You’d be surprised to learn this, if you didn’t know it already, that the ‘Kashmir issue’ was actually solved in 1947. And the man who came out with a solution was none other than India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He had proposed that a plebiscite would be held in the region soon after things settle down post partition.
The plebiscite was proposed for the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir that included parts of Gilgit and Baltistan (presently under Pakistani control). But even after more than six decades, that plebiscite is yet to be implemented. The resolution that advocates the plebiscite for Kashmir is gathering dust in the cupboards of United Nations (UN).
More and more politics has been done over the issue since 1974. For India, it is an “integral part” now while for Pakistan it is a “jugular vein or inseparable part”. Over the years, some parts have been illegally taken by China. Pakistan also, for its political and economic interest, gifted areas of Aksai-chin to China .
For Kashmiris, this beautiful mountain-locked region has turned into hell.
Presently, the Kashmir issue stands among the oldest issues the world is still reeling from. Its birth dates back to 1947 when India and Pakistan got partitioned into two separate countries. One can also say that the independence of India and Pakistan gave birth to the sufferings of the people of Kashmir.
The Kashmir problem is much talked about. From a small local newspaper in Kashmir to an international organisation like BBC, there is hardly any media organisation left that has not run a story on this vexed issue.
Every organisation highlights the sufferings of Kashmiris and their problems in their own ways and tastes. Many names have been give to this divided state which was once a princely state. Pakistan calls their side of Kashmir “Azad Kashmir” and India calls it Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Similarly, Pakistan terms Indian side of Kashmir as ” Makbooza Kashmir ” or “Indian occupied Kashmir” (IoK), while India considers it an integral part and calls it Jammu and Kashmir. For international media outlets, it is a “disputed region” and has been given two names PoK or IoK.
The vernacular press in Kashmir calls both the sides as “Pakistan administered Kashmir” (PaK) and “Indian administered Kashmir” (IaK) respectively.
The hard reality is that the state is divided into two parts between India and Pakistan, dividing many families who are eager to see each other.
The plebiscite many believe is the solution of all problems, but that awaits implementation.
During these last six decades, Kashmir has witnessed a brutal conflict in which around one lakh people have lost their lives and some 10,000 people have reportedly disappeared.
However, peace looks like a distant dream. More and more unknown groups are emerging, who threaten mobile tower owners, petrol pump owners and other businessmen. Given the present scenario, only dark days seem ahead.
In this political game of whether Kashmir is India’s “integral part” or Pakistan’s “jugular vein”, it is only the common Kashmiris who have suffered. And the sufferings continue…
We can never know when good sense will prevail among politicians and peace will return to Kashmir forever. The sort of peace where birds chirp across Dal lake, and not only Bollywood, but Hollywood films also paint the walls of Kashmir screens.
A bold political move from both the countries is needed to bring back smiles on the faces of Kashmiris. Yes, a strong and bold political move to stop this bloodshed.
Will Nawaz-Modi break the ice and create history? We sure hope so.