The two faces of Kashmir conundrum

// By Mazhar Iqbal / The two faces of the Kashmir conundrum are very visible and clear on 5th February 2021. India restores 4G internet in Indian held Jammu and Kashmir, perhaps, not at the country’s will, but, to provide a counter-narrative to a well-defined enemy.

Earlier on the same day (5th Feb) that is commemorated all over Pakistan and Pakistan administered Jammu and Kashmir as the Kashmir Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Kashmiri peoples’ goal of self-determination was not far.

The restoration of the 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistani politicians’ rhetorical statements over the right of self-determination are two faces of well-conceived strategies of both sides.

One side of the chessboard takes a practical step by either moving forward or backward and the other side responds quickly. “Pakistan will stand with you till you achieve your legitimate rights”, PM Imran Khan reminds Kashmiris while reiterating the age-old statement.

He further claims that Pakistan has always stood for peace in our region, but the onus of creating an enabling environment lies with India. Who knows how many filters this statement passes through before handing it over to the media?

The internet services were cut off in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, hours before the Centre revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and split the state into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Dhruv Rathee, a Twitter user aptly reminds both the governments that for one and a half years, Indians have been demanding restoration of 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir but the government took no action.

After just one day of international headlines on how the internet is being restricted, human rights violated, the government has now decided to restore the 4G.

Yet, there are few others in India, who think the reason was Rihanna. Shibli Shekh thanked Rihanna for restoring 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir. It took just one tweet from Rihanna to anger the Indian government and supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, the MSN News reported.

“The pop star linked a news article in a tweet drawing attention to the massive farmer protests that have gripped India for more than two months. Now, senior government ministers, Indian celebrities, and even the foreign ministry are urging people to come together and denounce outsiders who try to break the country.”The restoration of 4G in the Jammu and Kashmir region was a befitting response to Foreign Minister Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi who earlier tweeted that no level of blackout and censorship can silence the strong, unflinching resilience of Kashmiris’ in the face of such unspeakable atrocities by the rogue Indian state.

Domestic audience in Pakistan administered Jammu and Kashmir was another reason for a rhetorical statement over Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. The journalists and social media users claimed that there were thousands of people in Muzaffarabad jalsa (political gathering) 130 miles away from Kotli, where PM Imran Khan addressed a rally of his party supporters. The Muzaffarabad power show was organized by the opposition parties of the PM Imran Khan government.