A fragile border truce between longtime nuclear rivals Pakistan and India will not resolve the long-smoldering Kashmir dispute, the president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Masood Khan, said Monday
In an interview with local broadcaster News One, Khan observed that the cease-fire at the Line of Control (LoC) — a de facto border that divides the picturesque Himalayan valley between the two neighbors — and de-escalation of tensions would “neither resolve the Kashmir issue nor would peace return to the region.”
On Feb. 25 this year, India and Pakistan agreed to honor a border cease-fire the two countries had signed in 2003 but both accused each other of violating countless times since then.
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Since Aug. 5, 2019, when India scrapped the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, dozens of people have been killed and scores have been injured in cross-border firings that have been the most intense in the past 17 years.
“To bring peace, India must stop the massacre of the Kashmiri people and take decisive steps to grant the fundamental right of self-determination to them,” said Khan, who also served as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2012 to 2015.
“Kashmiris must be consulted and taken into confidence about whatever the decision is to be made about Kashmir because none other than the Kashmiri people can be sincerer to Pakistan,” he went on to say.
The abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A was a #unilateral decision by India. This was done with the aim to grab the #land of #Kashmiris and permanently change the #demography of the disputed area. (2/2)#Article370 #35A pic.twitter.com/JOJlCt1ujj
— Masood Khan (@Masood__Khan) February 13, 2021
He was apparently referring to reported United Arab Emirates-brokered backdoor diplomacy between New Delhi and Islamabad which aims to provide a roadmap for long-term peace and a possible solution to the 73-year-old Kashmir dispute. Officially, both countries have denied the contacts.
Citing New Delhi’s August 2019 move, Khan said he does not see “any sincerity in the offer of the Indian leadership to resolve the Kashmir issue through talks.”
Khan said that mounting pressure from the international community after the August 2019 actions has “temporarily” compelled India to talk about a negotiated solution to issues.
“The restoration of Article 35-A by India is not enough for confidence building. On the contrary, India would have to recognize the whole of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory and would have to revive the pre-Aug. 5, 2019 position of the state in order to pave the way for talks,” he maintained.
Kashmiris, he further said, will get relief only when India lifts the siege of “occupied” Kashmir, ceases the killing spree of Kashmiri people, gives up settling Indian Hindus in Kashmir and stops attempts to change the demography of the state.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China. Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan. According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk