The Kashmiri leadership of all political parties off and on demands for a political solution of Jammu and Kashmir Problem, though their main thrust is for the Kashmir Valley. The Kashmiri leadership stresses upon having negotiations with the separatists, the main Kashmir based political parties and with Pakistan. On the occasion whenever any economic package is announced by the Government of India, the separatists and leaders of Kashmir based political parties customary say that the package announced does not meet the aspirations of the people of the Valley, what is required is a political solution for Jammu and Kashmir, to settle the Jammu and Kashmir issue once for all, by involving Pakistan and other stakeholders (Kashmiri leadership and all sections of separatists) in the dialogue process, altogether ignoring the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions who are the major concerned parties. It happened this time also when Prime Minister, Nerender Modi announced the economic package of quite a big amount for the development of the state on the demand of the state government and the state leadership.
Let us analyze the issue of political solution of Jammu and Kashmir problem. The mainstream Kashmir based political parties committed to the fact that Jammu and Kashmir, including the part of Jammu and Kashmir presently under Pakistan occupation, is an integral part of India. This has been unambiguously stated in Article 1 of Indian and Part II of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. However, one of these two parties perceives that the political solution lies in the restoration of pre-1952 position and granting of the so called Greater Autonomy to the state. The other one in its document advocates Self Rule which amounts to having almost an autonomous status as sovereign country to whole of Jammu and Kashmir State, including the part under Pakistan occupation. Whereas, some of the separatist groups want freedom (Ajadi) for Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir and others support its merger with Pakistan.
The opinion of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is divided. The people of Jammu and Ladakh regions that constitute more than fifty percent of the state population with total area of both regions being more than 90 percent of the state have considered opinion of remaining inseparable part of Indian Union as the other states are. They are opposed to both the demands of Greater Autonomy and Self Rule as they feel that these are against the interests of Jammu and Kashmir as well against the integrity of the country. These demands if accepted shall make the state very much vulnerable to the external aggressions and pressures, keep the situation in the state permanently unstable and ultimately lead to separation of state from India. They support the removal of Article 370 and complete merger in India. However it is their cherished desire to have a political system within Indian Union and under Indian Constitution, separate of Kashmir Valley. Even in the valley, the minorities, Gujjar-Bakarwals and Shia Muslims those constitute about half of the population do not support the views either of separatists or of the main stream parties of the valley. They want to live in peace and tranquillity and feel their future secure in the Indian Union and do not lay any condition for the same.
Pakistan, stated position on the matter is that Jammu and Kashmir, being Muslim majority should have been its part. In support of its argument Pakistan talks of a part of Security Council Resolution of holding plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, however, it ignores the first part of resolution that had recognized Pakistan as aggressor and had asked it to vacate the part of the state that it has occupied forcibly. However, Pakistan as its diplomatic move have shown flexibility on the proposition of Self Rule and complete independence of Indian Part of Jammu and Kashmir covertly or openly as in both the cases it feels that ultimately it shall be able to take hold of the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian position on the issue is that Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir State, who had the authority to decide about the future of the state under Government of India Act of 1935 decided to accede to the Dominion of India and Pakistan has no local standing on the issue. In fact, it was an invader who forcefully occupied some parts of Jammu and Kashmir State, including Gilgit and Baltistan and it has to vacate that portion of Jammu and Kashmir which it acquired by the invasion and had illegally occupied it. Pakistan did not implement the first part of U.N.O Security Council resolution; therefore, the issue of holding referendum had become redundant.
The Government of India must realize that the so called alienation of the Kashmiri people cannot be addressed by providing more and more economic packages in the name of development. It needs to relook its Kashmir Policy. It should provide all democratic and constitution rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and reduce their dependence on the Kashmiri political leadership that has been exploiting its people in the last 67 years and blackmailing the Indian nation. The time demands revoking of article 370 and allowing application of all central laws and rules to the state. This is the only political solution to Kashmir problem that the Government of India should think of.
Government of India cannot ignore its constitution position, the resolve of its people that was reflected in the resolution passed by the Parliament and the voice of the majority of the state population. Further, Jammu and Kashmir has a strategic importance. No sovereign nation can accept any demand that is against its interests, integrity and dignity.
Further, the Government of India must take note of the China- Pakistan economic and military partnership, new relationship of Russia with Pakistan and rise of fundamentalism and radicalism in the Muslim world, attempt of Pakistan to extend it to India and also use it for obtaining gains on Kashmir issue, aggressively. Further, the Government of India has to remain vigilant and prepare itself to meet the challenge of ISI which is going to carry out fresh terrorist attacks by uniting 30 terrorist groups and bringing them into the POK region. The worry of the Government is also to devise the mechanism to neutralize and counter the growing impact of extreme radicalism on the Kashmiri Muslims, particularly on the youth. The Government of India has to motivate the state government, which so far has not shown its strong determination to fight against the terrorists and separatists, to activate its intelligence, the security and administrative machinery to meet the challenges coming ahead, in tune with its policies and programmes.
-- Prof. Virender Gupta