President Azad Jammu & Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan
Vice Chancellor Quaid-e-Azam University Dr Muhamamad Ali
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the seminar on ‘The Kashmir Conflict and South Asian Security’, which is being jointly organized by Islamabad Policy Institute and Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies.
At the outset, I would like to express our warmest gratitude to President Masood Khan for sparing time out of his very busy schedule to be with this today. I would also like to thank all the speakers for joining the seminar.
IPI is particularly grateful to Department of Defense and Strategic Studies for co-hosting the seminar on this very vital issue.
Denial of self-determination for Kashmir in 1947 continues to have consequences until today. The situation deteriorated further when BJP government inspired and motivated by its ideological fountainhead, the Hindu fascist RSS, illegally and unconstitutionally annexed Occupied Kashmir on August 5 and intensified its brutal repression of the local population.
India’s ruthless actions including arrests of thousands of activists and politicians, imposition of curfew and blackout of the internet and phone lines only served to further inflame the resentment against Indian Occupation. There has been little change in the situation in the Valley ever since the lockdown was imposed, even though India is desperately trying to mislead the world that the situation is returning to normalcy.
And while there is this humanitarian angle in which nearly 8 million Kashmiris are facing outright repression, and violation of basic human rights amidst strong discontentment amongst the Kashmiris, Indian move has serious implications for peace and security for the region. The situation is not just problematic because two nuclear states are toe to toe, but it is particularly worrisome because of India’s hegemonic designs, its pursuance of offensive military doctrines, nuclear blackmail, rejection of proposals for strategic restraint, and refusal to follow the path of dialogue for resolving outstanding issues.
Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, which have witnessed a dramatic spike over the past few years especially since 2017 keep reminding us about how perilous the security situation is. We just witnessed some major ceasefire violations over the past couple of days in which several citizens and a soldier were martyred.
I would like to conclude with words of caution that the situation is gradually drifting towards a major escalation, if urgent steps are not taken immediately to manage the conflict and subsequently move towards conflict resolution. We must appreciate that Pakistan government has done remarkably well in projecting the Kashmir dispute at the international forums. The need of the time is to make the United States and other strategic and economic partners of India exert more pressure on New Delhi to give up its inflexibility and engage with Pakistan for finding a solution to this very complicated problem.