Ali Gilani: Struggle for self-determination continues
SELF-determination, despite its ambiguities, has blossomed into a pivotal element in international relations in recent times.
It has proven the key to resolving long festering disputes and unforgiving conflicts. Exemplary have been Namibia, East Timor, Southern Sudan etc.
In each case, self-determination was fueled by oppressive rule, whether foreign or otherwise.
They also derived strength from international law and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
Kashmir fits these precedents like a glove. The princely state attained independence on August 15, 1947, when British paramountcy lapsed.
When an indigenous insurgency threatened to topple the repressive rule of the Hindu Maharaja, the Indian army invaded Kashmir on October 26, 1947 in reliance on an Instrument of Accession to India that British scholar Alistair Lamb has proven as bogus as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
It was said by some that the NATO military intervention in Kosova to defend the human rights of Kosovar Albanians against Slobodan Milosevic marked a watershed in the protection of human rights.
No longer would the world tolerate a nation’s subjugation of its own people. But that sanguine observation, in my opinion, was vastly overstated.
I believe NATO intervention in Kosova would not have been forthcoming if the refugee problem had not spilled over into the countries of the European Union.
That conclusion is supported by the indifference shown by Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who made a clear distinction between Ukrainians and others.
He said on March 1, 2022, “These people (Ukrainians) are Europeans. ” “These people are intelligent; they are educated people….
This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear past, who could have been even terrorists …”
In sum, it seems to me that until there evolves a generally accepted moral duty among peoples and nations to assist all victims of widespread human rights violations by force or other stiff retaliation, human rights enforcement mechanisms will operate haphazardly and whimsically for reasons unrelated to the harm to the victims or the villainy of the perpetrators.
It is our job to jump-start that moral evolution Syed Ali Geelani, an iconic and the most recognizable leader was the symbol of defiance who stood firm for the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir.
He was not only an intellectual, and deep thinker but also a brilliant and an articulate scholar.
Above all, he was an institution by himself.We do remember what Gandhi said about Quaid-i-Azam: “Mr.Jinnah is incorruptible and brave.
I believe no power can buy him.” Same can be said about Geelani Sahib.Let me quote, Dr.Sameer Kaul, a well-known cardiologist and a Kashmiri Pandit, who said as reported by Rediff.
com on 11 October 2010, that Geelani Sahib has become incorruptible.80 percent Kashmiris respect Geelani Sahib simply because he is not corrupt.
Geelani Sahib is an honest and sincere to his people, Dr.Kaul added.New York-based Associated Press reported on 02 September 2021, “During Kashmir’s recent years of civilian protests, the slogan “Na Jhukne Wala Geelani!
Na Bikne Wala, Geelani!(Geelani, the one who doesn’t bow and can’t be bought!)” became almost a war cry on the streets.
” New York Times also quoted one of the most moving conversations between Geelani Sahib and Police officer.
“Open the door, I won’t fly away,” he tells the officers.“We want to perform a funeral for your democracy.
” Geelani Sahib never compromised on the principle of right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir.
That was echoed by New York Times also on September 2, 2021, that Syed Ali Geelani was an uncompromising leader of Kashmir.
When President Musharraf suggested to sideline the UN Security Council resolutions to find the out-of-box solution and proposed four-point formula, it was none other than Geelani Sahib who rejected the formula, simply because it was against the basic principle of the right to self-determination.
Geelani Sahib proved prophetic when he said at a press conference, on 26 October 2009, that 500,000 Biharis will be given Kashmiri citizenship.
Six to seven hundred thousand army will be given citizenship to change the demography of Kashmir.
Then, India will say OK, let us have a referendum now. That is exactly what is happening in Kashmir now.
The enactment of Domicile Law has pushed the nation of Kashmir to the brink of extinction. More than 4.1 million Domicile Certificates have been issued within the past two years just to change the demography of Jammu & Kashmir, and to change majority Muslim population into minority.
Hirdesh Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu & Kashmir said on 17 August 2022, “We are expecting an addition of (2 to 2.5 million) new voters in the final list,” including non-Kashmiris living in the region.
The above-mentioned facts make it clear that Kashmir’s suffering is a rebuke to the United Nations for its inaction.
The situation is a call on the conscience of the members of the Security Council, particularly to the United States.
Lastly, with the passing of Geelani Sahib, a leader par excellence, who was also a symbol of humanity and champion of human rights all over the world, be it Palestine, Myanmar, Chechnya, Kashmir or else, it is an end of an era.
—The writer is the Secretary General, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum.