Gravity of Kashmiris’ plight
THE dark night that began on 27 October 1947, with India sending occupation forces continues; but while India could physically and illegally occupy territory it could not occupy hearts and minds. Brave people of Kashmir have resisted occupation for over 70 years and continue to do so. Pakistan has always pursued the matter at the UN. Kashmir issue was raised at international level five times in 10 days preceding the Black Day this year. Human rights violations of the Kashmiri people have been repeatedly documented by independent human rights observers, the most significant among them being the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who issued a Report in June on the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoK). Pakistan has endorsed the Report’s recommendations, and has renewed its call for the UN to set up a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ (CoI) to investigate the grave human rights violations in IoK, as recommended by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “We endorse the report’s recommendations that a UN Inquiry Commission be constituted to investigate and redress the gross violations of the human rights of the Kashmiri people,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi recently told the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural questions.
Pakistan is deeply concerned at the rise of racism, xenophobia and intolerance; and is of the view that such divisive forces pose a grave threat to international peace and security and can undo the work of peacemakers by disrupting the momentum for peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation. Human rights violations in Kashmir perpetrated by Indian Army with legal immunity dwarf in scale the violations that provoked international humanitarian action in other international disputes. India does not allow HR observer delegations to visit Kashmir. It clearly shows that India has something to hide. May be, India does not want the world at large to know about tens of thousands indiscriminate human slaughtering, mass graves, countless rapes, abductions, custodial disappearances, arbitrary detentions, arsons, and brutal suppression of peaceful political protesters.
Kashmiri people’s aspirations for self-determination would have been fulfilled decades ago had India not employed a brutal policy of repression to deny the Kashmiris their right promised to them by the UN Security Council as well as by the governments of India and Pakistan. India continues to hold the future of millions of people hostage. Indian forces have unleashed a reign of terror to crush the will of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan has reaffirmed that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute will remain on the UN agenda until the Kashmiri people are allowed to exercise their will, according to the agreed method prescribed by the Security Council. Right to self-determination is sanctified in the very foundations of the United Nations. Yet, for countless people, the promise of freedom remains elusive.
It is unfortunate that despite these clear injunctions of international law and morality, millions continue to live under alien domination and foreign occupation, nowhere is this more glaring and tragic than in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Movement in Kashmir is indigenous, popular and people’s movement. Indian Army is involved in serious war crimes. They open fire on unarmed civilians at their will because they have been given immunity under draconian laws, like Armed Forces Special Powers Act. (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA). There is a need of an inquiry into these war crimes by a neutral agency, like the United Nations. Politicians in Europe are increasingly joining the growing international chorus as pressure mounts on India for the actions committed by its security forces in the disputed region. British Scholar, Alistair Lamb has convincingly demonstrated that the Instrument was bogus as an original has never been found, and there is no plausible explanation for a disappearance if an original had ever existed.
The Report of the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPKG), on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, has detailed severe Indian human rights atrocities in IoK. It echoes many of the findings of the UN OHCHR Report. APPKG report is critical of the human rights atrocities being committed with impunity by Indian occupation forces in IoK, especially the use of pellet guns, draconian laws. The Report also mentions presence of unmarked graves in IoK and enforced disappearances. The Report is a damning indictment for India and an encouraging step forward after the UN OHCHR Report. Both these reports underscore the contrast between the human right situation in IoK and Kashmir and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan endorses the APPKG’s Report, especially its recommendations.
Hectic efforts of Indian lobby to stop the events of October 27, Kashmir Black Day failed miserably and events were conducted with full zeal across the World. Events in Iran included Black Day messages displayed on electronic display screens and giant billboards in Tehran. Iran’s supreme leader has time and again expressed his unequivocal support for the struggle of IoK people. British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julie Ward has said human rights violations in IoK are a matter of great concern for the British people as well as the whole world. Ward said the occupied territory is the most militarised area in the world where human rights violations by the occupying forces happen on a daily basis and have sadly become part of the local population’s day-to-day life. The Kashmir issue is very much alive at the UN and will remain alive until it is resolved according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir and UN Resolutions. Though the BJP government is ready to go to any length to suppress the popular uprising for freedom. However, it would never succeed in suppressing the Kashmiri freedom.