New Delhi: India should join other global powers to stop China from backing Pakistan and only if the China-Pakistan nexus is broken can the question of Kashmir between New Delhi and Islamabad be resolved, a senior Uighur leader, currently in self-imposed exile in the United States, has said.
He also called Pakistan “a fake democracy, living in the middle ages” and argued that Islamabad was using the religion to fan terrorism in both Kashmir and Afghanistan.
“If we can stop China backing Pakistan, then the question of Jammu and Kashmir can be peacefully solved,” Ilshat Hassan Kokbore, Director of the Chinese Affairs Department of the World Uyghur Congress said.
He was speaking after releasing a 48-page Report on ‘Comparative Study of Human Development and Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan’ done by Delhi-headquartered think-tank Law and Society Alliance.
“If we want to find a solution for Uighur and Jammu and Kashmir issues, we need to stop China. The route is in China. This is the number one threat to humanity. Then I am sure, the issues of Jammu and Kashmir and Uighurs would be peacefully solved,” Kokbore said at a webinar on Wednesday evening jointly organised by Defence Capital, an Indian defence and strategic affairs publication.
“I don’t think without China’s support, Pakistan can continue its terrorism. If we counter China, Pakistan will come to the table to find a solution to the Jammu and Kashmir question,” he said.
Calling for India to take up the leadership role to counter China, the Uighur leader said India must support the cause of democracy in China, particularly the movements in Hong Kong, Tibet, and East Turkestan. “If China becomes a democracy, we shall find a solution to the Uighur issue, and India could find a solution to the border issue.”
Kokbore criticised Muslim-majority nations for their silence on the persecution of Uighurs and said that the world has resorted to appeasement of China. “The US is speaking, Europe is speaking, India has started to speak, but we didn’t hear anything from the Islamic and Turkic world. They are all silent. They are going into bilateral agreements with China. We are left with no choice.”
Dijoo also said the Indian government needs to create avenues to produce revenues. “The entire Kashmir is being trapped in drugs abuse now. We need to engage and address the youth. That is how we are going to make a change.”
Yana Mirchandani argued that in the earlier regimes in Jammu and Kashmir, funds allocated by the Indian government were gobbled up by corrupt politicians in the erstwhile state. “The politicians of the erstwhile state and Article 370 of the Indian constitution did not allow the people of Kashmir to bond with the Indian state. That was the reason the Indian Parliament had to do away with Article 370 and the discriminatory Article 35A.”
On the question of unemployment raised by Dijoo, Mirchandani said the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was not allowing foreign investments to come in and the now abrogated Article 370 obstructed the implementation of certain laws inviting investment. “Kashmiris are one of the most talented people in India. But they need to invite private investment in the state to get jobs,” Mirchandani said.
She noted that the Indian Army that was deployed to protect the local population from terror attacks are being stone-pelted by vested interests in the state. “Personal vendettas between two locals that result in crimes are blamed on the Indian Army and the force that is there to protect us is being painted as the villain,” she said.
Mirchandani also talked about the opportunities from tourism that is only possible in Jammu and Kashmir and not in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan due to the enforcement of strict curbs by the Pakistan government in that region.
“The entire Himalayan region is well endowed by natural beauty. Tourism is our main source of income and has taken a hit since the Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-sponsored terror group.”
Responding to a question on the role of Panchayati Raj institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, she said such institutions shall further establish the trust of Kashmiris in democracy and governance. “We are seeing a wonderful turnout of voters in local body elections. But we have also been seeing targeted killings of Sarpanches in the past few days. Muslim majority voters elected a Hindu sarpanch. So, it is a good way to bring Hindus and Muslims together,” she added.