Kashmir has always been an international issue that requires the global community to be active in their actions against the Indian illegal occupation. The international community is aware of the dispute and is thoroughly condemning India while standing by the Kashmiris.
With each new generation that comes into the Kashmir struggle, the intensity of the movement increases. The spontaneous nature of the current uprising is firmly established and the Indian attempts to unfairly malign Pakistan stand exposed. Pakistan wants peace not war, but Pakistan will never surrender to India’s dehumanizing policies and undermine the sacrifices of the Kashmiris. It is this superior nature of the Kashmiris’ struggle against the Indian illegal occupation that continues to grow in the face of unprecedented status quo and offers formidable resistance against the suffocating social environment and perpetual denial of human rights and compelling the Kashmiri people to resort to desperate measures.
The testimonials of international leaders, international lawmakers, Kashmiri statesmen, intellectuals, academics, and policymakers clearly censor India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and its continuing violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people.
Syed Ali Geelani (late), Chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), once stated that “Jammu and Kashmir have been relentlessly struggling to free themselves from the Indian military grip using all possible means and in response to our struggle India has deployed about a million armed forces to crush innocent Kashmiris”.1 The people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are the main victims of the Indian forces' brutalities: militarization, army operations, use of bullets and pellet guns, blowing-up homes, blinding and maiming people, draconian laws and torture as a means to crush the legitimate political aspirations of the people have worsened the situation.
The people of IIOJK do not have a platform to deliver their message and concerns to the international world since all means of communication are blocked, and hence Pakistan should create an environment and convince the P5 countries to bring India to the negotiating table as efforts to facilitate talks between India and Pakistan must include the representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as this is a trilateral dispute with three parties.
The former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik, emphasized that it is, “in fact, a moral and political duty for us to do our utmost to encourage the decision-makers to bring the violence and human rights abuses to an end and start a process for a political solution and lasting peace: people of Kashmir deserve this as their fundamental rights”.2
The struggle in Kashmir has shifted to a new generation of Kashmiris, with the youth and children as young as 10-years-old at the forefront. This new generation is far better educated and since they have grown up in the shadow of Indian arms, they have stopped fearing them.
The unfinished agenda of the partition can also be resolved if the United Kingdom and other major powers show solidarity with the plight of the Kashmiri people, and recalibrate their thinking about India’s gross human rights violations.
The unquestionable actions of the Indian military forces in IIOJK have worsened the humanitarian situation. Demilitarization of IIOJK should be the prerequisite to establish peace and grant the Kashmiri people the right to self-determination. In order to mitigate the long term risks to humanity, it is imperative that the international community should fulfill their responsibility to emancipate the Kashmiri population from the sufferings imposed by the illegitimate Indian occupation.
The question why the global human rights experts condemn India is answered by Janne Teller, former conflict advisor to the United Nations (UN), as she said that “When human rights are violated in Kashmir, they are violated in the world. That’s why we are one world, one humanity. The brutalities that happen against one person, is a brutality against the humanity of all people”.3 The intertextual source and reference to the “one humanity” in Janne’s remark denominates the “global human rights standard” and is linked with the human rights of the Kashmiris which have been clearly violated through the sheer brutality and state-sponsored terrorism of the Indian military and security forces.
The former President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Masood Khan, reiterated and cautioned that the “Kashmir movement is a peaceful movement. India cannot resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir by the use of state terrorism. Kashmir will not capitulate, surrender or abandon their stance on the right of self-determination under any circumstances”.4
The ensuing analysis of numerous remarks by international lawmakers reflects that the alienation of Kashmiris from India is total and irreversible. Indian claims and attempts about pacifying the region have also not been successful. Despite the employment of coercive political and overwhelming military means, the muscular approach of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stands entirely discredited even in the eyes of many Indians and this is the reason for the current crisis in Kashmir. Besides the political and security crisis, the present situation is a daunting humanitarian challenge to people's right to life, liberty, and security.
Julie Ward, former Member of the European Parliament and former Vice President Kashmir Group, described the current situation of IIOJK in the European Parliament as, “Violation against women rights is rising and they are being sexually assaulted by police and by the paramilitary forces. The Kashmir movement has perceived this practice as intimidation and as an attempt to silence them because of the armys’ complicity with the attackers”.5 Anywhere there's occupation and denial of political and human rights, people will resort to struggle. Therefore, one cannot agree with any stigmatization of the struggle of Kashmir as terrorism. This is the right given to the occupied people by the United Nations and all other human rights organizations.
The Kashmiri people believe that their human rights are being violated due to the overwhelming presence of foreign troops, referring to the Indian military presence. It may be an Indo-Pakistan dispute, but over and above it is primarily an issue related to the destiny of the people of Kashmir. Therefore, even if the international community can be a neutral party between India and Pakistan, it cannot stand neutral between a perpetrator and a victim.
According to Jean Lambert, former Member of the European Parliament, “The enormous militarization in Indian Occupied Kashmir, the human rights abuse and people who still do not have the chance to decide their own future, it becomes very important that the international community pays much more attention to the situation in Kashmir”.6
Marjan Lucas, an independent consultant and former associate of the PAX, stated that “The people of Kashmir deserve their hope to be strengthened, not crushed.”7 As the Kashmir dispute is under the domain of international law, it is of utmost importance that the right terminologies are used to define it. India is not simply committing human rights violations against the Kashmiris but is committing crimes against humanity according to Article VII of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998. So, Pakistan must use the right terms when it highlights its position on the Kashmir dispute at the international forums.
As per Anthea Mclnytre, Chairperson of Friends of Kashmir in the European Parliament, “We should find ways to promote peace in the region and towards a proper stabilization and means to have self-determination for all the people of Kashmir. Let’s hope that in coming time we will see peace in the region and we will see democracy prevail”.8 It is clear that there is no military solution for Kashmir. The only solution is through dialogue and Pakistan hopes that better sense will prevail; the Indian government and leadership will come to the negotiating table to address the issue of Kashmir dispute and give Kashmiris their rights and provide them safety and security.
Tony Lloyd, Member of the Parliament, UK, and former Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, interlinked priority of global community especially the major powers, with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and remarked that “The major countries need to pay attention to resolve the Kashmir issue because it is the oldest conflict and there is a need to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully so that the people of the region can enjoy the benefit of peace”.9 The textual analysis of Lloyd’s remarks directly reflects the risks of war and military confrontation if a peaceful solution is not considered by India. The character of his statement also places onus on both India and the international community.
Kate Green, Member of the UK Parliament, stated that “The Indian and Pakistani governments have a responsibility to bring this division and conflict to an end and the United Kingdom will support it in all aspects”.10 Green’s statement evidently describes a paralysis of decision-making in India. Whereas the current BJP government implemented the worse draconian laws in IIOJK, it still enjoys significant political and economic support of all the major powers. The unfinished agenda of the partition can also be resolved if the United Kingdom and other major powers show solidarity with the plight of the Kashmiri people and recalibrate their thinking about India’s gross human rights violations. This reflection is also included in Debbie Abrahams’ statement who, as former Chair of All Party Parliamentary groups (APPG) in UK, recommended “a process of peace and reconciliation on both sides of the Line of Control and that diplomacy and dialogue must be used to come out with a sustainable and peaceful solution”.11
Sardar Santokh Singh, a Pakistani Sikh community leader, who has shown unfaltering solidarity with the Kashmiri people, stated that “The Sikh are those soldiers who can give their lives for the dignity and nobility of Pakistan and will stand with the Kashmiri brothers and sisters who are facing the fascist BJP government and brutal rule of the Indian military”.12
Sardar Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Member of the House of Commons, stated that “We should find ways to promote peace in the region and towards a proper stabilization and means to have self-determination for all the people of Kashmir. Let’s hope that in the coming time we will see peace in the region and we will see democracy prevail”.13 Sardar Tanmanjeet clarified the complexities of the Kashmir dispute but categorically supported the right to self-determination because a peaceful and sustainable solution of IIOJK would determine the future of India and the wider South Asian region.
Therefore showing solidarity with the Kashmiri people is directly linked with regional and global peace efforts. Afzal Khan, MP House of Commons and former Vice Chair APPG on Kashmir, summed up the issue of delay and partiality of global stakeholders and said that “All the international organizations, whose role is to defend human rights and promote peace, have failed the people of Kashmir. The UN is not speaking out to say who is violating the LOC, so that the world knows who the aggressor is”.14 Ali Raza Syed, Chairman Kashmir Council, European Union, also supports “the aspirations of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IIOJK)” that will “not be suppressed and they will get their right to self-determination.”15
The inconsistent position of India and politicization of an internationally recognized dispute has done a disservice to the credibility of India’s so-called democratic government which Lord Qurban Hussain, House of Lords, UK, neatly framed: “India has always changed its stance on Kashmir and has refused to give the Kashmiri people their rights, we stand with the Kashmiri’s”.
The former APHC convener, Ghulam Muhammad Safi, raised a valid question and reminded the world community that “both India and Pakistan jointly endorsed that plebiscite on 13th of August 1948. Having accepted the plebiscite proposal, how could India still talk about the instrument of accession of 27th October 1947?”16
India’s deceptive campaign to sustain annexation and control of the IIOJK would never undermine the legitimate rights of the Kashmiri people. To conclude, showing solidarity with the people of IIOJK is a testimonial of validating the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people, abiding by the UN resolutions, and most importantly peacefully resisting India’s ideological and territorial hegemony.
The writer is the Director General of Pakistan House (www.pakistanhouse.net), an Islamabad-based think tank of international affairs.
1. Participated through video link from Srinagar; International Seminar on: UN Report on Human Rights Violations in IIOJK, Demographic Changes and Social Implications, December 8, 2018, Islamabad, organized by Pakistan House.
2. International seminar: Occupied Kashmir: The Victim of State and Societal Coercion, February 25, 2019, Islamabad, organized by Pakistan House.
3. International conference on UN Report on Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir: Demographic Changes and Societal Implications December 8, 2018, organized by Pakistan House.
4. International seminar: Occupied Kashmir: The Victim of State and Societal Coercion, February 25, 2019, Islamabad, organized by Pakistan House.
5. International seminar: Kashmir: An Unfinished Agenda of Partition, Islamabad, May 7, 2018, organized by Pakistan House.
6. International conference: Occupied Kashmir: The Victim of State and Societal Coercion, Islamabad, February 25, 2019, organized by Pakistan House.
7. International seminar: UN Report on Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir: Demographic Changes and Societal Implications, Islamabad, December 8, 2018, organized by Pakistan House.
8. International seminar: Kashmir: An Unfinished Agenda of Partition, Islamabad, May 7, 2018, organized by Pakistan House.
9. International conference: Occupied Kashmir: The Victim of State and Societal Coercion, Islamabad, February 25, 2019, organized by Pakistan House.
10. International seminar: Occupied Kashmir: The Victim of State and Societal Coercion, Islamabad, February 25, 2019, organized by Pakistan House.
11. International conference: Occupied Kashmir: The Victim of State and Societal Coercion, February 25, 2019, organized by Pakistan House.
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