It has been 100 days since India annexed the semi-autonomous region of Jammu and Kashmir and imposed a debilitating curfew and communication blackout. Pakistan has vowed to raise the issue at every forum but it seems the issue is being placed on the back-burner and matters such as the Azadi March and the release of Nawaz Sharif are taking precedence.
The Hindu nationalist government in India abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in a cloak-and- dagger manner; it banned the political assembly, turned off the internet and cellular services, stifled the freedom of residents, and placed nearly all political leaders under house arrest.
Now the advent of winter and heavy snowfall has further increased miseries of residents in the restive region as there has been massive damage to apple orchards. Horticulture is the biggest industry in occupied Kashmir but the valley has been cut off from the rest of the country.
There are also reports coming out from the Kashmir valley that Indian forces are arresting teenage boys seen outside their house as if being a teenager is a crime in the territory. Many of the young boys were detained for weeks and even tortured in police lock-ups. The biggest lockdown in seventy years has forced limited-to-no movement of people in the Kashmir valley for over three months.
Dozens of journalists working with different media organisations held a silent protest in Srinagar- the capital of held Kashmir- against the continued suspension of internet services. They were seen holding their laptops with blank screens or placards with the words “100 days no internet”. Tensions still remain high as shops and businesses remain shut and children are unable to attend school.
Pakistan has reiterated its desire to continue moral and diplomatic support to the oppressed people of Kashmir. The issue was being raised around the world with powerfully worded speeches. However, the narrative seems to have subsided over issues such as the Azadi March or the imminent departure of Nawaz Sharif from the country.
The common man is also more concerned about pressing bread-and-butter issues; he can no longer afford to worry over India’s attempt to change the demography of Kashmir. Pakistan needs a renewed strategy to keep the issue alive among the people while vigorously raising the dispute around the world.
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