Tremors haven't yet subsided
The Narendra Modi-led BJP government of India executed a decision of August 5 which made inoperative Article 370 under which Jammu and Kashmir was granted a 'special' status. Conferring a constitutionally equal status to India's northernmost state has particularly unsettled the western neighbour to extents that are still unravelling. Pakistan has been dependent on Kashmir since Independence for its state policy against India. We may well argue that Kashmir has consistently been Pakistan's tactic to clandestinely deflect the attention away from the welfare goals the state ought to have for its people and in the process, strengthen the military hold over the state. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan has gone on record to state that "Kashmir is Pakistan's jugular vein and India's decision to alter its special status poses challenges to the country's security and integrity". A closer look at this statement reveals how much Pakistan bases its identity on the conflict-embroiled Kashmir region and how, thus, it is necessary for Pakistan to keep the conflict in Kashmir alive because the resolution of the matter will only invalidate Pakistan and its concerns over Pakistan. Pakistan observes September 6 as the Defence and Martyrs Day to mark the anniversary of the 1965 war with India. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his message addressing this occasion said that his government has launched a proactive diplomatic campaign in the world capitals and at the United Nations to apprise the world community about Kashmir after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5. Leaving no stone unturned to lobby the international community against India over the Kashmir matter, Pakistan's desperation to have a group of third parties gang up against India may be understood as potential existential crisis glaring in the face of the Pakistani state. Bringing in the larger matter of peace and stability in the South Asian region and the world, Prime Minister Imran Khan has "also urged upon the international community to seriously consider the safety and security of India's nuclear arsenal", saying that the global community will be responsible for the "catastrophic aftermath" if it fails to pay attention to India's nuclear arsenal. India, however, first adopted a "No first use" policy after its second nuclear tests, Pokhran-II, in 1998, but in August 1999, the Indian government made amends to its policy which asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of "retaliation only". Given India's nuclear context, Pakistan could only be provoking India into a war, the price of which will, of course, be much heavier for India.
Tensions have significantly spiked after India decided to bifurcate the state into Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on August 5. India's internal matter of disempowering Article 370 has ruffled the feathers of Pakistan which has been continually making irresponsible statements and instigating anti-India rhetoric globally over its domestic matters. Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who addressed the main ceremony at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi said that Kashmir is the "unfulfilled agenda" of the completion of Pakistan and that it will remain so until it is resolved according to the UN resolutions. With respect to UN resolution, Pakistan must withdraw its troops from the occupied areas of Kashmir to take any real step towards easing its conflicted status. Also, stating explicitly that Kashmir is the "unfulfilled agenda" of the completion of Pakistan, the intentions of the state only clarify that the possession of territory is of prime importance to the state, something the people of Kashmir already resist with respect to India. It is no secret that Pakistan furthers its agenda by stoking violence in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley where normal life has been severely disrupted ever since New Delhi revoked the state's political autonomy. The National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval clarified that Pakistan is furious over India's move that has invalidated the notion of an "independent" Kashmir, the idea exploited by Pakistan for decades to radicalise the native Kashmiri and generally turn the people against India. Pakistan's instances on India perpetuating violations in Kashmir stands negated with reported instances of militants attacking local Kashmiris seeking to resume normal activities, as in the case of a Srinagar shopkeeper who tried to open his store and was shot down along with several relatives of a prominent apple trader in the valley. There is a need for Pakistan to perpetuate animosity with India for reasons that run counter to the principles along which any reasonable, welfare-oriented government should function. As far as curbs and communication blackout in the region goes, India has been steadily trying to ease the situation, albeit in a less than satisfactory manner thus far. India's greatest challenge right now is not Pakistan and its sinister motives but winning the people of Kashmir which is the foremost necessity in designing a resolution to the matter.