Internationalising the Kashmir issue

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Sultan M Hali

THE situation in Kashmir is becoming desperate since Indian brutalities and atrocities on the hapless and unarmed Kashmiris continue unabated. Ever since the slaying of popular Kashmiri youth leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, at the hands of Indian security forces, the movement has taken a serious turn. Thousands of protesters took to the streets but Indian security forces have been firing mercilessly on them with pellet guns. The cruel use of this weapon has taken a toll of 110 precious lives while the pellets have been targeting the eyes of young children and youth, causing more than 3000 of them to lose their eyesight permanently. Curfew has been clamped on the Valley, bringing life to a standstill.
Pakistan has been providing moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris since 1947; it went to war with India in 1947, 1965 and 1971 but the fate of the Kashmiris has not changed. In 1989, the Kashmiris, tired of waiting for India to abide by the UN Resolutions on Kashmir to hold a plebiscite to enable the people of Kashmir to decide their own fate, took up arms to bring their just demand for freedom from Indian yoke of tyranny to a logical conclusion. India retaliated by deploying over 700,000 of its forces to suppress the freedom movement. Backed by draconian laws like POTA, TADA and AFSPA, Indian viciousness has caused over 100,000 Kashmiris to be martyred, thousands of their women raped and thousands continue to languish in Indian jails.
Kargil episode internationalized the issue but failed to resolve the Kashmir dispute. To punish Pakistan for its unstinted support of the Kashmiris and also to divert world attention from its own atrocities in Kashmir, India has been pounding the Line of Control incessantly, violating the 2003 Ceasefire accord and killing scores of innocent villagers and a few Pakistani soldiers. To add insult to injury, India has been staging false flag operations on its own military installations, killing its own soldiers in fake terror attacks but blaming Pakistan for them. The aim is again to divert world opinion from its brutalities in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) as well as denigrate its western neighbour.
Pakistan is left with no choice but to accelerate its diplomatic efforts to expose India’s reign of terror in IOK and bring international pressure upon it to cease the Indian cruelty towards the Kashmiris. Pakistan’s Prime Minister forcefully presented the case of Indian atrocities in IOK during his September 2016 speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Pakistan dispatched special envoys to various world capitals to argue the Kashmir issue and garner support to bring an end to Indian atrocities. The Kashmiris themselves have been active internationally to draw the attention of human rights activists and people of conscience. It has borne fruit to the extent that over 900 academics, litterateurs and educationists across the globe including the famed professor Noam Chomsky, have expressed solidarity with the Kashmiris and sent a signed petition to the Indian government to cease its brutal treatment of the people of IOK.
On occasion of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s address to UNGA, September 26, 2016, Kashmiris staged a forceful protest demonstration outside the UNGA building against Indian brutalities in held Kashmir. On October 27, 2016, which is observed as a Black Day because on this day, India forces had illegally occupied Kashmir, all over the world protest rallies were organized to highlight Indian brutalities on Kashmiris in IOK. On November 3, 2016, 70-80 protesters gathered in front of UN headquarters at Maputo to condemn Indian atrocities in IOK while holding placards and banners in their hands. The aim of the protest was to make Mozambique Government, its people and the international community aware of atrocities committed by Indian troops in IOK and jolt the conscience of United Nations as an organization representing world community.
Protesters also highlighted and condemned the large scale killings of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces, use of pellet guns causing blindness of Kashmiris and failure of UN to resolve its longest outstanding resolution of Kashmir issue. The placards and banners depicted “India a Terrorist State”, “Stop War Crimes in Kashmir”, UN Wake up”, “Why UN is silent of Indian Brutalities and Human Rights Violations in Indian occupied Kashmir”, “Pellets and Bullets won’t work”, “India is an apartheid state” and many others highlighting Kashmir dispute and Indian force’s atrocities in Kashmir. A memorandum was also submitted to UN officials, which was stamped and received by UN officials. It is the first time in the history of Mozambique that Pakistani community have organized the protest in front of UN Headquarters to highlight the Kashmir dispute and atrocities conducted by Indian troops in IOK. In a turn of events, US President elect Donald Trump has offered his good offices to mediate between India and Pakistan to help resolve the Kashmir issue. Pakistan has dispatched its special advisor to the Prime Minister to the US to meet with Donald Trumps’ team and discuss modalities of operationalizing President elect’s arbitration offer.
It may be mentioned that the outgoing US President Barrack Obama, had also promised to help resolve the Kashmir issue during his election campaign in 2008 but reneged on it when he took oath of office. Kashmiris reminded him of his promise when Obama was visiting India during his first tenure through a petition signed by 5000 Kashmiris. Obama remained oblivious to the plight of the Kashmiris even during his second visit to India, instead kowtowing to his hosts. There is a likelihood that when Trump takes oath of Presidency, he may be forced by the US establishment to go back on on his promise to the Kashmiris. However, in the interest of humanity, world peace and cooling down tensions between the two nuclear weapons armed neighbours plagued by the unresolved Kashmir issue, Donald Trump may pick up the gauntlet and find an amicable solution and bring an end to the long suffering of the Kashmiris.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.
Email: sm_hali@yahoo.com

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