Kashmir Martyrs’ Day


Need for real statesmen


July 13 was observed on both sides of the LoC as the Martyrs’ Day to remember those who laid down their lives in front of Srinagar Central Jail on 13th July 1931. The pre-partition movement in Kashmir against the Dogra rule was to turn into a demand for self-determination after 1947. Despite a lapse of 69 years, Kashmiris are still struggling and sacrificing to achieve their unalienable right under the UN resolutions for the plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir Valley has meanwhile turned into one of the most heavily militarised regions in the world. As happens in conditions of the sort, security forces are perpetrating state terrorism in the Valley. Since 1989, the campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces to crush the freedom fighters has led to curfews, illegal detentions, massacres, targeted killings, sieges, disappearances, molestation of women and killing of suspects in fake encounters.

To brutally suppress the most recent wave of protests against the killing of Burhan Wani, 35 people had been killed by July 12. Leaders of all political parties in Pakistan including Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the brutal killings. Chief of his own Hurriyet Conference faction Mirwaiz Umer Farooq warned India that sending more troops to the valley and giving them more powers to deal sternly with the local population will definitely add fuel to the fire.

While Pakistan’s government extends moral and political support to the Kashmiri people’s right of self-determinations, as well as their struggle to achieve it, political leaders have to avoid playing into the hands of extremist organisations like Difa-e-Pakistan Council. Pakistan has a number of disputes with India, the Kashmir issue being on top of all. There is however no way to resolve these disputes except through talks. While Pakistan must strongly condemn the Indian policy in Kashmir it would be infantile politics to oppose good neighbourly relations with India. To resolve differences with neighbours the country needs statesmen rather than demagogues.