5th February the Kashmir Solidarity Day!

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The people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir intensified their struggle for securing inalienable right to self-determination in 1989. The mass movement gave sleepless nights to the Indian rulers who came with a heavy hand to crush the popular movement. In a bid to intimidate the general Kashmiri masses, India appointed Jagmohan Malhotra, who was notorious for his anti-Muslim bias and activities in India, as the Governor of the illegally occupied territory on 19 January 1990, dismissing the government of Farooq Abdullah. Immediately after assuming charge, Jagmohan ordered the Indian troops to deal with the freedom-seeking Kashmiris ruthlessly. The troops unleashed a reign of terror across IIOJK and on the night of 20 January, they molested several women in Srinagar during house-to-house searches. As the people came to know about the molestation of the women on the next morning, they took to the streets in the city in thousands to protest against this brutality. The troops massacred over 50 people and injured hundreds others by opening indiscriminate fire on these protesters in Gaw Kadal area. The carnage caused resentment in Pakistan and the ensuing 5th February was declared as a solidarity day across the country. Since then, every year, the day is being observed to express unity with the oppressed people of IIOJK at the state level.

Kashmir dispute
It is a historical fact that India illegally occupied the territory of Jammu and Kashmir by landing its troops in Srinagar on 27 October 1947 in total violation of the Partition Plan of the Indian Subcontinent and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Under the Partition Plan, Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states. Hindu majority areas were to form India and Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and east Bengal were to constitute Pakistan. As per the understanding behind the Partition Plan, the then princely states were given the choice to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their geography and demography. With overwhelming 87% Muslim population, Jammu and Kashmir was a natural part of Pakistan as both shared strong bonds in respect of religion, geography and culture. But, unfortunately, the then Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, announced the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India under a controversial document, Instrument of Accession. Maharaja’s action laid the foundation of the Kashmir dispute. Many observers including prominent British historian, Alastair Lamb, and noted Kashmiri researchers, Abdul Majid Zargar and Basharat Hussain Qazilbash, deny the existence of such a document.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir strongly resisted India’s illegal occupation of their homeland and launched a movement to liberate it from the Indian yoke. Their resilience forced India to seek the help of the world community to get rid of the tough situation. It approached the UN Security Council on 01 January 1948 and the World Body in its successive resolutions nullified the Indian invasion and called for holding of an impartial plebiscite under its supervision to allow the Kashmiri people decide their fate by themselves. Unfortunately, these UN resolutions and the pledges made by Indian leaders remain unfulfilled even after the passage of several decades.

Factors behind solidarity
Firstly, it is a moral obligation of every country to help the Kashmiris who are facing the worst kind of oppression under Indian rule. Secondly, the people of Pakistan have many legitimate and genuine reasons to express solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren as they are tied in strong bonds of religion, geography, culture, aspirations and economy. The Pakistanis and Kashmiris consider the Kashmir dispute as an unfinished agenda of the partition and the liberation struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as an inseparable part of Pakistan Movement. It was the ideological commonality that prompted the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference to pass a resolution in its meeting in Srinagar on 19 July 1947 whereby it was declared that Jammu and Kashmir should become a part of Pakistan. The number of Kashmiris who migrated to Pakistan from IIOJK since 1947 due to Indian brutalities is in hundreds of thousands that shows emotional connection of Kashmiri people with Pakistan. The attachment of the Kashmiris is manifest from the fact that the Valley of Kashmir has been, from time to time, reverberating with the slogans of “Long Live Pakistan” and “We Want Pakistan”. They hoist Pakistani flags on the national days of the country while they observe such days of India as black days.

Pakistan’s support to Kashmir cause
The Pakistani leadership has always represented the Kashmiris’ aspirations. The father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had termed Kashmir as the jugular vein of Pakistan. Prime Minister, Imran Khan, in his virtual address to the UN General Assembly in September 2020 drew world’s attention to the worsening humanitarian crisis in IIOJK after Modi government’s 05 August 2019 illegal move. The Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has repeatedly expressed Pak Army’s support to the Kashmir cause. He has declared that Pakistan is ready to fight till last bullet and last soldier for Kashmir. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry is consistently updating the world leaders on the Indian brutalities in IIOJK. The Pakistan Parliament has passed several resolutions since 05 August 2019, expressing solidarity with the oppressed people of IIOJK and condemning India’s illegal actions in the territory.

Mass uprisings in IIOJK
The people of IIOJK intensified their freedom struggle in 1989 and came to the streets to secure their right to self-determination. The Indian rulers responded with the brute military might but could not subdue the brave Kashmiris. They added a new dimension to their freedom movement while hitting the streets in thousands during mass uprisings in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016. However, Indian forces’ personnel continued using brute force against the peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds of them. Now, the Indian brutalities in IIOJK have increased manifold since 05 August 2019 and Indian troops have martyred 308 innocent Kashmiris till January 31, 2021 while thousands others including Hurriyat leaders and activists remain lodged in different jails. Since the mass uprising triggered by the extrajudicial killing of popular youth leader, Burhan Wani, on 08 July in 2016, besides killing over 1,330, the troops have caused injuries to more than 30,000 people by firing pellets, bullets and teargas shells on protesters.

During this period, more than 10,842 people suffered pellets injuries and over 140 of them lost eyesight in both the eyes and 210 in one eye while vision of over 2,500 victims was damaged partially. The troops have also martyred 95,741 innocent Kashmiris, including 7,163 in custody and molested 11,234 women since January 1989 till 31 January 2021.
[Compiled by Muhammad Raza Malik who is working as Senior Editor at Kashmir Media Service, Islamabad, and can be reached at [email protected]]