India stokes fire

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INDIA has once again chosen the territory over the people.
Against the whims of entire Kashmiri population including
those who earlier used to support India, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order on Monday, in sheer violation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and international laws. Really deplorable is the act. In fact no word will do the justice to denounce the acts being perpetrated by India to illegally occupy the land of Kashmir. But given the firm resolve and determination of valiant and fearless Kashmiri people, India surely is bound to fail in all its sordid designs as it experienced in the past.
Nevertheless, it is yet to be seen as to how the world community reacts to the revocation of the special status of occupied Kashmir by India. The million dollar question is whether it will still resort to complete silence out of political and economic expediency? The very dictatorial decree has not come much as a surprise as over the last few days, the situation was very tense in occupied Kashmir. Apart from the troop build- up in the valley, the Indian government had also put pro-India Kashmiri leaders under house arrest and imposed all sorts of restrictions on movement of people. Everybody was anticipating that New Delhi has some big nefarious plans regarding repealing Article 370 and Article 35 of the constitution in order to dilute the demographics of Muslim majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers. But those celebrating the move should not remain in any false illusion as this unilateral step by BJP, which is also being strongly criticized by the Indian opposition parties as in contravention to the country’s own constitution, will have catastrophic consequences. With this, the disputed nature of the valley does not change at all and it remains on the unfinished agenda of the UN Security Council but its implications definitely will be worst as the local Kashmiri people who have never accepted Indian subjugation will never allow the people from other Indian states to illegally settle in their territory. We say so given the valiant struggle waged by Kashmiri people over the last many decades against all odds and tyranny of the occupying forces. Forced construction of any settlements by the Indian government will amount to adding fire to the fuel which could also engulf India itself. The fact of matter is that India has totally lost Kashmir as a small group of Kashmiris who were earlier supporting India have also withdrawn their support and strongly condemning the Indian government for this uncalled for step. Former Chief Ministers of IOK Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who are under house arrest said scrapping article 370 makes India an occupation force in Kashmir. They regretted that India want the territory by terrorizing the people. It will not be wrong to say that India stands isolated in Kashmir and it is now totally at the mercy of its troops to control the situation. Freedom struggle will further ignite and gain further momentum in the occupied valley- something which New Delhi will not be able to control despite heavy deployment of troops and security lockdown. Amnesty international also voiced its concerns over the revocation of Kashmir’s special status saying this could lead to increased tension in the region and insisted that the situation could not be controlled until the residents are allowed to have a say in the matter.
Being party to the dispute, Pakistan reaction to the Indian move, was quick and according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Political parties and the people once again proved on Monday that they are united on Kashmir dispute and firmly stand by their Kashmiri brethren in every difficult hour. Leaders of all political parties strongly condemned the Indian move whilst people took out rallies to express their solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren. Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammad briefing them about the recent developments in occupied Kashmir. Indeed this outreach was very timely and important as Pakistan needs to effectively present its viewpoint and stance at the world level at this critical juncture and for this we expect that the prime minister also contacts other friendly countries and important capitals who have an important role to play to avoid the situation spinning out of control and they need to come forward for resolution of the lingering Kashmir dispute. We fear that tension between Pakistan and India could rise in the coming days after New Delhi fails to check the situation in occupied Kashmir as a result of this controversial step. Addressing a news conference, Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farood Haider very rightly cautioned that the revoking of IoK’s special status will not only affect the held territory but also spill over into Azad Kashmir, and that can create a situation between Pakistan and India. The situation is really turning alarming and hence mediation should come sooner rather than later as any conflict will have disastrous consequences for the whole region and undermine ongoing efforts for peace in Afghanistan as well.
Time has come that Pakistan pleads Kashmir dispute more forcefully at the world level and the opportunity to this effect has been provided by India itself. Firstly in our view, after reviewing all the legalities, Pakistan should file a petition at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Indian dictatorial decree as it has committed a clear violation of the international laws. If the ICJ can provide consular access to a person like Kulbushan Yadav who was involved in sabotage activities in Pakistan, then it indeed also cannot overlook the rights of millions of innocent Kashmiri people and the breach of international laws committed by India. We understand that Pakistan has a strong case and it should go ahead with it with the best legal team- the services of which were also available to it during Kulbushan Yadav case. Secondly, we should also raise the matter at the UN Security Council. Whether Pakistan gets the required support in the UNSC is another question, but being a party to the dispute, it is our moral and diplomatic responsibility to vigorously raise voice against the infringement of the UNSC resolutions. The question is also whether the UNSC still stay silent on the breach of its own resolutions? Pakistani and Kashmiri Diaspora should be activated at this moment and they should play their part in highlighting the actual situation of Kashmir in their host countries. It is also time for Muslim Ummah to stand with the oppressed Kashmiri people for their birthright. Kashmir dispute has reached the defining moment and the day is not far when the Kashmiri people will see the dawn of independence.

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