Pakistan won an international Cricket championship against India by 181 runs — a considerably huge margin. Indians were obviously hurt and more so because they felt their team had not given their best. However, there was joy and jubilation over Pakistan’s triumph in Indian-held Kashmir. Alternatively, this joy among Kashmiris was also read as excitement over India’s defeat. In a valley which hosts a large segment of the Indian army, where guns are always ready to strike protesting Kashmiris, and where the Indian state can resort to any tactic to undermine the Kashmiris’ struggle for independence, celebrating Pakistan’s victory is not a small step. It does not only speak about the bravery of the Kashmiris, it also highlights their disdain for India and its policy towards Kashmir. Kashmiris also wrap the coffins of their martyrs in Pakistani flags. Over the last one year since the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, a new insurgency has broken out in Kashmir which the state has brutally oppressed by using rape, pellet wounds, custodial torture, curfews and ruthless gunfire against protesting crowds. Kashmir is not just a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. It is an ideological tussle that will never cease to inflame emotions unless the Indian government takes into consideration the will of the Kashmiri people. The 1989 insurgency broke out in the wake of rigged elections. To date, Kashmir has only had governments that represent Delhi’s interests more than the interest of the Kashmiris. The current spate of violence by the Kashmiris is also a backlash from rigged elections. The writing on the wall is simple to understand, though. The BJP government has been ruling India with an anti-Muslim mind-set. Cases of Muslims lynched over eating beef and the crass treatment meted out to minorities who observe their separate faiths has exposed India’s false claims to secularism. Sane voices in India have been warning the government of losing Kashmir if the valley is not allowed to follow a path of its own choosing. People in Kashmir want to see an end to the deployment of the army in their state which has virtually stripped Kashmiris from their rights to free movement and speech. A slight aberration — depending on what that means to a given officer — by a commoner could either lead to torture, blindness or even death. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has recently criticised India’s flawed approach towards Kashmir. Even Mehbooba Mufti, CM Kashmir, has criticized BJP for pursuing the wrong strategy to quell the insurgency. Kuldip Nayar, a veteran Indian writer, has openly said that Kashmir is slipping from India’s hands. However, the people’s open aggression against the state shows that Kashmir has already slipped from India’s hands and what India is merely holding onto is just a piece of land. In a valley which hosts a large segment of the Indian Army, where guns are always ready to strike protesting Kashmiris, and where the Indian state can resort to any tactic to underminethe Kashmiris’ struggle for independence — celebrating Pakistan’s victory is not a small step Whether India accepts it or not, the reality is that the current struggle for independence in Kashmir is not simply sponsored by Pakistan. The youth of Kashmir has taken up the fight for freedom. Not that there is no interference from non-state actors in Kashmir, in the larger scheme of things, Kashmir’s struggle is more indigenous and less reliant on outside sources. The question then arises — how does this new development exonerate Pakistan of its responsibility to support Kashmir? Looking into the enthusiasm of the Kashmiri people for their association with Pakistan, the responsibility gets bigger and places the onus on Pakistan to intensify its diplomatic efforts to realign international opinion in favour of the Kashmiri people. Lately, Pakistan’s response to the Kashmir issue has been lukewarm. The parliamentarians who were asked to rally international support were found ill prepared to carry out this task. However, with the initiation of CPEC — which is bound to change the dynamics of this region — the Kashmir issue can be resolved. Pakistan should seek China and Russia’s involvement in the Kashmir issue just as they are involved in solving the Afghan conundrum. Though there is a difference between Afghanistan and Kashmir, and China or Russia’s interest in Afghanistan emanates from the presence of the US in the region, they must, for the sake of peace and stability, stop Kashmir from bleeding. Pakistan too must play a more robust role in seeing this happen. The writer is a journalist. She can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, July 12th , 2017.