Sultan M Hali
FOLLOWING the partition of India, the Kashmiris of India-Occupied Kashmir (IoK) who were denied freedom and have been oppressed for the past seventy-two years, have now entered a new phase of slavery. Since the illegal occupation of Kashmir by Indian forces on 27 October 1947, a Movement for their liberation was launched by Pakistan. While only one third of the territory was liberated, India approached the UN Security Council for a ceasefire, which came into effect following UNSC Resolutions mandating a UN sponsored plebiscite for the Kashmiris to decide their accession to India or Pakistan. India initially agreed to abide by the UN Resolutions but later reneged since it knew very well that the majority population of IOK will vote in favour of Pakistan.
After having suffered the vicissitudes of Indian oppression for 42 years and seeing no end to their bondage, the Kashmiris picked up the gauntlet to fight for their just rights. India retaliated by deploying over 700,000 troops that wreaked havoc on the Kashmiris to suppress their struggle. Seventy thousand Kashmiris were martyred while thousands of women were raped, and an equal number remain incarcerated. Despite the oppression and tyranny, a semblance of autonomy was provided by Indian Constitution’s Articles 370 and 35-A. Narendra Modi took oath of office as Prime Minister in 2014 with an electoral promise of settling the Kashmir question once and for all. The just struggle of the Kashmiris is recognized as such by UN General Assembly Resolution 2649 (1970 which affirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination, “recognized as being entitled to the right of self-determination”, to “restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal, including armed struggle”.
Narendra Modi staged numerous false flag operations in the IoK, blaming Pakistan for the attacks and worse still, deemed the Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists. Modi’s next attempt was to win 44+ seats in the IOK Legislative Assembly so that his political party the BJP could vote for rescinding Articles 370 and 35A. The people of Kashmir ensured that the BJP does not win a majority by turning up in great numbers on polling day. When this machination failed, Modi had popular youth Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani mercilessly killed on 8 July 2016. He had calculated that the Kashmiris would be subdued but the massive protest rallies brought about a severe retaliation from Modi’s goons. The unarmed protesters were showered with pellets from pellet guns, which have martyred over 600 Kashmiri youth but worse still, more than 3,600 have been permanently blinded. The bloodbath continued till election 2019. Meanwhile Modi launched numerous false flag operations. In retaliation to the 18 September 2016 self-inflicted assault at Uri, Indian forces launched a fake surgical strike on alleged terror training camps in Azad Jammu Kashmir. Even Indian media poked holes in the false claims. On the eve of the elections, on 16 February 2019, Indian Forces conducted another false flag operation at Pulwama and using it as a ploy, Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter aircraft launched a surgical strike at an [alleged] terrorist training camp at Balakot, which was a failure but the very next day, in a retaliatory strike Pakistan Air Force fighters shot down two IAF aircraft and captured one pilot alive. Despite the tactical setbacks, Modi feigned victory and won the elections.
The first step taken after taking oath was to unilaterally repeal portions of Article 370, scrubbing 35-A and annexing IoK and Ladakh into Indian Union territory. Prior to taking this heinous step, India clamped down a curfew, arrested all Kashmiri political leaders and shut down communications in the territory. Even Indian opposition political leaders have not been permitted to enter Srinagar. Pakistan has tried to raise alarm at all levels, approaching the UNSC, UNGA, all major powers but apart from China, Pakistan’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears. President Donald Trump, who had initially offered to mediate in the Kashmir dispute, has ben duped by Modi, who claims that he has the matter under control and will resolve it bilaterally with Pakistan. The bloodbath in the IoK meanwhile continues. To make matters worse, as part of a nefarious campaign, Al-Qaeda chief Al-Zawahiri and new head of Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind in the IoK, Lelhari are provoking the sentiments of Kashmiris against Pakistan. In the same context, the propaganda of Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) is based on exploitation of grievances of Kashmiris and it wants to use Kashmiri freedom fighters for destabilizing Pakistan.
In 2016, amid the ongoing public uprising in the IoK, resulting from the atrocities of Indian forces, AQIS released a venomous statement accusing the Pakistani Government, army and Intelligence agencies of being “traitors”, that betrayed Kashmiris for their own vested interests. The message titled ‘Jihad of Kashmir: A call to Reflection & Action’ was a pack of lies, prepared and released by AQIS on the behest of Indian agencies. India and Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Ansar Ghuzwat-UL-Hind and other terrorist groups are enemies of people of Pakistan and Kashmir therefore, we must reject their deceptive propaganda in the name of Kashmir’s freedom struggle, and we should make efforts to foil their designs to link it with terrorism. Indian media, on the other hand, is busy projecting alleged atrocities by Pakistan against the residents of Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir, to hide Indian reign of terror in the IoK. Pakistan is running from pillar to post to unmask Indian duplicity and human rights atrocities but at the moment Indian narrative is being accepted by world leaders.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.