Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Missing Factor

Alishba advocates for a continuing inter and intra community dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir which is essential to resolve the long standing Kashmir dispute. Such a dialogue must include people from Pakistani Administered Kashmir as well

(Alishba Hassan Khan, 23, was born in Rawalkot, Poonch in Azad Kashmir. She is a scholarship holding college student pursuing her BS (honors)( in Economics and Finance from the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, and is hoping to pursue M.Phil leading towards Ph.D. in Political Economics.)

Stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir Dissension

Jammu Kashmir conflict is almost seven decades old and unresolved which is associated with twenty million human beings directly. In addition, the development of 22% population of the globe is overripe due to existence of this dissension. Although, there are various rationales, however, the most imminent and vital is the improper layout of negotiation framework which is hindrance in resolution of this dispute.

Historical references depict that various attempts had been carried out to reconcile but all in vain. The wars and discourses during various regimes could not direct any concrete trajectory. Even bilateral treaties as Tashkent and Shimla between India and Pakistan could not yield the required outcome. The aftermath of every discourse was always in doubtful situation. This stalemate condition still persists. Somewhat more structured train of dialogue was initiated during May 1997 which is referred as composite dialogue process (CDP). The core essence of this process was to build the confidence building measures between India & Pakistan to address and formulate strategies for resolution of all bilateral issues including Jammu and Kashmir conflict. Indeed, this more precise process also could not yield any benefits except Bus service between Pakistan administrated Kashmir and Indian administrated Kashmir.  Above narrations exhibit that there is any core element missing in the negotiation framework.

Issue was taken to international forum of United Nations to figure out the dissension. Various resolutions were passed by UN to seek solution of this decades old conflict but due to absence of some cardinal aspects, the implementation is still in halt condition. The good offices were also not offered by P5. Due to these circumstances and failures of such arrangements the people of Jammu Kashmir initiated armed struggle to take plea on their issue and this mass movement was tried to be jeopardized by various blame games and pre devised covenants. Ultimately the Kashmiri leadership has intimated to refrain from such manipulated tactics.  Recently, Kashmir conflict was on fire due to killing of prominent figure Burhan Wani, converted movement into a massive civilian struggle. This event has created a hype and urged leadership of Indian Administrated Kashmir to make up a common platform for unified civilian nonviolent movement. However, this potential is tried to be diverted with different pre-arranged tactics by both major stakeholders. The above referred circumstances depict that there is some vital component missing from the outline due to which issue is still inconclusive.

The fundamental paraphernalia to solve the dissension is to engage all the stakeholders in negotiation frame work. But unfortunately this element is missing in Kashmir issue because people of Kashmir are not entangled in dialogue process. As this issue is too complicated so question arises that which stakeholders from all regions of princely state of Kashmir should be taken on board as true representatives? In order to achieve this a strenuous process is required to be launched on inter and intra Kashmir regional basis. Representative from all school of political, religious, social thoughts should be taken in to account. It is hard facet that there is no intra coordination, communication between Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Kashmir (AK) even though both are legitimate constituents of dissension. There is no constitutional or governmental link between these two regions and administrative doctrine is entirely different. Due to absence of these ties, the people are insensitive about the cross region inspirations and views. In addition the historical physical routes are not operative which creates secondary level hindrance in understanding the ingenuity of conflict. Same is the case on the East side of the LOC.

East side of LOC is composed of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh which are facing more crucial situations due to religious demography. The dealing of Indian government in Valley is exactly opposite to Jammu and Ladakh.  Due to the biased approach of government of India people from three regions are having difference of opinion on this conflict and because of this aspect the common approach could not develop among the people. The one more flaw is the lack of inter communication gaps among either sides of the LOC. There is no format for inter region dialogue to understand the inspirations of people in order to reach to a common concluding viable approach. The drawback of this persisting situation is misconceptions among the people of various regions over the conflict.  Due to this deficiency the inclusion of Kashmiris in conflict dialogue process is a big question mark. This loophole refrains the Kashmiris to participate in any discourse arranged by international forums like UN. It is fundamentally required that think tanks of India and Pakistan to pave the path to grant the leverage among these regions to coordinate with each other to develop the common approach on the dissension.

The improvement in this dimension would increase the probability to formulate an authentic negotiation setup which will lead towards the acceptable, viable and sustainable solution of the conflict. Otherwise train of peace dialogues between India and Pakistan will be in stalemate condition and development of overwhelming majority of the people in subcontinent will be on stake.