Jeddah: Urging both India and Pakistan to desist from inciting tension in Kashmir, Saudi Gazette - a leading Saudi daily, Sunday said the struggle in Kashmir is not about religion and is actually a "just fight" of the people who want an end to "subjugation and killings".
"The struggle for the equality and dignity of the Kashmiri people is a just one. They never talk of recession. They want an end to subjugation and killings. They want economic equality. A 40 percent unemployment rate is not a palatable figure", Khaled Almaeena, Editor-at-Large, Saudi Gazette said in an article published today.
"Kashmir is often described as the “Switzerland of the East” and its people want it to be that way. They want to, for once, wake up and breathe the free and fresh air and smell the fragrance of the beautiful flowers and blossoms of trees without hearing the sound of army boots and gunfire", he added.
"The communal nature of present-day Indian politics is stoking the flames. Kashmir is not about religion.
"..... I have not met one Kashmiri here or anywhere in the world who has said that we want to go with Pakistan", he said.
Quoting a Kashmiri doctor that it is like “jumping from the frying pan into the fire", Khaled wrote, "And this India should realize. RSS, Shiv Sena and other organizations, wannabe politicians and fame-seeking media people should note that inflaming the nation will bring tragic results."
The daily also criticised the local media, accusing it of bias and indulging in propaganda.
"The usually volatile Indian media has been silent except for those who occupy television networks howling and barking in a comical way about ISIS or Daesh, Taliban and ISI", he wrote.
"They parrot the same mumbo-jumbo and some tweets in fact have asked for more killings of these teenagers who are protesting gang rapes, extrajudicial killings and disappearances, which are facts that have been attested to by even the National Human Rights Commission of India. The media (except few and he named NDTV and Barkha Dutt) is pandering to state propaganda and clouding the real situation in the region", he added.
The daily was equally harsh on the Pakistan's Kashmir policy and even suggested Lashkare Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed should be sent behind bar.
"Across the border, rabble-rousers, like Hafiz Saeed, who claim that they stoke rebellion should be arrested. Vote-seeking, power-hungry Pakistani politicians should be gagged. Do not use the Kashmiri people’s quest for justice as a vehicle to reach your dream office", he wrote.
Khaled also had a piece of advice for India and Pakistan urging both the countries to focus on economy.
"Both countries are in dire economic straits. India should instead focus on so-called economic smart cities that are flooded with toxic waste, stop the rising number of farmers committing suicide, fight corruption and waste and respect human life.
"Across the border, the same problems occur, beginning with load shedding, kidnapping and corruption. Killers roam the streets of Karachi gunning down people at will and holding the entire city hostage", Khaled wrote.