M Mahmood Khan
ONE of the parts of our body has been bleeding since the last seventy-four years and that is Kashmir, for Pakistan. With this relevance, “Kashmir Solidarity Day” has-been observed throughout Pakistan on 5 February every year since 1990. The aim of celebrating this day is to express solidarity with people of Kashmir residing in the Indian Illegal Occupied Jammu& Kashmir (IIO J&K), with the renewed pledge of continued moral support and to induce the attention of the global community towards Indian security forces repressive brutalities and atrocities on Kashmiri men, women and children who are demanding freedom from their unjustified oppression since long.
This day is observed every year as an obligation because Pakistan and Kashmir have eternal bonds of geography, culture and religion. Similarly this year, the day will be observed with traditional fervour to highlight that Indian security forces have intensified their operations, are using coercive tactics and constantly ‘modifying’ their tools to suppress hapless Kashmiris in the disputed territory for which, approximately one million Indian troops are deployed in IIOJ&K which is world’s largest deployment against civil population (almost 10 soldiers per sqkm and an armed person to 14 civilians).
The situation has aggravated after the abrogation of Article-370 of the Indian Constitution on 5 August 2019 wherein the special status/constitutional autonomy of Kashmir has ceased to exist. In fact, Premier Narendra Modi and the BJP in connivance with the RSS and other similar outfits have intensified anti-Kashmir moves, implementing the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu Nationalism), various other measures such as continued lockdown in IIOJ&K, issuance of domicile certificate to millions of non-Kashmiris Hindus for changing the demographic character of the State. In the garb of continuous siege and curfew in the IIOJ&K, Indian authorities have started diluting Kashmir culture and civilization through various means.
Kashmiris had decided their future to be the part of Pakistan on 19 July 1947, even before the birth of Pakistan. The General Council of All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference (majority party in the State) had passed the historic Resolution to accede to Pakistan in true spirit of 3rd June Partition Plan of the sub-continent but the resolution could not materialize so far in its totality as dominant part of the State is still under Indian subjugation. The issue of Jammu & Kashmiris is probably the unique case on the agenda of the UN which has remained unresolved since January 1948. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had passed over two dozen resolutions with the verdict to hold a plebiscite to decide the future status of Jammu and Kashmir as per the wishes of the people but India failed in compliance, on false pretexts .
The critics may come out with reservations that Pakistani Governments are only left to observe Kashmir Day every year on 5 February or forming a Parliamentary Kashmir Committee which has been unable to put any meaningful effort in Kashmir cause. The reservations are genuine to some extent but we have to equate them with ground realities and historical perspectives. On the issue of Kashmir, Pakistan had fought four wars with India, resulting into heavy loss of lives and almost all the wars had Kashmir relevance, therefore, it is right to say that Pakistani nation has supported Kashmiris by shedding their blood and same is seen being reciprocated by Kashmiris; embracing martyrdom in IIOJ&K and are buried/wrapped in the flag of Pakistan. On the diplomatic front , Pakistan has always been supporting Kashmiris on all the relevant forums, the last speech of PM Pakistan. Imran Khan, is a case in point in which he very firmly and logically presented the Kashmir case at the UN Forum.
On this day, making symbolic human chains and seminars are part of routine to show solidarity with Kashmiri brothers and sisters but this time, PM Pakistan is likely to visit Azad Kashmir at the nearby major towns of LoC to extend solidarity with Kashmiris which will have far-reaching impact at national and international levels. Besides colourful celebrations, there is a need to call upon the international community that mere condolence or issuance of condemnatory statements over the perennial woes of Kashmiris are not enough as the situation in the occupied Kashmir has gone to an alarming extent and warrants world’s intervention to stop this genocide. We must persuade the world’s important capitals to use their influence on New Delhi and compel her to engage with Pakistan in a meaningful dialogue for resolution of the core issue of Kashmir so as to bring lasting peace in the volatile region.
—The AJK-based (Ghaziabad) writer is a retired Army officer and occasionally contributes to the national press.