OCTOBER 24, 1947 was a historical day for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. On this day, Kashmiri masses formally established their self-rule on the areas, which they liberated from the Dogra Rulers. This day is celebrated as Independence Day in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This year (2018), the Government of AJK is celebrating this day in a gloomy environment, since there have been massive killing of youths in Kulgam area of IOK, just two days earlier. Besides, there have been massive human rights violations in IOK since last two years. Today, everyone in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan is gloomy over the sad incident of kulgam, where 13 Kashmiri youth were killed by brutal Indian Army through a direct fire and detonation of houses. The 71st Youm-i-Tases of Azad Kashmir should aims at; reminding the people of Azad Kashmir, especially the youth about the on-going struggle of Kashmir youth of IOK, who are laying their lives for freedom from Indian oppression. Besides, it reminds them about the sacrifices, their forefathers have given for liberating this piece of land from Dogra Rule and Indian Army, where they live with peace and freedom. Secondly, people and leadership of Kashmir should know that, this day would remind them that, this piece of land would now act as the base camp for the freedom of their brethren in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Leadership and People of Azad Kashmir need to show their brothers and sisters in IOK that, we have not forgotten your sacrifices and would do everything to get you free from the oppressive and repressive Indian occupation. For this purpose, the people and the Government of Pakistan should firmly stand behind the struggling people of IOK with political, moral and diplomatic support. The day should also send a clear message for the international community that, the Kashmir dispute is still unresolved and Kashmiri of IOK are under unlawful Indian occupation in violation of UN resolutions and international humanitarian laws, thus need their serious attention. Besides, this day “symbolizes hope, sacrifice” and consistent efforts for the attainment of right of self-determination of Kashmiris. The day also reminds the Kashmiris and Pakistanis their responsibilities for the political, moral and diplomatic support of the people of IOK without pause or any compulsion.
In the history of Jammu and Kashmir, there are seven memorable days. The dark day in the history, March 16, 1846, Kashmir Sale Deed, commonly known in as “Treaty of Amritsar” signed between Gulab Singh, the Dogra Maharaja and British East India Company. On this unfortunate day, the state along with its subjects was sold-out to Dogra Maharaja for just 75 lac (Nanak Shahi). Earlier, Sikhs, Mughals and Afghans annexed the state of Jammu and Kashmir for centuries. The second milestone date is July 13, 1931, known in the history as the “Kashmir Martyrs Day”. Apart from killing of 22 Kashmiri youth by Dogra Forces, outside Srinagar Central Jail, this was the first formal overt demonstration by the Kashmiri masses. The event was followed by establishment of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, the first political representations of Kashmiris for political struggle against the repressive Dogra Rule. The Third significant day was July 19, 1947. On July 19, 1947, the people of Jammu and Kashmir unanimously adopted a resolution, for the accession of state with Pakistan. Each year, the people of Jammu and Kashmir celebrate July 19th, as the day of “Kashmir Accession to Pakistan”. This relationship have rooted in the joint history of these two areas over the years and later turned into a relationship of interdependency. The Fourth historical day was 24 October 1947, once the people of Kashmir formally established their government with the name of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government. Significance of this historical day is given in above paragraphs.
The Fifth milestone in the history of Kashmir was the October 27, 1947, being celebrated as Dark Day by Kashmiris. On this day, Indian Army landed the Srinagar Airport, a day of a formal Indian occupation of Kashmir, Kashmiris still facing the consequences. The Instrument of Accession and other formalities thereafter are all fake, as proved by scholars, historians, UN resolutions and even commitments of former Indian rulers. The Sixth milestone in the modern history of Kashmir was the years 1990. A renewed Kashmiri’s struggle for their right of self-determination. As a result of that, India deployed over 700,000 security forces in various parts of IOK. As per estimates, over 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed, 11000 women folk were raped, besides tortures, unlawful arrests and detentions. In 2003, the people of IOK, gave up their armed struggle and started a peaceful political struggle. India however continued its brutalities and human rights violations in IOK. 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, indigenous Kashmiri uprisings met Indian repression again.
The 7th milestone day is the martyrdom of Young Kashmiri Freedom Fighter, Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. Since that day, the Kashmiri movement has been taken over by Kashmiri youth, who are adamant to get their freedom from India at all costs. Since that day, over 2000 Kashmiris have been killed; thousands have been injured, paralysed and blinded through the use of pellet guns by Indian Army. 71st Youm-i-Tasees should be celebrated with a firm determination by Kashmiris and Pakistanis as they are unanimous to highlight the Kashmiri struggle and massive human rights violations in IOK at global level. There is a need that, Indian strategies of doing away with the Kashmiri identity, making demographic changes and massive human rights violation like Kulgam killings must be contested at all level; the UNO, EU and OIC.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.