Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has said that New Delhi wanted to initiate bilateral talks with Islamabad to cover its illegal actions in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
“Making peace with India at this juncture, while it relentlessly pursues the neo-fascist agenda in IIOJK, is like walking on eggshells. The clear answer should be, and is, that there would be no normalisation at the expense of Kashmir,” he said in an article published in a local English magazine.
The AJK president termed the restoration of the 2003 ceasefire arrangement between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control LoC) as a step in the right direction as it has saved lives and reduced tension.
However, he added that further actions should be taken with “extreme caution” and emphasised that India must reinstate IIOJK’s disputed status in accordance with the UN resolutions and restore Kashmiris’ inherent rights recognised in Article 35-A.
“Conventional wisdom and our long, bitter experience suggest that India will do neither. After all, it has grabbed IIOJK with full military force to market it as a trophy to the hardline Hindu electorate before the next general election in 2024,” he maintained.
Also read: ‘Restoration’ of old IIOJK status on cards
Masood said after the illegal actions of August 2019 in the occupied region Pakistan had gained some international traction on the Kashmir issue and for several months it remained an international issue.
“India is feeling the pressure, which it wants to neutralise by a facade of engagement with Pakistan, which will produce no results. Pakistan should not surrender that space. Once the international dimension of the issue vanishes, it will be very difficult to revive it. We have seen this happening before,” he advised.
Pakistan, the AJK president said, should seriously conduct a proper performance audit of previous rounds of talks on Kashmir before plunging into a new one. In the past, all leaders in Pakistan had the illusion that they alone had the magic wand to tame or outwit the Indians. Let’s not repeat that mistake, he added.
Pakistan, he went on to say, has not been able to help Kashmiris militarily in the aftermath of August 2019, though a full-fledged war had been imposed in the occupied territory. What besieged Kashmiris have right now is the anger of the Pakistani nation on Indian atrocities and diplomatic outreach by the Pakistani state. These two supportive constructs in Pakistan’s policy should not be scuttled.
“We are confident that our capable diplomats and negotiators will not draw the curtain on their well-considered political strategy on Kashmir that impinges directly on Pakistan’s national security,” he wrote.
President Masood stated that there is a double whammy in seeking peace with India without taking into account the repercussions of India’s scorched earth, colonial policy in IIOJK. For one, India would misinterpret our quest for dialogue with the Kashmiris by telling them that Pakistan is deserting them. Kashmiris’ displaced anger directed towards Pakistan may run amok, serving India’s interest to drive a wedge between Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmiris must be part of any diplomatic discourse or process not only because they are the central party to the dispute but because no formula crafted without their consent is likely to succeed or assure an end to the turbulence in the region,” he added.