“Simmering Kashmir” offers a three-tiered approach to resolving the Kashmir conflict

The Kashmir conflict has resulted in insurmountable human suffering on both sides of the border. Both India and Pakistan have failed to amicably resolve this matter while the Kashmiri people are facing the brunt of this unnecessarily prolonged conflict.

Simmering Kashmir, a new book analysing the Kashmir conflict in multifaceted ways offers a three-tiered approach that offers a plausible solution to the decade’s old conflict which has served neither India, Pakistan or the people of Kashmir.

Authors Jamal Qaiser and Sadaf Taimur eloquently describes the history of the Kashmir conflict and delve into the background over how this conflict has evolved through the ages.

The book offers an insight into the reasons for the conflict, how skewed political manoeuvring on the part of both India and Pakistan resulted in the current Kashmir conflict.

Jamal Qaiser

Jamal Qaiser is a German-Pakistani entrepreneur, an author of multiple books and also works with the Diplomatic Council and has been appointed as their Commissioner for UN Affairs by the UN-accredited NGO.

Sadaf Taimur

Sadaf Taimur is a Doctoral Scholar at the University of Tokyo and also serves as the Chairperson of the Youth General Assembly in Pakistan.

The duo argues that: “All the wars between India and Pakistan and decades of conflict have yielded nothing and have rather put the region under constant economic and political instability. Mass rebellions, rallies, and military surveillance create a constant disruption in the normal mode of life in Kashmir.”

The narrative of the book offers not only a complete history of the Kashmir conflict but also touches on recent events like the Pulwama attack and the subsequent aerial dogfights between India and Pakistan which led to the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan by Pakistani forces.

Addressing how the media on both sides reported on Pakistan’s decision to hand over the captured airforce pilot back to India, Qaiser writes: “The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, announced the release of the Indian pilot as a “peace gesture”. Many media reports said that Khan was lauded globally for this gesture as a “true statesman”. On the other end, Indian media reported that Pakistan had “cracked under pressure”. According to some media reports Khan also mentioned that we returned the pilot because we wanted to act responsibly.”

According to authors, Jamal Qaiser and Sadaf Taimur, the media on both sides of the border have not produced balanced reporting but has added to a warmongering narrative that does not involve a genuine solution to the Kashmir conflict but is done simply for the “entertainment” of audiences in both respective countries.

The book quotes Max Hastings, a journalist who covered the Falklands war who said: “When the nation is at war, reporting becomes an extension of that war”.

Qaiser warns that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed countries and that amplifying a hateful narrative could prove disastrous. He writes: “History has shown us many times that hatred could never resolve anything, but it created division in the region which has led to the downfall. India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed countries and the mainstream media of these countries should be cognizant of this fact.

Instead of focusing on blame-game and finger-pointing, they should focus more on educating people about the disastrous impacts of nuclear conflict. Media in both countries is free and it has the right to express freely.”

The duo argues that adding more on the ground reporters might help Pakistan report more accurate news coming from Kashmir, instead of relying on social media, foreign news sources or telephone calls.

Addressing the impact of COVID 19, the authors argue that both India and Pakistan should realign their priorities since they are both third world countries and focus on the development of their people rather than fight wars when peace is an option.

The “Three Tier Approach” include:
1- Building trust to set the ground for peace talks and negotiations.
2- Free and fair plebiscite.
3-The last resort – International Court of Justice.

Simmering Kashmir argues that trust has to be established between India and Pakistan if they are to solve the Kashmir Conflict. They propose that empathy and creativity should be used to rewrite and rewire the relationship between Pakistan and India which can set the right grounds for negotiating peace.

Proposing the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people, the book proposes a free and fair plebiscite, as mentioned in the United Nations resolutions as a way to achieve regional harmony along with political and economic stability in the troubled region.

It argues that both Pakistan and India should respect the self-determination of the Kashmiri people and embrace their sovereignty and that the plebiscite should determine if Kashmiris want to stay within the Indian dominion, want to stay within Pakistani dominion or want to stay independent.

“The Last Resort” offered by the book has the potential to resolve the Kashmir Crisis is by taking this conflict to the International Court of Justice.

Both India and Pakistan have failed to resolve this conflict on their own. The authors argue that then, as a last resort, a decision should be made by the International Court of Justice which would be binding on both countries.

However, Qaiser is quick to point out that this should only be considered as a backup plan which might not be required if the first two tiers, building trust and a plebiscite are successfully implemented.

Overall, Simmering Kashmir offers the reader a deep glance into the fundamentals of the Kashmir Crisis while also proposing a multi-layered solution that might be used by policymakers to analyse the multiple facets of the conflict and the consequences for all involved parties.

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