Guardian newspaper as "the biggest, bloodiest and also the most obscure military occupation in the world." The paper adds: "With more than 80,000 people dead in an anti-India insurgency backed by Pakistan, the killings fields of Kashmir dwarf those of Palestine and Tibet. In addition to the everyday regime of arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids, and checkpoints enforced by nearly 700,000 Indian soldiers, the valley's 4 million Muslims are exposed to extra-judicial execution, rape and torture, with such barbaric variations as live electric wires inserted into penises".
Instead of acknowledging the reality of the world's most brutal occupation, the Indian government and media are engaging in whipping up anti-Pakistan hysteria to divert attention from it by periodically sparking border incidents with Pakistan. There have also been violent protests orchestrated by Indian politicians outside Pakistani High Commission building in New Delhi. Such tactics raise the fears of escalation and obscure the core issue of Kashmir which underlies the tensions.
|Pakistan's Women Rangers on Duty at Wagah Border|
The rising Kashmir tensions and Pakistan-bashing help Indian politicians take the focus away from the daily indignities suffered by the ordinary Indians:
1. India as home to the world's largest population of poor hungry and illiterate people.
2. Multiple fierce insurgencies in North East, North West and Central India.
3. India's growing twin deficits, falling rupee and shrinking GDP in USD terms. At current exchange rate, India's GDP is down to $1.66 trillion, more than $200 billion less than it was in Fiscal 2011-12.
4. India leading the world in open defecation.
5. Over 200,000 Indian farmers' suicides in the last ten years.
6. Tens of millions of missing daughters in India.
7. India's high disease burdens and high rates of premature deaths.
Tensions initiated by India to divert attention from its problems also take Pakistan's focus away from its most pressing issues of domestic terrorism, economic crisis and energy shortages.
The result of it is that the ordinary people of the South Asian twins bear the brunt of the long festering problems which get in the way of improving their daily lives. As the two nations celebrate their Independence Day, it's time for their leaders to assess how much damage the continuing confrontation has done to both and resolve to end this conflict through sincere and sustained dialogue.
66 Years of Pakistan's Independence; Standoff in Islamabad from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Here's a video by Pervez Hoodbhoy putting Kashmir in context:
India Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates
India Leads the World in Open Defecation
Farmers' Suicides in India
Are India and Pakistan Failed States?
Please Don't Forget Terror Victims
India's Shrinking GDP
Disease Burdens and Premature Deaths in South Asia
Indian Government and Media Whipping Up Anti-Pakistan Hysteria
Kashmir in Context