- How long will the agony last?
October 27 marked on Sunday the 72nd anniversary of the invasion of Kashmir by Indian troops. Then as now, the international community did not lift a finger, and remained a silent spectator, as India did its best to deny the Kashmiri people their right of self-determination. However, the situation in Kashmir has been dynamic, and people have not been trapped in a timewarp. There has always been some new Indian atrocity to mark, but even by those standards, this year has been exceptional, as the worldwide protests this year were the first since India had tried to annex the Held Valley by abolishing Articles 35A and 370 of the Indian Constitution and thus end Indian-Held Kashmir’s status, which had been granted after the invasion by Indian troops in 1947.
If anything, Kashmiris today are worse off as the international community has maintained a deafening silence worse than in 1947. At least then they did not face, as they do today, a blackout and a blockade, and rampaging RSS goons, as they have since August 5. It has thus been over 100 days, and is now coming up on the end of the fourth month, a siege which has got eight million inhabitants of the Valley under the clampdown, which has seen businesses destroyed, including a nascent software export industry, because of the cutting of Internet and other communication. Though the Indian government claims to have restored normalcy, it is very much an on-off process, with it never being clear which facility is available at any given time.
Pakistan has been in the forefront of giving its moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people, of which the most important feature was the speech to the United Nations General Assembly by Prime Minister Imran Khan. However, nonetheless, the international community has maintained a deafening silence, with supposed Pakistani allies from the USA to UAE feting Indian PM Narendra Modi, mainly because of past Indian successes in having itself perceived as a huge emerging market. Not only must Pakistan not waver in its support for the Kashmir cause, but it must make itself so strong a country that the international community pays it attention.