Kashmir in the perspective of international law | By Dr Muhammad Khan

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Kashmir in the perspective of international law

THE basic provision of the international law is that: “individuals should not be arbitrarily deprived of their lives and homicide should be deterred, prevented and punished.

” This life is further secured and protected by ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights-1948’.

Its article-1 emphasizes on ‘innate freedom and equality, whereas Article-2 puts a ban on discrimination.

Article-3 of this Declaration, however, very clearly states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

” Unfortunately, with all these safeguards and guarantees for the human beings, through various agreements, declarations and covenants, the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are being humiliated, discriminated, tortured and killed as if there is no law meant for their protection and safeguard.

Ever since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations Organization (UNO) has regulated and managed many regional and global conflicts.

During the Cold War, this international regulating body has been quite effective in ensuring global peace through forestalling many impending wars and conflicts.

Kashmir and Palestine are two such issues, where this global regulating body could do nothing in practical terms.

Indeed, among the contemporary global disputes, Kashmir is the longest unresolved dispute on the agenda of the United Nations.

India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January 1948. In response to complaints and counter complaints, the UN asked for the ceasefire and later it passed 23 resolutions, emphasizing for the solution of this dispute.

The basic criteria fixed by the UN for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute was the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir through a neutral mechanism of plebiscite under UN Administrator.

Unfortunately, despite accepting the UN resolutions and promises made by Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor General of India and the first Indian Prime Minister, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, India is constantly obstructing the conduct of plebiscite for the last over seven decades.

In the light of the UN resolutions, people of the State have been demanding their right of self-determination from the successive Indian governments.

Since 1990, India has unleashed a reign of terror on the unarmed innocent Kashmiri people. There have been massive human rights violations by Indian security forces in IIOJK.

In August 2019, India unilaterally and illegally annexed IIOJK into its Union as two Union Territories.

Through discriminatory laws like Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) Indian security forces have been constantly killing the Kashmiris with complete impunity.

Indeed, through these draconian laws, Indian security forces were given sweeping powers of arrest and detentions, even shoot to kill with virtual immunity.

As per Amnesty International, “The AFSPA violates India’s international legal obligations and several fundamental rights, including the right to life, the right to liberty and security and the right to remedy.

This law has alienated people and is an impediment to achieve peace and an obstacle to justice. ”

Today a common Kashmiri spends his life in a state of total fright and insecurity from the Indian security forces.

This fear is felt alike among the larger Kashmiri community as well as any single individual. The human security is the most significant aspect of international law and is an extension of the logic of social contract of liberal school of thought and specifically covers the security of individual and generally security of communities and societies.

The right to live is explicitly sanctioned in international law, to every individual, regardless of caste, creed, faith or geographic identity.

The provision of human rights and security are categorically stated both in international law and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

But the human security situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir is ironically an ignored issue by the international community.

The ICCPR clearly spells that: no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. There are constant incidents of killings, torture and rapes in IIOJK by Indian Army.

This all has been happening despite having a global prohibition on torture even during the times of national emergencies.

India is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)-1948. According to Article-5 of UDHR-1948, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

” The factual position, however, is that, torture, hostage-taking and rape has been a regular feature in IIOJK for over last three decades, after Kashmiris started mass struggle against Indian occupation of their state in 1990.

Ever since the partition of the subcontinent, through the repressive state-sponsored policies and various discriminatory laws, Kashmiri masses have been exploited to an extent that, they have become slaves in their own homeland.

Millions of them have taken refuge in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world in the past. The forced demographic changes being made after August 2019 is aimed to change the political and demographic landscape of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indeed, as per provisions of international conventions on human security and human rights, India is violating the international law and related covenants while being a signatory of all these pacts and treaties.

UNO and other international forums should pressurise India for adherence to the international law and related covenants and pacts.

As CBMs, India must repeal the discriminatory laws; restore the pre-August 5, 2019 status of IIOJK, stop making demographic changes and human rights violations in IIOJK.

These actions are mandatory to create a situation for the conduct of UN-sponsored plebiscite in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

 

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