PERHAPS Kashmir issue is not able to attract the attention of globalists as this unfinished agenda lies at the UN table for the past 70 years. Much has been done in the past for this undeniable struggle for freedom. Unfortunately when any political or freedom struggle faces bloodshed or violence, history shows either those movements result in genocide or die down their own death with passage of time. But Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom and self-determination is gaining zest with every passing day. A new wave of ferocity by Indian army was staged again in Kashmir when 22-year-old commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was killed in July 2016, during a gun battle with Indian forces. A new Intifada in Kashmir began after death of Wani. Now Kashmiris look more resilient and Kashmiri youth particularly seem more active and passionate in achieving freedom from Indian forces.
The spirit of Kashmiri youth by wrapping up the bodies of their martyrs in Pakistani flag shows how obsessed they are to become integral part of Pakistan. History shows that how fearful this passionate Kashmiri youth made India scared of their zeal and passion for Pakistan. Finding no way out to suppress their voices for freedom, Indian army only uses violence and torture to keep them numb. Not only Kashmiri youth but innocent children, men, women and old aged people have suffered brutality through hands of Indian armed forces. Oppression and tyranny on Kashmiris include widespread killings, rapes, shot at sights, slaughtering and killing Kashmiri youth in detention centres while keeping them in custody and make them bear inhumane torture.
The bloody tragedy of poor Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their legitimate and UN approved right of self-determination. As a natural outcome of Indian injustice, people of IoK organized themselves and launched a war of liberation which India tried to crush through coercion and brutality. Later in 1988, India positioned a very large number of armed forces to suppress Kashmir struggle on gun point. Since then, Indian-occupied Kashmir has become a region where violence and violation of human rights is at peak. With advent of Indian occupational forces the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kashmiri people has intensified manifolds. The phenomenon of religious persecution against the Muslims of IoK is also not new like rest of India. The huge Indian occupational forces under the cover of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and other black laws frequently engage in religious cleansing of Muslims. Under the Jammu and the Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have the powers to shoot suspected persons. Many human rights organizations including Amnesty International in their reports have mentioned the sufferings of Kashmiris from the hands of Indian forces.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been granted the right of self-determination under the UN Charter, and under several UN Security Council resolutions, more specifically under UN (UNCIP) resolution of August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949. These and subsequent UN resolutions have affirmed that, the question of accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the political democratic method of free and impartial plebiscite. A peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions ranks top on Pakistan’s foreign policy agenda. In order to find an early and just solution to the decades old Kashmir dispute, Pakistan has always urged the international community to play an active role.
Pakistan has always raised voice against Indian forced occupation and brutality in Kashmir and it will continue extending full political, diplomatic and moral support to legitimate Kashmir struggle. Recently, Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative at the UN mentioned in her speech on Kashmir Solidarity Day that, “The Kashmir issue is alive at the UN and will remain alive until it is resolved”. She further said that the efforts of the Pakistan government and its Mission at UN, must be complemented by the community members in spreading the word about the grave situation in Kashmir where Indian occupation forces are attempting to suppress their popular uprising for freedom. Pakistan recently (February 06), again raised the Kashmir issue in the Security Council and urged the 15-member body to implement its resolutions non-selectively in order to establish its credibility.
Many steps have been taken by Pakistan often to keep the Kashmir issue alive at UN and wake up world conscience. Pakistan has always highlighted Kashmir issue at all forums of UN and the 193-member Assembly has also adopted a Pakistan-sponsored resolution on self-determination which had 70 co-sponsors. Pakistan had also written letters to the UN Secretary General protesting Indian ceasefire violations in Kashmir and the killing of innocent Kashmiris and calling for the appointment of a special envoy to facilitate a settlement of the Kashmir dispute. It is Pakistan’s just support to Kashmiris that on every forum it raises its voice against Indian atrocities in Kashmir and until Kashmir is liberated from Indian occupation, moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people will continue. However, there is need for effective lobbying also along with political or legal approaches towards Kashmir issue in order to give Kashmir cause a legitimate solution.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.