The myth of Pakistan acting as ‘protector’ of the Kashmiri people

Wolf, Siegfried O.

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Since the end of the British colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the subsequent restructuring of the political map of the region, and the transfer of power to the successor states, the former principle state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) turned into the major flashpoint in South Asia. Despite the fact that the then ruler of J&K declared its accession to India, Pakistan not only illegally holds large parts of the territory but also questions India’s legitimate claims over said territory and tries to systematically destabilise Kashmir, the region under New Delhi’s administration. Islamabad did realise that the dispute over Kashmir is in a political stalemate. Furthermore, Pakistan was not only defeated in all conventional armed confrontations with India but also was forced to realise that a military ‘solution’ is impossible due to the tremendous asymmetries in available economic and financial resources. In consequence, Pakistan started a three-fold strategy in its Kashmir approach: (1) To support destabilising activities in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir; (2) To portray India on the international level as a repressive force in Kashmir forced to conduct extra-ordinary security measures so as to maintain law and order; and (3) To portray itself as a ‘protector’ of the Kashmiri people. This article argues that there is a clear discrepancy between the Pakistani government’s claims and true ambitions when it comes to the well-being of the Kashmiri people. The Pakistani leadership claims to be the ‘champion of the right to self-determination’ and other political freedoms as well as human rights of the Kashmiri people. Yet Islamabad denies these same rights to the citizenry living within its own administration – in Kashmir and elsewhere. It also systematically suppresses local communities. It seems clear that Pakistan’s Kashmir agenda only aims to destabilise India, challenge its territorial integrity and target the basis of India’s statehood, governance and political identity as a democracy. Furthermore, Pakistan is not interested in the improvement of the social and economic conditions among Kashmir’s citizenry but in the region’s resources. In short, Islamabad’s role in the Kashmir imbroglio needs a comprehensive clarification and contextualisation.

Document type: Article
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2019
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 12:17
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Political science
Controlled Keywords: Indien, Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Kaschmirkonflikt
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pakistan, Indien, Kaschmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kaschmir, Jammu und Kaschmir, Staatsterrorismus, staatliche Förderung des Terrorismus, grenzüberschreitender Terrorismus, Menschenrechte, politische Freiheiten, Demokratie, politische Repression, Destabilisierung / Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, State-Terrorism, State-Sponsorship of Terrorism, Cross-border Terrorism, Human Rights, Political Freedoms, Democracy, Political Repression, Destabilization
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: India
Series: Themen > SADF Focus
Volume: 47