Govt urged to counter propaganda on Kashmir

Islamabad, Dec 26: Certain elements with vested interests are spreading baseless rumours regarding the handling of the Kashmir crisis by the Pakistan government and it should play a proactive role in countering the propaganda.
The army chief recently said there would never be a compromise on Kashmir whatever the cost, which has sent across a very positive message, said the participants of a meeting held at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) here on Wednesday.
The fifth meeting of the working group on Kashmir, formed by IPS to discuss the latest developments in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) post August 5, 2019, was chaired by Executive President IPS, Khalid Rahman and included Maj Gen (r) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan, former president, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K), Raja Sajjad Khan, director, Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Cell, Farzana Yaqoob, former AJ&K minister, Ambassador (r) Syed Abrar Hussain, Shakil Turabi, senior journalist, Amanullah Khan, former president, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Muhammad Ali, research scholar, and Advocate Nasir Qadri, international law expert, among others.
The participants opined that Pakistan had a major asset in the form of national consensus on Kashmir and all sections of society, including ulema, should be engaged to further mobilise public opinion on the issue.
A well thought-out narrative should be formulated after discussions and this should be promoted globally through all available channels such as embassies, media, etc. The speakers said experts of Islamic jurisprudence should be engaged to discuss the Islamic viewpoint regarding Kashmir’s disputed status and its occupation by India.
They said the conditions after August 5 present an opening for stakeholders to mobilise people through rallies, art exhibitions, conferences, etc. This is also an ideal situation for political and religious parties, students, civil society and social media to come together and devise a plan of action. This should be in the form of a two-pronged strategy, domestic and international, and needs to be long term.
The panelists said we have to navigate through faulty global governance, which is serving the interests of the powerful. This needs innovation, creativity and hard work and all stakeholders have to make efforts in this regard in their respective domains.
The current Kashmir situation was classified under six domains: Psychological or humanitarian, for which international media can be exploited to further highlight the issue while substantive relationships should be developed with international NGOs and human rights organisations so that they generate reports on a regular basis; diplomatic, for which there is a need to synergize and mobilize the other stakeholders of society such as youth, media, NGOs, think tanks, academia as this will reinforce the work that Track I does on diplomacy; political, for which growing polarisation between Muslims and Hindus in India should be seen as a strategic opportunity which needs to be exploited; social, for which the Kashmir Committee needs to develop close relationships with media, think tanks and academia; strategic, these options are not viable at this stage; and legal, as there are many international avenues available that can be utilized.
Giving examples of legal avenues, the speakers said recently the International Criminal Court announced to probe war crimes committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories. The tribunal decided to skip the statehood dispute for the time being and go ahead with the investigation. They said this case can serve as a precedent for IoK as both situations are very similar. Pakistan’s foreign office and legal experts should work on this aspect and the AJ&K government can represent IoK at the international forum.
Another example, they said, is the Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar filed by Gambia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which had a preliminary hearing earlier this month. There are at least four UN resolutions that clearly allow armed struggle against forces of occupation, they added.

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