M. Zahid Rifat
KASHMIRIS in India-held Kashmir,in Pakistan and elsewhere around the world are observing October 27 as the black day as a continued protest against the occupation of Kashmir . India has forcibly taken over their homeland on this day way back in 1947.
Long unresolved Kashmir dispute remain a source of lingering conflict between India and Pakistan which had originated when the people of Jammu and Kashmir were denied their fundamental right of self-determination after the partition of the Indian sub-continent and emergence two separate independent states of Pakistan and India in August 1947.
At that time, it was presumed generally thar Kashmir, as a contiguous state with a predominantly Muslim population would accede to Pakistan. However, its ruler, the Hindu Maharaja, acceded to India through an improper and illegal Instrument of Accession on October 27, 1947 and the same day India had airlifted its forces in Srinagar and forcibly occupied the valley against the aspirations of the Kashmiris.
This in brief is the background as to why the Kashmiris and their supporting freedom loving people all over the world observe October 27 every year as the black day to mark the darkest day in their history.
They observe the black day to shake the world conscience which is somehow sleeping over the last seven decades. It is matter of bitter and regrettable fact that the long unresolved Kashmir issue a big challenge to the world at large in general and the United Nations in particular which has miserably failed till now to implement even its own resolutions asking India to grant the Kashmiris their right of determination to decide their future themselves. UN Security Council can meet in an emergency session to condemn 154 rape cases in Democratic Republic of Congo but the rape of more than ten thousand women and young girls by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir goes unnoticed. Is not it a black spot on the face of the world body which celebrated its founding day on October 24?
The Security Council resolutions provide for holding of a free, fair and impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir under the auspices of the United Nations to enable the Kashmiri people to exercise their right of self-determination and join either Pakistan or India. The UN had also deployed the UN Military Observer Group to monitor the ceasefire line between Azad Kashmir and Indian-held Kashmir better known as the Line of Control (LoC).
As the Indian occupation of its occupied Kashmir continues without UN Security Council resolution being implemented and the indigenous unarmed struggle for freedom by the Kashmiris also going on, the Indian occupying security forces are persisting with their massive use of brutal force, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children. So far more than 100,000 Kashmiri people have been killed in the continued reign of terror and repression unleashed by over 700,000 Indian troops. Large number of Kashmiri freedom fighters are languishing in the Indian jails for years together and being subjected to torture, violence and custodial killings though their exact number is not known though. Gang rapes of Kashmiri women by the occupying Indian security forces, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, arbitrary detentions for unspecified period and torture continue unabatedly on large scale.
These oppressive and suppressive acts of the occupying Indian security forces have bee documented not only by number of international human rights bodies but also by even Indian Human Rights Organizations. But these have been able to wake up the world conscience in general and the UN in particular.
The Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir particularly those living in Jammu region in 1947 had to pay a very heavy price for their aspirations to join Pakistan. Occupying Indian troops, the forces of Dogra Maharaja and Hindu extremists had massacred over 300,000 Kashmiri Muslims including women and children just within a period of two months . This bloodbath was aimed at to change the demographic composition of the territory to turn the Muslims majority into minority and ensure theresults will be in favour of India in case of any referendum is held in future. Many historians have described this massacre of the Kashmiri Muslims as the worst example of genocide in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has been extending full political, diplomatic and moral support all along to the Kashmiri people and will continue supporting indigenous legitimate Kashmiri struggle for securing their right of self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN resolutions.
A peaceful, negotiated settlement of the lingering Kashmir dispute n accordance with UN resolutions has been and remains on top of Pakistan’s foreign policy.Without resolving the Kashmir issue, the partition of Indian sub-continent remains unfinished as Kashmir is regarded as the lifeline of Pakistan.
It is internationally accepted and acknowledged fact that Kashmir entails global danger in itself of spiraling nuclear and missile proliferation in both India and Pakistan coupled with their respective domestic instabilities and historical animosities. Some Kashmiri leaders forewarn this and put forward their point of view that if the Kashmir conflict is to be resolved then All Parties Hurriyet Conference, which is the authentic representative body of the Kashmiris must be there at the negotiating table along with India and Pakistan.
It is also being said that if the world powers and the UN continue to remain unmoved by international law and moral justice to act, Kashmiris may be forced to organize their own referendum like it had happened in Catalonia, Spain, with the assistance and cooperation of eminent persons of international standing and NGOs to decide their future as last alternative.
Kashmiris as well as freedom loving people and human rights organizations on both sides of the LoC are observing October 27 this year also to reiterate their rejection of illegal Indian occupation of their motherland, to try to wake up the conscience of the international community and the UN drawing their attention towards Indian security forces continued atrocities, brutalities on unarmed Kashmiris and reiterating their decades old demand for securing their birth right of self-determination in accordance with the UN resolutions.
It is rather deplorable that neither the international community is unmoved by Indian security forces continued reign of terror in held Kashmir nor condemning India’s persistent gross violations of LoC killing innocent civilians including women and children almost every day (though they get befitting heavy response from Pakistan forces every time) and somehow world body and the big powers including world’s greatest human rights champion USA cannot force India to implement the UN Security Council resolutions and let the Kashmiris exercise their right of self-determination and decide their future. Are all the countries around the world are afraid of big country as India is ?
India can kill the Kashmiris but no their aspirations for freedom which they will never surrender,India should honour its promises of giving right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have already rendered endless sacrifices for freedom from Indian illegal occupation, international community must take concrete steps to end Indian occupation of the held Kashmir and must intervene to resolve lingering Kashmir dispute peacefully to ensure durable peace, prosperity and progress for the region. The writer is Lahore-based freelance journalist and columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News) Islamabad.