Kashmiri must proactively stand up to Pak's plan to ruin its economy

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 20-06-2024
Sheikh Khalid Jehangir on hunger strike against Pakistan's role in violence in Kashmir
Sheikh Khalid Jehangir on hunger strike against Pakistan's role in violence in Kashmir


Sheikh Khalid Jehangir

Jammu and Kashmir has long been caught in the crosshairs of geopolitical conflict. Among the myriad challenges it faces, one of the most insidious is the persistent threat of terrorism orchestrated across the border by Pakistan.

This menace is not just a matter of security but a calculated effort to undermine the economic prosperity of Kashmir. As Kashmiris, we must recognize this reality and take collective action to safeguard our future.

Pakistan's approach towards Jammu and Kashmir has been driven by a desire to bleed the region through a thousand cuts. This strategy involves fostering and facilitating terror attacks with the specific intent to create instability and economic disruption. By making Kashmir appear unsafe, Pakistan aims to deter investment, hinder development, and perpetuate a cycle of poverty and despair.

Terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir have profound and far-reaching consequences on its economy. Each attack not only claims innocent lives but also sends shockwaves through the economic fabric of the region. Businesses suffer, tourism declines and the overall investment climate becomes hostile. The ripple effects of a single terror incident can halt economic progress for months if not years.

J&K relies heavily on tourism. The natural beauty, cultural heritage, and hospitality of its people make it a coveted destination. However, terror attacks create fear among the people. The Tourism sector supports thousands of livelihoods but it faces severe setbacks every time violence erupts.

Kashmiri youth practising Yoga in Lal Chowk

For any region to thrive economically, a stable and secure environment is crucial. Persistent terrorism creates an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, deterring both domestic and international investors. Without investment, job creation stagnates, infrastructure development slows down, and economic growth becomes an elusive dream. Small and medium enterprises, the backbone of Kashmir's economy, suffer immensely due to the instability.

Beyond the economic implications, the human cost of terrorism is staggering. Innocent lives are lost, families are shattered, and communities are left to grieve. The psychological trauma inflicted on the people of Kashmir cannot be quantified. Children grow up in an environment of fear, and the social fabric of society is repeatedly torn apart.

The time has come for Kashmiris to take a stand. We can no longer afford to be mute spectators while our homeland is systematically destabilized. Every Kashmiri has a role to play in this fight against terrorism and the preservation of our economic future.

It is essential for all segments of society—political leaders, civil society, trade bodies, and ordinary citizens—to unite and raise their voices against terrorism. This unity will send a strong message to the perpetrators and the world that Kashmir will not succumb to fear and violence.

Political leaders must prioritize the safety and economic well-being of Kashmir above all else. They should work towards policies that strengthen security, promote economic development, and create opportunities for the youth. Leadership should also engage in diplomatic efforts to hold Pakistan accountable for its actions.

DGP R R Swain enquring about health of police jawan who got injured during an encounter at Kota Top, Bhalessa, Doda

Civil society organizations and trade bodies have a crucial role in fostering resilience and economic stability. They can initiate programs that support local businesses, promote tourism, and provide vocational training to the youth. By building a robust economic foundation, they can help mitigate the impact of terrorism.

Raising awareness about the true impact of terrorism on Kashmir’s economy and society is vital. Public advocacy through various media platforms can highlight the plight of Kashmiris and garner support from the broader national and international community.J&K's strength lies in the unity and resilience of its people. Historically, people of J&K have shown an indomitable spirit in the face of adversity. It is this spirit that must be harnessed to counter the threat of terrorism and pave the way for economic prosperity.

Communities need to be vigilant and proactive in identifying and reporting suspicious activities. This collective vigilance can act as a deterrent to terrorist activities and enhance security at the grassroots level.

The youth of J&K are its future. Engaging them in constructive activities, providing them with education and employment opportunities, and involving them in the fight against terrorism can create a positive impact. Empowered youth can act as ambassadors of peace and prosperity.

The recent ruthless terror attacks in Jammu had only one objective to disturb the economy of the Union Territory. Pakistan wants to kill everything which is linked with Jammu and Kashmir.

Tourists thronging at the Tulip Garden, Srinagar

It’s unfortunate but true that Kashmir-based leaders fall short of condemning Pakistan. It seems they tend to believe that their role is over by issuing statements or by writing a few lines on social media.

These leaders should understand that they have to muster courage and call a spade a spade. They can’t act as mute spectators and allow the terrorists sponsored by Pakistan to call the shots.

J&K stands at a crossroads. The path to economic prosperity is fraught with challenges, the most significant being the threat of terrorism from across the border. However, with collective action, unity, and determination, J&K can overcome these obstacles. It is time for Kashmiris to wake up and fight this battle on their terms. By standing together against terrorism, we can protect our homeland, preserve our culture, and secure a prosperous future for generations to come.

The mission is clear: to make Kashmir a beacon of peace, stability, and economic success despite the adversities we face.

Sheikh Khalid Jehangir is the Director of International Centre for Peace Studies, New Delhi.