Humanitarian dimension of Kashmir dispute
THE primary nature of Kashmir dispute is political, hence calls for a political solution based on the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
This is clearly mentioned in the two principal resolutions of UNCIP, passed unanimously by United Nations on August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949.
These resolutions have laid-down the basic criteria and modus operandi for the conduct of plebiscite in the State for the ultimate grant of right of self-determination to people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The right of self-determination has the key position in the UN Charter; indeed it paved the way for decolonization of Asian and African nations.
The essence of right of self-determination is that; every nation and a community has the right to freely decide its future as per the wishes of its masses without any discrimination, restriction and bondage.
If this right is applicable to entire international community, Kashmiris cannot and should not be made as an exception and subjugated through foreign occupation indefinitely.
India recognized and accepted the right of self-determination to Kashmiris as per abovementioned UNCIP resolutions yet denied its implementation for over seven decades.
The persistent denial of political solution of Kashmir dispute created frustration and unrest among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The frustration of Kashmiris was result of years of Indian occupation, discrimination of Kashmiris in their own state, maltreatment of Kashmiris masses and denial of internal autonomy to State, agreed through Article 370 and 35A of Indian Constitution.
Resultantly the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) revolted against the unlawful Indian rule and its unremitting exploitative policies in 1990.
Through popular slogan of ‘Azadi’ right of self-determination was the only demand of Kashmiri masses of IIOJK right from the beginning of this indigenous Kashmiri movement.
Through a brutal response to this UN mandated legal demand of Kashmiris of IIOJK, India made massive deployment of Army and paramilitary forces in entire IIOJK and started persecution of Kashmiris through various inhuman strategies.
Mass arrests, torture in detention centres, custodial killings and indiscriminate firings over the peaceful Kashmiri demonstrations became the order of the day in IIOJK right from the start of 1990.
As per estimates collected through various neutral sources, Indian brutal security forces have killed over 100,000 Kashmiris in IIOJK from 1990 to 2021.
Kashmiri leadership of APHC in IIOJK is frequently being targeted and killed either through direct attack or else while being in custody and house arrest under Indian security forces.
Syed Ali Shah Gillani, the founding father of Kashmiris resistant movement died a few days ago while being under house arrest for over five years. His body was forcefully taken away by Indian Army for burial against the wishes of his family.
Earlier another senior Kashmiri leader Mr Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who dared to challenge Indian rule in IIOJK was killed by Indian security forces while being in their custody; a custodial killing.
Besides, there have been frequent incidents of rapes, molestation and humiliation including killings of Kashmiri women in IIOJK.
As per records maintained by names, dates and places of occurrences, over 12000 Kashmiri women have been subjected to rapes and molestation which also include gang-rapes and killings of women after rapes.
Indian State provided a blanket coverage to all these inhuman Indian acts through various inhuman laws like; Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), Public Safety Act (PSA), Geospatial Information Regulation Act and National Investigation Agency (NIA).
These discriminatory laws provided Indian Army and its paramilitary special provisions for arrest, illegal detention, torture and killings of Kashmiris with impunity.
Such laws and maltreatment of Kashmiris through use of brutal force are internationally challengeable violations of international law, humanitarian declarations, covenants and dozens of international pacts.
While India continued massive human rights violations in IIOJK through the deployment of its over 900,000 security forces, it ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir State illegally and unilaterally on August 5, 2019 by abrogating Article 370 and 35A of its constitution.
Besides, it also ended the statehood of the state by creating two union territories (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) under Indian Union.
In order to further its agenda of consolidation of its hold over the state, New Delhi introduced new Domicile Laws for Jammu and Kashmir in April 2020 (adaptation of Statelaws order-2020).
Under these laws, India has issued millions of domicile certificates to non-Kashmiri Hindus from various parts of India which is a grave violation of Fourth Geneva Convention.
Article 49(6) of Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying power(s) to transfer its own population into the occupied territory. Indeed, this is yet another aspect, covered under the blatant human rights violation.
The unremitting account of massive human rights violations of Indian security forces in IIOJK over the last three decades has added humanitarian dimension to the prevailing political nature of Kashmir dispute.
The humanitarian dimension of the dispute needs immediate attention of international community and main organs of United Nations Organization.
As a way forward to address the humanitarian dimension of Kashmir United Nations, major powers and international community must constrain India to end its massive human rights violation in IIOJK forthwith which should also include stoppage of the demographic changes.
Corollary to this, India must restore the statehood and special status of IIOJK as it was prior to August 5, 2019.In third phase, India should demilitarise from the population centres of IIOJK, leaving its military only along the ceasefire.
Addressing the humanitarian dimension of Kashmir dispute will be a major break-through and great confidence building measure for the subsequent political resolution of the dispute.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.