By Habbibullah Khan
Government of India scrapped Article 370 of its constitution, through a unilateral decision, which revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and brought it under the direct control of central government. As a matter of fact, there are many consequences that the decision is likely to cast on the people of Kashmir in particular and the region in general. Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, responding to the decision, wrote on her Twitter account that it was “the darkest day in Indian democracy”.
Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah, another former chief minister of the state said, “Government of India’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the State acceded to it in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequence.” One of the immediate consequences of these statements, however, were that both Mufti and Abdullah were arrested.
One of the most dangerous consequences of the decision will be the impact on Pak-India relations and the ultimate fallout on the Afghan peace process. The issue of Kashmir has strategic relation with the Afghan peace process, for which, recently, the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized a strategic resolution of the crisis by meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington and meeting with Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad.
Regardless of any policy that Delhi politicians have regarding Kashmir’s political destiny, Indian leaders have unfounded doubt on Pakistan’s role about Afghan peace process. India is not ready to accept the key role of Pakistan in the peaceful resolution of the Afghan crisis, so, every step towards progress in solving the Afghan conflict is being targeted by the countries concerned, especially the Indian government, because Islamabad has strong cultural and historical relations with Kashmir.
Afghan people believe that one day Kashmir will be liberated. New Delhi must tackle the atrocities of its soldiers and militias that have killed thousands of Kashmiri Muslims in recent years; therefore, it is better to recognize the right to self-determination and independence of this Islamic unit.
Afghan government must not remain indifferent in this situation because Kashmir is an Islamic land and the situation there can have a direct impact on Afghan peace process. And it can also pave the way for strained relations between Islamabad and New Delhi.
Afghan political and cultural affairs pundits are fully aware of systematic relationship of Jammu and Kashmir with Afghan peace process. Therefore, they condemn the Indian government’s dual and intolerant attitude towards Jammu and Kashmir, especially the arrest of Omar Abdullah and Mahbooba Mufti. Moreover, they believe that this unilateral decision by India has threatened the entire security of the region, and qualifies to be called irresponsible and belligerent.