There is no clear condemnation of the Indian action in occupied Kashmir though, the United States (US) has finally expressed concern over the oppressive curbs the Kashmiris have been braving since August 5. Alice Wells, the top State Department official for South Asia, says the US “hopes to see rapid action” by India to undo the restrictions on supplies and communications in the occupied territory; to set the detained civilians and leaders free, and to resume political engagement with local leaders. Wells, at a recent media briefing, has also reiterated President Donald Trump’s willingness to mediate to ease tensions between Pakistan and India over the disputed territory.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has time and again expressed his belief that the “US, being the most powerful country in the world, is the only country that could mediate between Pakistan and India and resolve the Kashmir issue”. President Trump has, on more than an occasion, offered to mediate between the two countries. But his “only if both agree” condition means that practically there are no chances of mediation as India has historically been averse to a third-party mediation on the Kashmir dispute and continues to stick to the stance. What do then the repeated offers of mediation by President Trump mean? And how far will the US concerns on the ongoing Kashmir situation – expressed by Wells – help ease the sufferings of the Kashmiris?
Should President Trump’s soft-soaping Pakistan and his offers of mediation on Kashmir be seen in the context of the peace talks between the US and the Taliban that have now been stalled? Well, a majority of experts and observers at home don’t want to read too much into the Trump’s mediation offer and think of it as a ploy to string along Pakistan till the time the US achieves its objectives in Afghanistan. Frankly speaking, much, if not all, will depend upon how many headaches can the never-say-die Kashmiris give to the Indian occupation forces. And that there is a Burhan Wani in every other house of occupied Kashmir holds out great hopes.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2019.