The fact that Britain is debating the rather complex issue of Kashmir is of some importance, as they ruled India a few decades ago and partitioned the country, the Kashmir issue being a lingering legacy of that partition.
Recently, the Pathankot incident has been commented on by the British Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond. He has said that Kashmir cannot be the precondition for talks to go forward, which is India’s stance too to the effect that only in a terror-free climate can a resolution of the Kashmir issue be arrived at, rather than terrorism being seen as a mechanism to coerce India into accepting Pakistan’s standpoint, the Indian stance of ‘discuss terror before Kashmir’ having been supported by many British MPs.
This comment is pertinent to the issue at hand, as this hinders talks between the nations, as well as emphasizes on the fact that terrorism plays a very big role in controlling any activity between the two. The idea of the talks between the two countries has a twofold meaning: one is to talk about Kashmir and the other is the talk about terrorism; and there is an urgent need to delink one from the other. Both sides have apparently done that, with Pakistan claiming that Kashmir should get the priority and India claiming the same for terrorism. Even if India were to abandon its legally legitimate stand on Kashmir entirely in favour of Pakistan, the Hadith of Ghazwa-e-Hind would inspire terrorism against India anyway. Occupying Kashmir, then, would only be considered as the first step to their ultimate goal of establishing the Islamic Caliphate.
Hadiths are reports which describe the acts and words of Prophet Mohammed, and are considered as secondary sources after the Quran. The Sunnis and Shias consider different Hadiths as authoritative, and these are classified into Saheej (authentic) and Da’eef (weak/potentially falsified), which determines their admissibility.
The Sunni Hadith of Ghazwa-e-Hind, which states that there will be a war in India between the true believers and the non-believers and will lead to the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in South Asia, is invoked by radical Islamists to recruit people to join the Al Qaeda or the ISIS, and to stir an anti-India sentiment by Pakistani propagandists like Zaid Hamid. The authenticity and violent interpretation of this Hadith has been questioned by several Sunni Islamic scholars. Despite that, it is still used in jihadist discourse (jihadism in the form of violent attacks by non-state actors against unarmed civilians being one of the most controversial interpretations of the Quranic doctrine of jihad, the conventional interpretation endorsing a holy war against evils within oneself or an armed struggle in case of violation of one’s rights, that too against the specific aggressors only after peaceful modes of conflict resolution have been exhausted).
Historically, and up to recent times, talks and negotiations on Kashmir have not reached definite conclusions as terrorism always seems to be a barrier too high to get past. It is widely known that several outfits and non-state actors from Pakistan have indulged in terrorist acts, which is problematic not just for territorial disputes but also in day-to-day activities like trade and commerce.
India has been successful at resolving issues through negotiation, which includes border disputes with Bhutan in the 1970s and 1980s, the recent Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh and even the Rann of Kutch Arbitration with Pakistan in 1968, which was before terrorism was rampant. This goes on to prove that India is capable of arriving at compromises, but is unable to reach an efficient conclusion on Kashmir with Pakistan at this time, because of the problem of terrorism.
With such Hadiths being used by terrorists, despite not accepted by scholars, there is a broken link between the masses, who are the ones being instigated to take on terrorist activities, and the true religious believers and interpreters. The Pakistani establishment saying that it is not even willing to talk about the terrorist outfits that their country houses (which is obviously not to suggest stereotyping the Pakistani people as all being terrorists or supporters of terrorism) before it tackles the Kashmir issue is not sensible, as it has been established how these two issues are clearly interwoven, and no viable solution for the Kashmir conflict can be reached without a plan to nip terrorism from its roots.
Discussing terrorism before Kashmir would also give the Pakistani government an opportunity to raise its concerns of alleged Indian interference in Balochistan. At the same time, the Pakistani establishment must look into its own blunders in Balochistan. Pakistanis citing reports of international human rights organisations in India-administered Kashmir, often shy away from believing reports from the same organisations about human rights violations in Balochistan, though the Supreme Court of Pakistan has also recognised human rights violations in Balochistan. It’s a given that Balochistan has a complex history. Out of a basic commitment to human rights values, one would suggest that the 15-point resolution on Balochistan mooted by Pakistan’s own Supreme Court Bar Association and supported by various Pakistani political parties, be implemented right away.
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