Pakistan recently condemned the state-sponsored terrorism of India when they killed two Kashmiri Muslims. That Kashmir is marred by human rights violations is crystal clear to every sane person except the mindless supporters of the right-wing BJP government.
Such people remain perpetual victims of long-dead Muslim warriors from Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan and rationalise the atrocities committed by the Hindutva brigade. Of course, their retort would be for Pakistan to focus on the persecution of its own minorities including most recently the mob in Charsadda that set a police station on fire for refusing to hand them a victim of blasphemy allegations. The question then is: why is Pakistan so concerned about Kashmiris when its own human rights record on minorities is abysmally poor?
Pakistan is seven times smaller than India. Yet, it has gone to war thrice with a country much larger and economically resourceful. The Kargil fiasco brought not only great shame to the nation but also the loss of so many young men, whose lives were cut short because of the ill advised designs of the establishment. Why are Pakistanis not riled up about wanton and unnecessary loss of human lives of their own sons and daughters and instead more concerned about every other Muslim on the planet? When do we look within? Indeed, if you look at it, Indian or Kashmiri Muslims, Afghan Muslims, and Bangladeshi Muslims — all have their own respective narratives. Who made us the self-styled thekedar (custodian) for them?
I distinctly remember a young Kashmiri man who stood up at an event with David Barsamian of Alternative Radio, who was deported from India for his reporting of human rights abuses in Kashmir. The young man identified himself as Kashmiri and forcefully asserted that while we focus on the human rights violations of Indian-occupied Kashmir, we must also do the same for Pakistan occupied Kashmir. That was an eye opener. It showed that the Kashmiri narrative is distinct from that of both India and Pakistan.
The impression I received is that they are more interested in achieving autonomy than being dominated by either Indian or Pakistani nationalism. Can their wishes be respected?
Pakistan has already suffered enough because of misinterpretation of the Kashmir cause. So many lives lost in senseless wars and so many resources that have gone to wanton display of military power instead of uplifting the common person through healthcare and education. Can we stop worrying about foreign affairs or making inane statements like the prime minister and actually start building the nation? There are so many bright young people in Pakistan, as unlike Europe, it’s a young nation.
Can we ensure that they are all provided with decent education because therein lies the recipe for making Pakistan into one of the strongest nations of the world. The rest is just theatrics to take our minds away from the real task at hand. Let’s focus within lest we lose what we have to further extremism and poor economic state of affairs.