Amid the rising tensions between India and Pakistan over scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai called for a peaceful resolution to the seven-decade-old conflict.
In a message posted on Twitter, she said, “The people of Kashmir have lived in conflict since I was a child since my mother and father were children since my grandparents were young. For seven decades, the children of Kashmir have grown up amidst violence…Whatever disagreements we may have, we must always defend human rights, priortise the safety of children and women and focus on peacefully resolving the seven-decade old conflict.”
Adding that she is worried about the safety of the Kashmiri children and women, Malala wrote, “I care about Kashmir because South Asia is my home — a home I share with 1.8 billion people including Kashmiris… I hope all South Asians, the international community and the concerned authorities respond to their suffering.”
Tensions between the neighbours have escalated after India passed a Bill to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories. In response, Pakistan expelled the Indian envoy in Islamabad and announced a downgrade of its ties with India and suspension of bilateral trade. Delhi chose not to respond with sources indicating that it did not want to fall for what it considers a bait, and a desperate bid by Islamabad to internationalise the issue.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan voiced apprehension that Pulwama-like attacks could follow the Centre’s move, which could even trigger a conventional war between Pakistan and India.
Yousafzai had also expressed concerns over Indo-Pak ties in February, when New Delhi launched Balakot airstrike. Urging the Prime Ministers of the two countries to show “true leadership” by shaking hands to settle the issue, she had written, “Millions of people are suffering today because of existing wars – we don’t need another. Our world cannot even care for all the people currently in peril.”