Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hostage to hostility

Alauddin Masood 
October 11, 2015

The subcontinent remains marred in abject poverty due to Indian expansionist designs

India’s response to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s offer of resuming peace process between India and Pakistan was replete with hostility. To reduce tensions, Nawaz Sharif had suggested four steps, while addressing the UN General Assembly’s 70th annual session. These included ceasefire along the LoC in Kashmir, end to threats by either country; demilitarisation of Kashmir and Siachen Glacier.

In response to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s offer of demilitarisation, the Indian External Affairs Ministry asked Pakistan to vacate its part of Kashmir first, adding “de-militarising Kashmir could not happen without de-terrorising Pakistan, the prime sponsor of terrorism.”

If we glean over the pages of history, we find that since independence in 1947, India has sponsored violence, invaded and captured a number of states. On November 9, 1947, it occupied Junagadh although the State had officially acceded to Pakistan on August 15, 1947. By 1954, it displaced Portuguese rule from Damam and Diau. India invaded Portuguese territory of Goa and took it over in 1961. Later, it also annexed Portuguese territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where it had earlier incited people to rise against the Portuguese rule. In 1973, India forcibly captured Sikkim. Through Tamils of Indian-origin settled in Sri Lanka, India made attempts to create an independent Tamil-speaking state on the island. After facing insurgency for over two decades, Colombo could finally root out the Indian-inspired terrorism from its soil.

Earlier, months after the partition of the subcontinent, India attacked and fraudulently annexed the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir, which should have logically joined Pakistan, as per principles governing the accession of princely states.

When one views India’s track record of creating trouble in neighbouring states, or de-stabilising them through agent-provocateurs, attacking and forcibly capturing a number of independent states one after the other, it is naïve to expect that anybody would take India’s suggestion of vacating troops “first” while Indian forces, numbering over 700,000, continued to forcibly keep the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir in shackles.

Due to expansionist designs and insurgency inspired by New Delhi, the South Asia subcontinent — home to almost one-fourth of the global population — remains marred in abject poverty because a major part of funds that would have been routinely spent on the socio-economic well-being of the people, find their way to meeting the urgent defence needs. One need not over-emphasise that almost all countries within the fold of Saarc feel impelled to divert a major chunk of their funds towards protecting and safeguarding their territories from the hegemon.
At the time of partition, there were over 500 princely states in India, who were given the option to either join Pakistan or India. Being a Muslim majority state, an overwhelming majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to accede to Pakistan, but India invaded and forcibly took control of it.

Even India’s annual defence budget, which exceeds $50 billion, is an indicator of New Delhi’s expansionist designs. It is more than seven times higher than Pakistan’s annual defence budget, which stands at $7 billion. India’s defence budget even exceeds the combined annual defence spending of Australia and Canada, which is $26.1 billion and $15.7 billion respectively.

India’s continued occupation of Jammu and Kashmir is a travesty of history. At the time of partition, there were over 500 princely states in India, who were given the option to either join Pakistan or India, keeping in view their geographical proximity and the will of the majority of their people. Being a Muslim majority state, an overwhelming majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to accede to Pakistan, but India invaded and forcibly took control of a major part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

About two decades before the partition, the people of Kashmir had revolted against the tyrannical rule of the Hindu raja. To escape from the people’s wrath, the raja fled from Srinagar, the state capital, months before the partition. When Indian troops landed in the State, the people of Jammu and Kashmir did not accept the Indian occupation, took up arms to expel the invading army from their territories and succeeded, with the support of their brethren-in-faith from the North, in liberating some areas and establishing there Azad (independent) Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

When India approached the UN, the world body decided that the fate of Jammu and Kashmir should be decided by granting the people of the State their right to self-determination. In short, the Kashmir issue has emerged, over the years, as a crucial problem concerning self-determination and human rights of Kashmiri people, who have been agitating against alien rule since 1930s.

Until 1947, the antagonism of the Kashmiris was mainly directed against the tyrannical rule of Hindu Raja, who had bought the state from the British for a paltry sum of money. However, since 1948, Kashmiris are struggling against India’s forcible occupation of their state. Initially, Kashmiris tried peaceful means, but New Delhi always resorted to brute force to suppress their freedom struggle. India has so far refused to implement the UN Security Council resolutions that promise self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

To keep their control over the State, India has turned the entire Jammu and Kashmir into an army garrison. Since 1989, over 700,000 Indian troops are stationed in the State. The Indian forces have martyred more than 100,000 civilian Kashmiris, widowed and raped thousands of women, and orphaned innocent children numbering many times more. Independent human rights organisations have confirmed the existence of over 6,000 un-named mass graves in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

As regards terrorism, Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism inspired, funded and sponsored by India and some of its allies. Pakistan has prepared a set of three documents containing evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi. Pakistan would have handed over these documents to India if New Delhi had not closed the doors of negotiations. Meanwhile, Pakistan has shared these documents with the United Nations on October 1, and through it with the global community.

It is the responsibility of the global community, especially countries that aspire for leadership roles in the world, to see that the legitimate aspirations and rights long denied to people are granted to them in keeping with the UN resolutions. Eradicating their cause for anger would promote global peace and stability.

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