Hamid Mir hosted his Capital Talk programme on August 19 with a galaxy of senior diplomats as guests who had served as Pakistan high commissioners in India, barring Lt Gen (retd) Amjad Shoaib, a defence expert. Besides the normal India bashing, the highlight of the programme was that armed struggle for Kashmir is also legal. Indeed it is legal, provided that it is not stoked by any other country or organisation. To a statement by Hamid Mir that India is propagating infiltrations from Pakistan into the occupied valley of Kashmir, which they exploit to its full, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, one of the guests, said, “Kashmir’s armed resistance is legally justified if it is being fought for rights protected by the UNSC resolutions and the international community. If the Kashmiris seek assistance from any country for their rightful resistance, that would be justified under the international law. This will not hurt Pakistan or Azad Kashmir even if people from there go to assist the Kashmiris in the legitimate resistance and that would be legal as well.” By the same token, the struggle for independence of Balochistan will be justified. Pakistan has learned the hard way that non-state actors should not be used for furthering our claim on Kashmir. Remember the Kashmir insurgency before the 1965 war when Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Indian Prime Minister, said that if he has to choose the battleground, it would be not only around the Line of Control but also at the fronts across the international borders. Every time we used non-state actors, like in Kargil, the Indian response has been massive. We had to retreat after pleading the US president to intervene and save our face. People of Jammu and Kashmir are under the siege of the Indian Army. The federation of India is getting weaker by the days because India is making the same mistakes which Pakistan made – to construct a nation by exploiting religion India has successfully blamed Pakistan for using non-state actors to support cross-border terrorism – a stigma which has made Pakistan cut a sorry figure internationally. We have never invoked the clauses which allow armed independence movements. On the contrary, the most active Jihadi groups – the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad – are proscribed and their properties and bank accounts sealed. Kashmir’s bone of contention is between the two countries so whosoever challenges the state terrorism with armed struggle is seen by the international community as revanchists and using terrorist means to fulfill their objectives. Any armed struggle is seen not as the peoples’ but as a conflict between two states. Attacks on civilian targets are also seen as a conflict between two states. Modi has unwittingly, by using coercive policies, internationalized the Kashmir issue although he claims that it is an internal matter. If we accept the policy that armed struggle against a repressive government is allowed under international law, then we will open the door to interference in Balochistan where the Baloch nationalists are up in arms against the state of Pakistan. If we fall for the three diplomats’ suggestion that armed struggle is justified, then the same would be true for Balochistan’s independence. To suggest that Pakistan can support an armed struggle in Kashmir is a dangerous narrative. The way these things are these days, the armed struggle for independence as a means to counter the state terrorism is not legitimate. It is a conflict between two states. India is already making a case against Pakistan that it is sending infiltrators, which is presented as a justification of ceasefire violations. When we blame Modi’s government for scrapping from their Constitution articles 370 and 35a which gave security to Kashmiris that they would not be outnumbered by way of migration, we should realise that perhaps one day, we have to meet this kind of a demand in Balochistan because their main fear is that they will be outnumbered by the rising population migrating to the province. ‘Shining India’ is earning a bad name for the violations of human rights and scrapping the provisions given to Kashmir without any consultation with the local stakeholders. Rajeev Gandhi made the mistake of engineering state elections which led to the present day intifada. Modi has made a similar mistake, further fuelling the Kashmir independence movement. In the absence of even token representation of Kashmiri leaders, Modi had no right to scrap the special provisions in the Indian Constitution for Kashmir because governor rule was slapped on Kashmir and there is no elected state government. We have learnt much from the British raj when it comes to democracy, but it seems that we have stopped learning. A simple and civilized solution is to hold a referendum like England did in Scotland and Canada did in Quebec. People of Jammu and Kashmir are under the siege of the Indian Army. The federation of India is getting weaker by the days because India is making the same mistakes which Pakistan made – to construct a nation by exploiting religion. Pakistan should not get carried away by sentiments because we cannot afford a war with India, which has a much stronger economy. The Indian economy’s might is recognised by the world. We have seen that even Saudi Arabia and UAE have ignored the Pakistani propaganda against Modi and awarded the highest honour awards to Modi. It is not surprising as both countries do not believe in democracy and any dissent is crushed harshly. The writer is the author of What’s wrong with Pakistan?