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Friday, April 12, 2024

GVS Exclusive: Kashmir Solidarity Hour: How do experts view its implications?

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, called for a solidarity drive for Kashmiri brothers and sisters on this Friday. A huge mass of people think that such actions are impractical and hold no value but intellectuals think otherwise.

News Analysis |

Pakistanis are going to observe Kashmir Solidarity Hour on Friday (today) by coming out on roads from 12 noon to 12.30pm to give a message to the world that the Pakistani nation stands by the Kashmiris who have been facing unprecedented human rights violations in India-occupied Kashmir (IOK) amid curfew which has entered the 24th day. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army’s Spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor appealed to the nation to come out on streets and roads to show solidarity with Kashmiri brothers and sisters.

Analysts believe this is going to send a strong message to India and the international community which has so far failed to address the Kashmir issue appropriately.

As per details, on the call of the prime minister, all education institutions, government and private offices, banks, traders, lawyers, and military authorities will take part in Kashmir Solidarity Day events.

Vehicular traffic and government machinery will come to a standstill. Sirens will be sounded and the national anthem will be played at 12noon across the country. Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend a gathering outside the Prime Minister Office (PMO) and later address the nation from there.

How do Experts View Kashmir Solidarity Hour?

Syeda Aminah Gilani, a Lahore-based academic and political commentator, believes this policy is appreciable despite criticism from several corners in the country. “This particular policy,” opines Ms. Gilani, “has largely received criticism as it is not being considered result-oriented or to many people, it is a mere symbolic gesture rather pragmatic one during a time when a more practical approach is required to rescue Kashmiris under siege.

Pakistanis are going to observe Kashmir Solidarity Hour on Friday (today) by coming out on roads from 12 noon to 12.30pm to give a message to the world that the Pakistani nation stands by the Kashmiris

However, when a more analytical approach is applied it can be seen that the science behind this policy is mainly to keep the Kashmir cause alive and for both domestics and international audience as part of the government’s efforts to internationalize the unjust Indian treatment of Kashmiri people”.

She further explains that “it is also obvious from Indian political and diplomatic tactics that its Kashmir plan post-abrogation of Article 370 is to let the issue simmer into oblivion over time while a communication blackout is imposed”.

Ms. Gilani believes Pakistani is using “soft power” skillfully in a situation when “India wants the world to forget it [Kashmir]”.

While commenting on the symbolic significance of the move, Ms. Gilani says that “in case of conventional warfare or for a diplomatic onslaught, the symbolic gestures like such play an important role. It paves for the necessary promotion of morale, unity and national narrative that serves as the backbone for the government’s decision-making, and in many cases plays the very role which could change government’s priorities in favor of the mood and will of the people”.

Read more: Pakistan will come to a standstill on Friday to support Kashmir

G-M Pitafi who teaches politics at University of Management & Technology (UMT), Lahore, believes that the decision of the Prime Minister is “need of the hour” and the government “should not compromise on raising the Kashmir issue” before the international community. Mr. Pitafi thinks that the focus and commitment Pakistan demonstrates in the present situation shall determine whether International community and Islamic countries take Kashmir issues seriously or not. He believes that “charity begins at home so Pakistan will have to lead the movement for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination”.

Ahmad Ali Naqvi, Lecturer in Political Science at PU, believes that the government’s decision is “more a catharsis for masses and self-satisfaction on the part of policymakers”. He further opines that the government “hopes to give a message of unity and intensity of Pakistani peoples’ sentiments on Kashmir to international community in general and Kashmiris in particular. However, while keeping into view the domestic, regional and global political scenario Mr. Naqvi is unsure if the government shall achieve its latent objectives. “I doubt if any of this is likely to happen,” he said.

Furthermore, a senior bureaucrat who spoke to GVS on the condition of anonymity believes that violence in Kashmir has become “new normal” for many in the world. He thinks that “over the years we’ve talked about how India was oppressing Kashmiris; 92000 dead, rapes, missing persons, illegitimate and indiscriminate use of force”.  But we have failed to comprehend what is going on around: the USA destroyed Iraq, Syrian tragedy happened, Yemen was targeted, Afghanistan remained unstable and within Pakistan Baloch and Pashtuns are not happy over the alleged misuse of force by the state, he argues. This situation reflects, maintains the officer that violence against the vulnerable and the weak has become a norm in a so-called modern world. “Might is right and that’s it,” he believes.

Read more: Peaceful Resolution for Kashmir: Khan talks to French & Jordanian heads

Moreover, he fears if the “insensitive world” takes any notice of Modi’s oppressive and murderous political policy in IOK when violence is being used by the powerful to silence the weaker.