New Delhi on August 5, 2019 revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir with the abrogation of article 370, under which they had the right to have their own constitution, flag, resident’s right and privileges and independence over all matters except the foreign affairs, defense and their communication and article 35a under which Indian Constitution allows the legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and what distinguishes them. It was applicable to all of IoK and Ladakh, article 35a also states that only permanent residents have the right to own and buy properties in the state.
As a result of this move by BJP government, Pakistani authorities has exposed their view that such concerns and moves from New Delhi could unfavorably affect Afghan reconciliation process initiated by U.S government since the last one year.
In counter reactions senior Afghan politicians and the people of Afghanistan has rejected Islamabad’s view of linking Afghan conflict with the issue of Kashmir which has no roots with it.Kashmir and Taliban’s insurgency are two different waves of the history or rather politics. The dilemma of Kashmir between Pak-India has its root since the independence of both nations in 1947, in contrast Taliban’s uprising has its root from the middle of 1990’s after the withdrawal of Soviet forces.
Beside this the stakeholders in the Afghan conflict are differentwhich includes, U.S, NATO forces and proxies of regional and some global powers, as of the issue of Kashmir which is between Pakistan and India so linking these two contradictory issues or specifically two insurgencies has no logical grounds.
Today reconciliation process with Taliban is at its peak which is going to be finalized with a peace deal in a few days ahead, so in this sensitive moment such irresponsible statements from Pakistani politicians could accelerate the blame game and badly effect the mindset of the Afghan civilians and government.Moreover, Afghan government has always targeted Islamabadwith its proxies in Kabul, hearing such messages from Islamabad based politicians could provide real grounds and give weight to the claim of Afghan government against Pakistan.
In addition, the spokesman of Afghan Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid has also condemned the statements from Pakistani authorities and clearly dictated that “Linking Kashmir issue with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not help in enhancingthe crisis at hand because the issue of Afghanistan is not related nor should Afghanistan be turned into the theatre of competition between other countries”.
Beside this intermingling a third state or an issue of a third statewith the dilemma of Kashmir could impact the legitimacy of Simla agreement of 1972 which was signed by the governments of both Pakistan and India after the independence of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This agreement has clearly stated that India maintained, “Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue and must be settled through bilateral negotiations as per Simla Agreement, 1972 and thus, had denied any third party intervention even that of United Nations”.
Furthermore, the core aim behind conflict in Afghanistan by the Taliban is for the withdrawal of foreign troops as they considers it an occupation of their land, it’s not a conflict for the sake of Kashmir nor to be used as a tool to pressurize New Delhi or United States for the disturbance of peace process with Afghan Taliban.
United States has also hinted Islamabad and New Delhi to resolve this issue bilaterally through peaceful means, as both states are nuclear powers and any war between them could deteriorate the circumstances in the region. For this concern United Nations Security Council has also attend a 90-minute private debate among Security Council members on Friday August 16, 2019 on Kashmir issue.
According to a UN diplomate, council members failed to even come up with a statement to the press – the lowest level of Council action.
The major stakeholders in Afghan conflict like, Afghan government, U.S and Taliban are on the same ground that Kashmir issue is not to be linked with that of the Taliban peace process.
So, to evaluate all the on goings over the issue of Kashmir it is to be noted that both Pakistan and Indian have to bilaterally resolve this issue and not mingle any other issue like that of Taliban by Pakistani politicians to this context, since the background and dimensions of both the issue are totally changedand could create doubts over the role of Islamabad in reconciliation process of Afghan Taliban to give an end to the war from the last two decades.
*Zabihullah, graduate student of International Relations from International Islamic University Islamabad.