FEB 5, today, is being observed as the Kashmir Solidarity Day in the country and elsewhere. The day has been marked since the mid-1990s, but it gained significance after India stripped Kashmir off its special status by revoking Article 370 and 35A in August 2019. Pakistan has, indeed, given moral support to the oppressed Kashmiris for over seven decades whose lives have become worse under the draconian rule of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under its fascist leader, Narendra Modi.

The silence of the world community, especially of the United Nations, has been rather deafening all along. Pakistan can still explore options to keep the issue alive at the international level for support from the global community. But in order to keep the issue internationalised, first it is vital for Pakistan to resolve its political issues as well as economic woes.

Pakistan, along with China, must also engage other big powers, like Russia, to put pressure on India to withdraw the brutal measures and to restore Kashmir’s previous status. India’s blatant violations of UN resolutions and human rights are no secret. Pakistan only needs to highlight those violations and atrocities at every forum to seek justice for the Kashmiris.

The people in Kashmir have been living under oppression for decades, but change in its special status has brought about an unprecedented wave of draconian laws that are also changing the demographics of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir valley.

The Palestine issue is discussed internationally and we need to put Kashmir’s case, too, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to end the Indian atrocities against our Kashmiri brethren.

Moreover, Pakistani diplomatic missions have a heavy responsibility of highlighting the issue and fighting for the cause of the Kashmiris. Pakistani diplomats must act to counter

Indian lobby across the world by presenting the facts and history of the Kashmir issue.

The media has done well to highlight the issue, but efforts on this count need to be intensified. Other than the local media, international media outlets should be involved in discussing and advocating the cause of the Kashmiris.

Last but not least, Pakistan should also promote its soft image to counter India’s persistent narrative of Pakistan being a terror-sponsoring state, which has weakened Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue significantly.

While the opening of the Kartarpur corridor was a major step in the right direction, Pakistan needs to take more measures to prove to the world that it is a peace-loving state, and it is owing to India’s belligerence that the region has been a global flashpoint for so long.

Baqaullah
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2023

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