I like a lost orphan. The Delhi that I used to admire looked like a jungle. I boarded the metro and met a Kashmiri Pandit, who had also landed in New Delhi. We started talking and he remarked that the bright future of our children had been snatched at the stroke of a pen.

I suspect it was US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue that spurred Indian Prime Minister Modi to commit this act.

I fear that life which was already tough for the Kashmiris will become even more unbearable now that the India’s Bharatiya Janata Party government has sealed the valley, including Jammu, and there are jackboots literally outside every home.

It is not just the BJP, Congress leaders are no saints either for they have time and again interfered in the affairs of the occupied state and dismissed many a chief minister for imagined slights. Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru is to blame for this mess as it is he who brought misery on the Kashmiri people.

Is war with Pakistan inevitable? One hopes not as the Pakistanis have displayed maturity and wisdom in reacting to India’s perfidy. But then it will only take one miscalculation to start Armageddon. To quote from former finance minister Palaniappan Chidmambaram’s speech in the Rajya Sabhha, the BJP may have unleashed forces that it cannot control.

Meanwhile the people of occupied Kashmir are preparing for a long struggle to achieve their rights and freedom.I may not be able to write again as I am returning to Kashmir to resist the occupation and the oppression. Let the world know Kashmir has already rejected Hindutva rule.

Anguished Kashmiri

Occupied Srinagar, J&K

(2)

IT seems India could not tolerate Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the US, and President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation on the Kashmir dispute. The Indian government acted in haste and in the bargain has threatened the region’s — nay the world’s — peace and security.

New Delhi has ordered inhuman measures to tighten its grip on the occupied valley like snatching the right of freedom of expression, suspending phone and internet services, evacuating tourists and incarcerating leading Kashmiri leaders to suppress their voice which only demand the right of self-determination.

No matter the number and level of atrocities and brutalities that New Delhi resorts to, the Kashmiri people will emerge victorious in their quest for freedom. And Pakistan stands with them.

It is owing to Pakistan’s efforts that the world has become aware of India’s brutalities in occupied Kashmir. Pakistan should approach all world organisations and forums to raise the Kashmir issue.

This Aug 14 we should celebrate our Independence Day with renewed fervour and vow to strive for the rights our Kashmiri brethren. Every Pakistani should take to twitter, facebook and other sites to protest against Indian aggression and the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Baqir Ali Memon

Nawabshah

(3)

REVOKING Article 370 and 35-A by New Delhi amounts to removing the last strand of hope for the Kashmiri people. Now they have no alternative except to start a war of liberation. New Delhi knows that the Indian stance is neither acceptable nor just.

Pakistan, however, needs to exercise caution and patience. Islamabad needs to speak more firmly to the world’s leaders. Foremost among them is US President Donald Trump who expressed willingness to mediate between Pakistan and India. Let us give peace a chance before exploring other options.

Basit Anwar

Besham Shangla Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

(4)

THE fascist mindset is strange in nature. Its insane actions might bring some instant gratification and for a brief moment create an impression that muscle is mightier than sanity, but it ultimately leads to disaster.

Narendra Modi’s India tried to roll itself in Kashmir by sheer force and by persecution of Kashmiris. But how long can this continue?

By abolishing the special status of Kashmir India has become a violator of international treaties.

The status of Kashmir will stay disputed because a mere change in the constitution of a country doesn’t change the status of a bilateral issue over a territory.

It will be malafide to have ‘new money’ in occupied Kashmir by allowing people from outside the valley to purchase lands and start businesses. But India must remember that it is still a developing and impoverished country and doesn’t have the capacity to manifest itself like a superpower.

In my opinion, Pakistan doesn’t need to worry about it at all because nothing has changed as far as the issue of Kashmir is concerned. India has just damaged its credibility, and India’s status in Kashmir is nothing more than that of an aggressor.

Aggression never wins hearts and minds. If there are any doubts just look at Iraq and Afghanistan. America, the most powerful country in the history of the world, couldn’t convince its people to agree to its policies. So, what India does think of itself being a country where 60 per cent of the people live below the poverty line?

Bahadar Ali Khan

Toronto, Canada

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2019