Stories about Jammu and Kashmir

Maleeha Lodhi: Spilling tea with the architect of Pakistan’s diplomatic coup at the UN

On a bright Sunday morning, right after Pakistan managed to raise the Kashmir issue at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting – despite India throwing everything and the kitchen sink to stop it – we sat down for a conversation with UN Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi at her official residence on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. We unpacked how Pakistan managed to orchestrate the UNSC meeting after five decades, what’s next for Pakistan at the UN, and what a typical day in her life looks like during these extraordinary times. “The fact that the UNSC meeting took place showed that ...

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Why repealing Article 35A will bring unmanageable chaos for India

In 2014, the non-governmental organisation ‘We the Citizens’ attracted a large audience when it filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India questioning the validity of Article 35A. This was not the first time this article was questioned in court. It was also brought into the spotlight when Dr Charu Wali Khanna, a Kashmiri Pandit woman by ancestry, filed a petition to change the constitutional provision of Article 35A. She wanted succession rights in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), despite being adjusted outside the state. Since then, this article’s hearing has been postponed by the court, considering how this ...

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Why is India worked up about the Pakistan-China bus service?

On October 31st, India formally protested the proposed launch of a bus service between China and Pakistan because the service would “operate between Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The official spokesman noted that India held the China-Pakistan Boundary agreement of 1963 as “illegal and invalid” and views the service as a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If all this sounds tough and uncompromising, it is. But it is hardly consistent and not especially helpful. The Karakoram Highway, over which the service will be run, has been around since the late 60s and ...

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Want to be a hero in India and get recognition in a movie? Go to IoK and kill a Kashmiri!

Indian democracy comes to weep in Kashmir. The elected government in Srinagar seems to exist just for show, for it is the military which holds all echelons of power and dictates the narrative and future of the valley. The legislature – the elected representative of the people – is seemingly more helpless than the common people of the state. If you hold a protest in the Kashmir valley, it is not taken as democratic dissent; rather, it is automatically viewed as an anti-national act. Your cry for justice is perceived as an act of defiance, and subsequently, a voice for Pakistan. ...

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Divided by politics 70 years ago, India and Pakistan are still united by the cancer of rape

Imagine being a young woman who steps out of her house late at night. You hang around with friends, partake in merrymaking that stretches deep into the night, and then safely return home in the morning. There isn’t an ounce of worry in your mind as you go about this. Being wary of your surroundings never crosses your mind, and looking out for unwanted stares doesn’t either. You feel secure, safe and sound. If you’re living in modern day India or Pakistan, this scenario would never happen. Divided by politics 70 years ago, they are still united by the cancer ...

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#JusticeforAsifa: Has India discarded its moral compass?

What is at play in India today is a systematic dehumanisation of its Muslim community by the ruling establishment in Delhi. The ruling Hindu nationalist government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has empowered extremist forces trying to further entrench the country’s religious fault lines. With the rise of Modi and his ilk, a political echo system has emerged in India, where Muslims are treated or looked at in the same way as Jews were seen by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The tragedy in Kathua is the by-product of that mindset. Located some 550 kilometres north of ...

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Pakistan celebrates Kashmir Solidarity Day but does it really want Kashmir to be independent?

The day, February 5th, is a national holiday in Pakistan every year – the Kashmir Solidarity Day. It is to remind the people of Pakistan and the world of Kashmir, of the promises made to the Kashmiri people, which remain to be fulfilled till today. It is to stand with a people whose recent history has been that of a brutal subjugation, one that has brought misery to its young and old.  It is to convey a collective support, to remind the Kashmiri people that the ensemble of nations might have turned a blind eye to some of the worst crimes ...

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Given the Pakistan-India rivalry, how pragmatic is it for IOK to be part of CPEC?

The dominant view from Indian-held Kashmir is that the disputed region could greatly benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Provided both Islamabad and New Delhi declare all parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, Jammu, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B)) as a ‘single free economic zone’. Cutting across the ideological lines, leading stakeholders from India-held Kashmir argue that, “Kashmir can in fact become a gateway for India to be part of the CPEC, provided there is a settlement of the dispute first.” Without a whisker of doubt, the multi-billion dollar CPEC will definitely impact the socio-political and economic landscape of a certain part of the erstwhile ...

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Why the world isn’t talking about Kashmir

Today, the trend lines for Jammu and Kashmir are quite troubling, to say the least. Nearly a year after Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri militant with a large following, anger hasn’t abated. Tension has risen in recent days after a video surfaced on social media that appeared to depict Indian security forces using heavy-handed tactics against a civilian. On April 24th, assailants gunned down a local politician in Kashmir, Abdul Gani Dar. Students have regularly clashed with security forces. When Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh this week, according to ...

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Is India losing Kashmir?

As India’s most restive region stares down the abyss of what a commentator calls another “hot summer of violence”, the doom-laden headline has returned with a vengeance: Is India losing Kashmir? Last summer was one of the bloodiest in the Muslim-dominated valley in recent years. Following the killing of influential militant Burhan Wani by Indian forces last July, more than 100 civilians lost their lives in clashes during a four-month-long security lockdown in the valley. It’s not looking very promising this summer. This month’s parliamentary election in Srinagar was scarred by violence and a record-low turnout of voters. To add fuel to the fire, graphic social videos surfaced claiming to show abuses by security forces and young ...

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