Tension in Kashmir
Tension is at an all time high along the Line of Control (LoC) after Indian troops resorted to using cluster bombs on civilians in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Imran Khan called a meeting of the National Security Committee to discuss the usage of banned munitions by Indian troops and reports of Indian government’s efforts to scrap the special status of Indian held Kashmir from the Indian constitution. The intensity of the situation demands that the government also reach out to the political leadership of the country to create a consensus on the policy to tackle the provoking and jingoistic steps of the Hindu nationalist government in New Delhi. Government after government has done so in times of crises and it helps build the morale of negotiators and troops. Since the Hindu nationalist Bharti Janata Party came to power, it has tried in one way or another to up the game in the scenic valley to keep it drenched in blood. Over the past few years, besides using deadly pellet guns on unarmed civilians and leaving scores of people blind or maimed, it has increased ceasefire and airspace violations along the Line of Control.
Besides building a consensus on the domestic front, the government should also take its case to international stakeholders and reach out to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, OIC, European Union and the US to play their role in stopping blatant murder of innocent civilians in Kashmir. Diplomats stationed in Pakistan should be shown the evidence of Indian artillery using cluster ammunition. This is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian laws as the use of cluster ammunition is prohibited because of its severe impact on non-combatants. Also, the recent military buildup in the already heavily militarised Indian held Kashmir, besides Indian warning to civilians to stock up food and fuel, is worrisome. Such steps have forced tourists to abandon their trips and leave the valley depriving the local population of their only source of livelihood.
Recent actions by the Indian government are not really surprising. By ordering tourists to leave it can control information, leaving little room for the media and the general public across the world to know the facts. Also, sane quarters in the BJP and India should question the Modi government’s policies in Kashmir. The recent back-to-back statements by US President Donald Trump, offering mediation, should be enough for the Modi government to understand that its missteps are being watched over the world over.
Cracks in the opposition