Researcher with MPhil in International Relations from Quaid i Azam University Islamabad with having an interest in Politics, Bilateralism and Strategic Studies.
5th February, Kashmir Solidarity Day, is essential to Pakistan. It has always been important for more than seventy years now. Pakistanis belonging to any of the regions in the world, their heart goes out to the people of Kashmir. After the abrogation of article 370 in 2019, it was the third time that Pakistan celebrated Solidarity Day when a massive siege and a lock-down going in the Indian-Occupied-Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).
When, in 1949, India went to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Security Council assured that the future of IOJK would be decided by the people of Kashmir equally satisfied with it. After that, in the 1950s, Nehru deviated from his promise to Kashmir and the international community. Over seven decades have passed, and still, Kashmir longs for self-determination. Out of fifteen clauses of this resolution, nine are about holding a plebiscite.
Occupied Kashmir is one of the world’s most militarised zones, deploying around one million Indian forces. That means for every family, there is a soldier. It is like one of the worst open jails in the world where there is no right to the people, especially to the Muslims. The Modi government has made demographic changes in IOJK in a cruel way. Around 45 lac domiciles have been distributed so that demography could be changed, and if, at some stage, there were a plebiscite, the result would go in Indian favour. Extrajudicial killings and kidnappings are going on regularly. In the last week, 15 Kashmiris have been martyred by Indian forces over fake charges Kashmir issue has been sufficiently highlighted in international media and significant international countries since Modi abrogated article 370. At the same time, the extremist Modi government pursued the policy of hatred in portraying Kashmiri leadership as terrorists. Indian governments are aligning the freedom movement with terrorism.
One can say that the US has spent trillions of dollars in their war in Afghanistan, but it failed in the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Similarly, since 1947 India has spent close to a trillion dollars and was unable to win the hearts of Kashmiris. In fact, after the Indian act of 5th August 2019, all Kashmiris across the political divides are alleviated from India. Pakistan has highlighted the Kashmir issue in every forum, including OIC, UN and other international media. The Permanent Five (P5) countries need to be revisited as far as this implementation of the right to self-determination is concerned. These countries also understand the plight of the people, but certain hindrances do not allow them to implement these resolutions in letter and spirit.
Since the 1980s Kashmir scenario has changed as we are witnessing a genocide, and international community caution has gone missing over this issue. All were hoping to revive values after Biden came into power, but nothing happened. In the context of international movements, justice was delivered to East Timor, South Sudan and Kosovo, this all happened in the last decade, but only Kashmiris were deprived of justice. The situation will worsen if the international community does not respond and if selective morality is applied to the region because the Kashmiris happen to be Muslims.
Kashmiri people have been a victim of geography and a victim of clashing the great power interest in this region. India has benefited from the engagement of international players in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the international community looked the other way because of their claims in India against rising China and looking into rising Russia in the region. This scenario resulted in the Kashmiri people’s continuing suffering. It is why the people of Kashmir have picked up arms, and they will continue this armed struggle.
Pakistan needs to continue informing all permanent five members of the UN Security Council of their obligation to honour the UN’s charter. UN has passed different resolutions over the years on IOJK. Then there is a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which is also not being implemented in IOJK.
Although more is to be done, we can conclude with positive developments in Kashmir. Recently Kashmir issue was highlighted in the UN and other forums. Russell Tribunal on Kashmir took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia, to shed light on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by India in Kashmir. The Kashmir issue was also highlighted in the European countries with an influential role of the Kashmiri diaspora in exposing India globally.
It is proof that freedom movements always succeed when they have indigenous support. Continuation of the freedom struggle in IOJK will not bring peace in India and peace between India and Pakistan. If global powers do not refrain from India or compel India to change its policies, then the region is rightly termed a nuclear flash-point over this chronic issue. Pakistan needs to be diplomatically, politically and morally proactive by taking India to the international community over its unjustified actions in IOJK.
There seems to be a concerted effort to break the will of the Kashmiris, who have continued to face the tragedies of occupation for over 70 years. In these times, India has suffocated the living of Kashmiris. The time has come when international communities should play their role and scrutinize India to respect the fundamental human rights of Kashmiris and arrange the implementation of UN resolutions so that the Kashmir dispute could be settled in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.