Kashmir Solidarity Day Ė Unforgotten Memories
Khalid Khokhar


Pakistan observes Kashmir Solidarity Day every year on 5th February to demonstrate their unequivocal support for the valiant struggle of the Kashmiri people in achieving their legitimate right to self-determination. The day would help raise awareness among the new generation about the struggle of the Kashmir people for their right to self-determination. Ever since the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Kashmir Solidarity Day is being observed as a regular feature throughout Pakistan and Azad Kashmir to express solidarity with Kashmiri brethren fighting against the tyranny of Indian occupation forces in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). Itís on record that India had occupied Kashmir by landing its troops in utter insolence for the Indian Partition Plan and in the absence of any accession document. The observance of the Kashmir Solidarity Day on 5th February every year is a clear manifestation that Indian rulers shall have to bow before the unequivocal will of the gallant people of the Jammu and Kashmir, who are struggling to achieve their right of self-determination, in line with the United Nations resolutions. This year also, the Solidarity Day is once again being observed in a befitting manner to reiterate Pakistan's abiding moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir struggling for their freedom.

The Kashmiri claim to self-determination is rooted in the United Nationsí definition of the Right to Self Determination as described in Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 1 of both these Covenants enshrines the inalienable right of all peoples and imposes on all States parties corresponding obligations. This right and the corresponding obligations concerning its implementation are interrelated with other provisions of U.N. Covenants and rules of international law. Lord Mountbatten said on October 27, 1947, that the accession of Kashmir should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehruís government took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations, saying that the people of Kashmir be given the chance to decide their future under the supervision of the United Nations. Against these solemn words and relentless struggle of the people of Kashmir, New Delhi today has two lame excuses: one, the pledges and the UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir have become outdated; two, what is going on in the Kashmir valley is not a people's revolt but the result of 'cross-border terrorism'. Both arguments are self-serving as the time cannot abrogate moral values nor invalidate the international community's right to intervene in flash points of conflict arising from denial of freedom and involving tyranny and persecution. For Kashmir, all United Nations resolutions and the Indian leaders' own pledges remain unfulfilled but valid because they are based on the time-honoured values of freedom and sacredness of basic human rights.
The Kashmir dispute primarily involves the lives and futures of thirteen million people. It impacts on the relations between India and Pakistan, which directly affects the peace and stability of the South Asian sub-continent, a region that contains one-fifth of the world population. How long will this go on? No less than 100,000 people have laid down their lives for the cause of freedom since Indian occupation during 1947-48. To suppress this struggle, New Delhi has deployed more than 700,000 troops in Kashmir where wanton human rights violations are of routine occurrence. All this is a direct result of India's brazen refusal to give the people of Kashmir their right to self-determination. Kashmir continues to be a flash point of conflict. Pakistan and India have earlier fought three wars on Kashmir, and they came close to a fourth following December 2001's mobilisation of its forces by India and concentrating them on Pakistan's borders under the garb of combating terrorism. With both the South Asian neighbours armed with nuclear weapons, another conventional war on Kashmir has the potential to turn into a nuclear exchange that could be disastrous not only for South Asia but for the world at large.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks on WTC witnessed a major paradigm shift - from fighting communism to combating Islamic terrorism. The formation of the US led alliance to fight terrorism provided the Indians the perfect excuse to turn back on their promise of finding a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue based on the wishes of the Kashmiris. They tried to confuse world opinion by pinning the blame on Pakistan for aiding the 'militants' through 'cross-border terrorism' and labeling the just struggle of the Kashmiris as acts of militancy in a bid to cover their own state terrorism. Pakistan has strongly protested on Indian "unprovoked" firing across the militarised border, bringing the toll on both sides to five since January 6. Pakistan has also urged that international community should take notice of repeated violation of ceasefire by India on the LoC. Diplomats on both sides have warned against allowing a spate of deadly cross-border incidents to wreck the tentative progress that has been made since a total break in relations following the 2008 attacks on Mumbai.
A seven-member All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) delegation headed by Hurriyat Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq visited Pakistan 15 to 22 December 2012 on the invitation of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for seeking reassurance that Pakistan will remain committed to Kashmir cause. In the backdrop of an impression that the core issue of Kashmir has been placed on the backburner in the hope that economic exchanges, the APHC leadership were apprehensive about the direction the Pak-India dialogue. However, Pakistan has assured that the resolution of Kashmir question will be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Chairman Kashmir Committee of the Parliament Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that there canít be durable peace in South Asia without resolution of the dispute as per aspirations of Kashmiri people. From a Kashmiri perspective, the leaders of both India and Pakistan should be encouraged to continue with the good-will initiatives (CBMs) they have started some time ago. However, any meaningful dialogue regarding Jammu and Kashmir cannot be restricted to bi-lateral negotiations. The UN resolutions provide for a practicable road map for resolution of the longstanding Kashmir dispute. The Kashmiris being a party to the disputeā should be included in Pakistan-India dialogue to make it substantial and meaningful. The discussions must be tri-lateral, that is, they must include representatives of Kashmiri people. Let us resolve this February 5 that before the next Solidarity Day for the Kashmiris, we would see an end to their misery, rape and torture and the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris would be exercised and they would stand justified and take their rightful place in the comity of nations.