As India tried to contain the protests that erupted after the execution of Afzal Guru for the third day on Monday for the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament, Pakistan has pointed out that it has also placed All-Parties Hurriyet Conference leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani under house arrest in their New Delhi residences. However, as pointed out by the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, such tactics would not suppress the Kashmiri freedom struggle. The spokesman expressed serious concern at the measures being taken by India, which it described as high-handed, in the wake of the execution, to suppress the aspirations of the Kashmiris. India continues to deny the Kashmiri people the right of self-determination, and to occupy it illegally, in defiance of its own solemn commitments, and the UNSC resolutions on the subject. India refuses to allow the dispute to be raised, knowing fully well that the only legitimate discussion is on implementing those resolutions, which call for a UN-supervised plebiscite so as to provide all the Kashmiri people their inherent right of self-determination. The Foreign Office was joined by Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehmanm who said in a statement issued the same day, that India had converted all of Held Kashmir into an army garrison, and was now using the courts against the Kashmiris. He said that Guru’s execution would further fan the flames of the Kashmiri struggle.

As he said, Guru’s execution was termed by some Indian intellectuals as a travesty of justice. The Foreign Office spokesman, responding to a question about the execution, noted that it was being discussed by the media and the human rights organizations. The questions about the trial have led to further ugly questions being raised: Why was Guru railroaded? Because he was a Kashmiri and a Muslim?

It is not entirely coincidental that India has felt free to carry out the execution as well as other steps to suppress the Kashmiri people. The constant, though unavailing, efforts of Pakistan to put the cart before the horse by befriending it before the resolution of outstanding issues, rather than after, have only resulted in the grant by Pakistan to India of MFN status. This is what India wants: negotiations with Pakistan which lead to the achievement of items on its wish list without even a mention, no matter how cursory, of the Kashmir dispute, even though it is the core issue between the two countries. The government should realise that the increased brutality in Kashmir is because of the perception that Pakistan is weak and wants to be friends at any cost. It should also realise that there is an election just around the corner, and the Pakistani people will not be satisfied with the policy being pursued. Mere words will not be enough: the government has to take action.