Here lies the rub

Is Kashmir the subcontinent’s political fodder?

Within Kashmir, various political entities have always described the Kashmir issue to the best of their ideological comforts, except the so-called mainstream political groups, who always deal Kashmir issue proportionally to their own political interests.

Only British and their collaborators know better why they facilitated the creation of Kashmir problem in the first instance! A lot has been said about their intentional unjustified division and demarcation of erstwhile Punjab province at the time of partition—ambiguous Radcliffe Award in connivance with Mountbatten’s to be precise. Beyond Nehru’s close relations with Mountbatten family, his possessiveness about Kashmir influenced the divisional anomalies and subsequent Kashmir conflict. Anyway, whatever the reasons Kashmir issue is a hard fact acknowledged world over by almost all and even after seven decades stands unresolved posing a great threat to the peace in the region. India and Pakistan the other stakeholders of Kashmir other than the Kashmiris from the day one of their freedom have regrettably positioned their politics and patriotic agenda on their egoistic approach towards Kashmir issue. And till date, no one on either side of the fence has ever risked to propose or seek an amicable solution of this apparently intricate but otherwise, a simple humanitarian issue that annihilated hundreds of thousands of people through open and proxy wars, lest their own political positions get compromised.

Kashmir issue has always been viewed and portrayed by its stakeholders at their own convenience. Within Kashmir, various political entities have always described the Kashmir issue to the best of their ideological comforts, except the so-called mainstream political groups, who always deal Kashmir issue proportionally to their own political interests. The mainstream opposition in Kashmir, as usual, are at present asking for what they never followed when they were in power. Interestingly, now even after a long spell of iron fisted handling of present escalated unrest in Kashmir with the more active support of federal government the present political dispensation has started mellowing down and called for a reconciliatory approach. However, the central government pursuing its own political agenda have overturned all earlier policies of understanding—the Vajpayee doctrine etc. Instead of ‘sky is the limit’ they follow ‘jail is the destination’ policy and are out to destroy every shred of hope and reconciliation within the remaining edifying nonviolent pockets of Kashmir conflict.

The other major stakeholder on Kashmir— Pakistan has always been no less than egotistical like India and has always promoted Kashmir to its best political interests (particularly the national politics) and patriotic passions. Every leadership on that side except President Parvez Musharraf always preferred their own political constituencies and interests over any out of box peaceful resolution of Kashmir to the best satisfaction of one and all. Parvez Musharraf with his absolute authoritarian power base in the government tried to come out of the beaten tracks and suggest an out of box solution which was not only well taken by Indian authorities but considered beyond the rhetoric diplomatic handling. What made the Musharraf initiative a failure is a history now? Its failure too was more an outcome of political consideration than concern for national and regional stability. Unfortunately, the fluid political situation in Pakistan since its independence made the situation more tough for Pakistani leadership as they often had to give more attention and preference to their domestic politics than the emerging overall political situation in the subcontinent.

Regrettably, the external influence always tried to keep the Kashmir pot boiling for their own strategic interests and never allowed both India and Pakistan to move forward from their stated positions of acrimony and animosity. Instead, these powers added fuel to the conflict and in return picking their own share of dividends. For long the big powers particularly the Russia (one-time USSR) and the America played their murky role not only in the United Nations but in the region as well, providing an affordable political fodder (in their own interest) in the subcontinent and inadvertently fulfill the long-cherished wish of the British they had conceived in 1947 to have some solace from their unceremonious retreat from the region. These powers are aware of spillover of any conflict in the region but their materialistic urge and deceptive economic and political considerations compel them to look another way. The whole world knows the nuclear status of both India and Pakistan and their huge nuclear arsenal may anytime trigger a devastating conflict that will have far-reaching consequences and impact on world peace. China’s unending economic urge and its growing economic tentacles in the region has created a unique situation in the whole continent where anytime Kashmir issue will not only work as a fuse but the ultimate fodder for a huge conflict.