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Kashmir dispute-Emerging nuclear threat in South Asia

The PTI is in the lead with 25 seats. Source: FILE.
Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947, the Kashmir dispute has been an intractable one between the two countries. India and Pakistan fought three wars over it in1948, 1965, and 1999, but have not been able to resolve it.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir should have acceded to Pakistan because of its Muslim majority population and geographical location, however, this had not happened when Maharaja Hari Singh request military assistance from India against Pakistan.
Ultimately, Indian forces intervened and captured the state of Jammu and Kashmir. From that day Kashmir dispute has been the core issue between Pakistan and India, which also had kept the security of entire South Asia at stake because of their extensive nuclear capability.
Human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir
Thousands of Kashmiris were killed by Indian security forces in custody, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances and these human rights violations are carried out by Indian security forces under total impunity. Civilians, including women and children, have been killed in “reprisal” attacks by Indian security forces.
Hundreds of civilians including women and children have been extrajudicially executed by Indian security forces and the killings are concealed as fake encounters.
International response
The failure of diplomacy to resolve the Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India attracted international and regional attention to it. After the wars of 1948, 1962 and 1965, determined efforts were made to resolve this issue. In 1948, the United Nations became deeply involved but India didn’t show flexibility.
A 2010 US State Department report cited extrajudicial killings by the Indian security forces in Kashmir as a major human rights problem in India. The international community, human rights organizations as well as NGOs often expressed their sadness and regret over the human rights violations in Kashmir.
On extrajudicial executions, they warned India that “all of these draconian laws had no place in a functioning democracy and should be scrapped.
On 14 June 2018 for the first time ever UN human rights council released a report of 49 pages on human rights violations in Kashmir and accused India of the issue.
The report also urges to set up a COI to investigate the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir. Pakistan welcomed the step while India rejected, saying the report violates India’s sovereignty.
Further India said facts in the report are not authentic and misleading; use of term armed group instead of terrorist group and leaders instead of terrorists is not acceptable.
Modi’s aggressive ‘Hindutva’ project
August is immensely important in the history of the Asian subcontinent, marking the month that India and Pakistan gained independence from the British in 1947.
In 2019, it has once again proved momentous, when PM Narendra Modi’s government revoked the autonomy of Indian-administered Kashmir – a status provided for under the Indian Constitution.
This latest move was a manifesto pledge from Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims that Kashmir’s autonomy has hindered its development while fostering an area of thriving terrorism and smuggling.
The main aim of the project was that Modi’s BJP is brazenly trying to change Kashmir’s ethnic composition to disadvantage India’s Muslim minority by encouraging more Hindus into the region.
Soon, thousands of troops were deployed and the valley region faced unprecedented lockdown. Modi’s move to tether the Muslim majority of Kashmir is a gamble that could trigger conflict with Pakistan while reigniting an insurgency that has already cost tens of thousands of lives.
New political map and ‘Youm-e-Istehsal’ 
In response, PM Imran Khan had unveiled a “new political map” of Pakistan which also included occupied Kashmir.
The premier’s announcement came a day ahead of the first anniversary of India’s controversial unilateral decision to revoke the area’s semi-autonomy.
The map clearly identifies occupied Kashmir as a “disputed territory” and states that the final status will be decided in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
The map rejects the illegal steps taken by India on August 5 last year, he said, adding that the federal cabinet and the country’s political leadership had supported it.
This gives a clear message to the people of Kashmir that the government of Pakistan was with them in the past and will stand with them in the future.
While the nation is observing ‘Youm-e-Istehsal’ today to express solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri people on completion of the one-year military siege of Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Dangerous tensions and nuclear options
In the wake of India’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status, there are two key questions. First, will it be beneficial to Kashmir as claimed by Modi’s government? The situation on the ground would suggest not.
After one-year of curfew and lockdown, protests have turned violent. The Indian government has been unable to restore peace in the valley despite the increasing atrocities. According to news reports, 4,000 people have been arrested and several were killed since the territory lost its status.
Second, how is the situation affecting the already tense relations between India and Pakistan The situation threatens to reignite this conflict with both countries cautioning the world about the nuclear option.
India and Pakistan need to engage in combined bilateral talks
The normal relations between India and Pakistan on Kashmir would bring benefits to the region. Indo-Pak tensions are especially dangerous because they bring two nuclear states on the brink of war.
India and Pakistan need to engage in combined bilateral talks on all important issues. Continuing tensions over Kashmir will weaken any initiative to bring stability to South Asia as well as bring about the risk of a nuclear war. It will be quite right by assuming that Kashmir is the root cause of much of the militancy in South Asia.
It is quite essential for the world community to realize that peace and stability in South Asia can only be guaranteed if all outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India, including the Kashmir dispute, should be resolved because Pakistan has become a frontline state against the Global War of terrorism.
External help from the world community crucial
With this nuclear threat ever-present, the situation in Kashmir is now one of the most dangerous in the world. Since the two countries have consistently failed to make any progress, external help from the international community and the UN is crucial in resolving the conflict and preventing further escalation.
The best solution of the Kashmir dispute could be the right to self-determination which should be given to Kashmiris in order to give them the right to decide to whom they want to accede.
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