India’s stripping the region of its special status remains a contentious issue. Pakistan ensured its fraternity with its Kashmiri brethrenas depicted in the slogan “Pakistan stands with Kashmir.” Islamabad has stood with Kashmir since the very partition of the subcontinent, and continues to do so till date.
More than seven decades have since passed, but the dispute of Kashmir remains the bone of contention between the two neighbors. Both countries have fought three wars, and among them, two wars were over the status of Kashmir. And then there were two very close calls in 1987 at Siachen and in 1999 at Kargil. The valley re- mains at the heart of all excursions.
For Pakistan, the Kashmir conflict is important and sensitive. Islamabad identifies the conflict similar to the separation of the two states, Pakistan and India, from British rule based on religion. The Islamic Republic, the only one with its origins, has insisted since day one that New Delhi cannot ignore Kashmir as a Muslim majority region, and it rejects the attempts of New Delhi to legitimize control over Srinagar.
New Delhi rejects the claim of Islamabad and wants to change the status quo. It wants a presence in the region for reasons that can only be stated as obstructive. Thus a history of atrocities by the Indian government has unfolded. However, Kashmiris stand resilient and steadfast with regards to their demand for self-determination.
The international community bears witness to how Indian state terrorism, extra-judicial killings of in- nocent Kashmiris, unprecedented restrictions on freedom of speech, fake encounters, cordon-and-search operations, custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances,
incarceration of Kashmiri leadership and youth, use of pellet guns, de- struction and burning of houses to inflict ‘collective punishment’ on the Kashmiris communities, and other methods of subjugation. All of these methods have failed to shake the spirit of the Kashmiri people in their justified struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination.
This has continued with New Del- hi’s attempt to subjugate Indian administered part of Jammu Kashmir with a strict lockdown and communications blackout since Au- gust 5, 2019. The basic freedoms of assembly, association, expression and movement have been violated while the economy stands crippled.
Islamabad has condemned New Del- hi’s unconstitutional decision. Imran Khan sided with awe-stricken Kashmiris when he called out these unilateral actions, military siege, and communications blockade accompanied by illegal measures to bring about demographic change in the valley. This exposed the sinister designs of RSS-inspired’ Hindutva’ ideology.