ISLAMABAD - A book ‘The Paradise under Siege. A Tale of Unremitting Atrocities in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’ was formally launched on Tuesday.

The launching took place here at a webinar organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute entitled “A Year after Annexation: Challenges to Restoring Peace and Autonomy in Indian Occupied Kashmir.”

Speakers included Lt Gen (Retd) Naeeem Khalid Lodhi former Minister of Defence, Ms Mushaal Mullick, Kashmir rights activist and chairperson of Peace and Culture Organisation, and Jamal Aziz, Executive Director, Research Society of International Law.

Acting President and Director Research IPRI, Brig Raashid Wali Janjua welcomed the distinguished panellists and formally launched The Paradise under Siege.

A Tale of Unremitting Atrocities in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir from IPRI’s platform.

The book is a fact-based pictorial primer on Indian atrocities and repression in a paradise held under the worst siege witnessed by mankind.

He highlighted that the book powerfully captures the plight and anguish of Kashmiris suffering the full force of Indian fascism in flagrant disregard of human rights charter and norms of civilised conduct.

The stark images and poignant visages speak to the struggle for liberation. Loss of 0.5 million lives since 1947 is a testament to the angst meted out to the denizens of the Valley.

Brig. Janjua highlighted that annexation and illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019 has set in motion a chain of events that have exposed the evil face of Indian expansionism in the region.

“The wanton act of August 5 has not only united disparate political groups in the Valley, it has also ignited a fire of resistance that has found resonance in the international community. “Books like this are a humble effort to showcase the human tragedy that is unfolding in front of the international community. I am sure it will find wide readership for a worthy cause,” he hoped.

Discussing the topic ‘From Annexation to Demographic Change: India’s Evolving Strategic Imperatives in Kashmir’, Lt Gen (Retd) Naeeem Khalid Lodhi said that given India’s illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional presidential order that revoked Article 370 and its 35-A provision, effectively stripping Kashmir of its special autonomy status, Pakistan’s counter moves and pre-emptive actions need to cover all political, legal and military angles.

He stressed that peace never materializes unless the environment is conducive.

“Professional and efficient diplomatic corps is a vanguard in pursuing a country’s national interests and defending it against external onslaughts. But diplomacy alone can’t achieve results - political, economic, military and diplomatic actions must be well aligned and properly sequenced to achieve national goals,” he stressed. 

While lauding Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts, he opined that, “Pakistan has done well in the diplomatic field to internationalize the issue after a long time, with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the UN which set the ball rolling.” But, he cautioned that despite such efforts, Pakistan has not been able to create a political, strategic or economic clout in terms of regional or other blocks that put their weight behind our Kashmir stance today.

Pakistan should think of revoking the Simla Agreement as it has been torn to pieces by India and capitalize on the renewed Chinese interest in the issue to further internationalize it.  He also proposed a partial plebiscite under the UN auspices within the territories of GB and Azad Kashmir, with a resolve to completing and extending it later in IOJ&K, whenever feasible.

He also suggested a Government in Exile in some European or friendly country, comprising political heavyweights from Azad Kashmir, IOJ&K and Kashmiri diaspora. Speaking about ‘The State of Internal Resistance: Humanitarian and Security Challenges”, Mushaal Mullick lamented that a year after the 5 August 2019 unconstitutional change, Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir continues to be subjugated to grave escalation in humanitarian violence, with pro-independence protests squashed, Hurriyat leaders imprisoned and thousands of UN-reported atrocities against Kashmiri children and women.

She highlighted that Indian authorities have completely deprived Kashmiris of their basic rights, including religious rights. “An entire population, Kashmiri identity is being decimated and wiped out. About 5 lakh domiciles have been issued to Indians, and underground torture cells have been set up to crush the freedom struggle,” she informed.

On the issue of ‘Article 370 and 35-A: Options for Strengthening Pakistan’s Legal Case’, Jamal Aziz was of the view that while the political and diplomatic dimensions are routinely discussed, the Kashmir issue primarily remains one of legal significance.

From the application of numerous UN Security Council Resolutions to the Constitutional changes made by the Indian state on 5 August 2019, all entail legal consequences and unfulfilled international obligations.

Aziz highlighted that the State of India is an occupying power in Jammu & Kashmir and through its actions of 5 August 2019, has attempted to unlawfully annex this territory without any recourse to the will of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Under International Law, an occupation is a question of fact.

By attempting to alter Jammu & Kashmir’s demographics, India is also aiming to end, once and for all, any chance of a plebiscite in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions on the disputed territory. The unlawfulness of a referendum conducted following demographic changes is clear under International Law.

Aziz further informed that the communication lockdown, restrictions on movement and refusal to grant humanitarian access are in violation of IHL rules and human rights norms that India is obligated to uphold.

In the Question/Answer Session, the speakers agreed the Hindutva-inspired machination masqueraded as a move for integration is a dangerous ruse to tailor the demographics and fate of the Muslim majority territory fighting for their right of self-determination for over 70 years.  By doing so, India is in blatant violation of international law as well human rights and resolutions of the United Nations.