The world is going through worst times. After the world warsecond this is the first time the whole world is on an edge. The pandemic hasshaken the global economy; markets have crashed and millions of people arewithout jobs. More than a lakh lives are already lost and one and a halfmillion are inflicted by the deadly COVID-19. The novel virus treated all"isms", and all political ideologies alike. It overnight posed threatto even the mighty and developed nations who were always engaged in arms race.Under these horrific circumstances, the small states which are caught in thethroes of protracted conflicts have become more vulnerable to the disease.
A CALL FOR PEACE
Given their vulnerability, the United Nations GeneralSecretary Antinio Gueterio called for an immediate "Global Ceasefire" to beatthe disease. He said "It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and forcestogether on the true fight of our lives". The UN chief called on warringparties to pull back from the brink of ongoing conflicts and hostilities, headded "put mistrust and animosity aside and silence the guns, stop theartillery and end the strikes". This indeed is the major development coming outfrom the UN to combat the deadly contagion collectively and save the world fromanother disaster. Here, I believe that the world will not bear the two sharpedged swords at a time, there indeed is need to silence the guns for the causeof humanity. A call from General Secretary will pave the way for variousinternational organizations and other world donors to reach-out to variouspost-colonial, underdeveloped and developing countries including the millionsof displaced refugees with a humanitarian aid and other medical facilities. Thepost-colonial countries and the other conflict-ridden countries will be theworst hit. However, during the continuous air strikes and the blazing gunships,it will not be possible for any international humanitarian organizations andother NGOs working for peacebuilding and peacekeeping to reach-out in the worsthit war-torn countries like Syria, Sudan, Bosnia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan,Burma and others. In these troubled countries the war has uprooted and killedmillions. Frederic Wehrey, author of The Burning shores: Inside the battle forthe New Libya wrote in the New York Times "The spread of the novel coronaviruswill have a devastating effect on the Middle East's communities of refugees andmigrants. The pandemic may also bring into focus the legitimacy and governancedeficit of increasingly troubled Middle Eastern regimes".
Interestingly, a call for global peace was endorsed by morethan seventy countries so far including the eleven war-torn countries likecommunist guerilla in the Philippines, Houthi's in Yemen, Libya, Sudan,Colombia, Syria, and Ukraine which undoubtedly is a way forward to save moreand more human lives across the globe. It will also play a significant role inthose conflicted countries were hospitals and other healthcare facilities weredisrupted in airstrikes and continue fighting between the warring parties andtheir western and eastern allies. Furthermore, the ceasefire call was alsobacked by peace ambassadors cum Nobel laureate like Malala Yousafzai, CharlizeTheron and a world known novelists Paulo Coelho with many other worldcelebrities.
History bears witness that Ceasefire offers some kind ofthaw or in other words a short lived de-escalation process between the warringparties or sometimes helps in building a long road for a political dialogue.While talking about the immediate need of ceasefire United Nations GeneralSecretary Antinio Gueteria in his poignant article in The Guardian stronglyargued for "Unity and the collective action to face-down the COVID-19 pandemicand its shattering consequences around the world"
Lastly, due to the ongoing pandemic across the world and inKashmir too more and more lives are lost and are getting infected, thereforekeeping all this in mind the Government of Indian and Government of Pakistan,as responsible members of the United Nations, also need to pay heed to UNchief's call for an immediate ceasefire on both sides of the Line of Control(LOC). GOI should also announce an immediate ceasefire with the warring partieswithin Kashmir. In the last two weeks more than 20 human lives were lost toguns from both sides in Kashmir. Saving the human lives in these tough timesmust be the priority for both the state and non-state actors. We must rememberthat the ceasefire agreements are the first milestone for crafting apeace deal and sometimes they end-up with a mutually agreed political dialogue.Let the warring parties not lose the opportunity. It is time to break the chainof both contagion transmission and the cycle of killings. Let peace and bettersense prevail.
Javeed Bin Nabi is Post-Graduate in International Relations, (Peace and Conflict studies) at IUST, Awantipora, Kashmir.