The heaven-on-earth Kashmir valley has been offering hell-like scenes, for the last more than seven decades, because of gross violations of fundamental human rights and utter disregard for international law by Government of India and its armed forces.  Kashmir has been denied its UN-recognized right to self-determination through a free and fair plebiscite since January 1949.   India has been employing with impunity all possible illegal rather inhumane and barbaric tactics to strangulate Kashmiris’ voice for Independence.

Seeds of Kashmir humanitarian crisis in the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJ&k) were sown by Sir Cyril Radcliffe at the time of partition of Indian Subcontinent in 1947.  Radcliffe was responsible for demarcating border line between India and Pakistan in Punjab and Bengal provinces of British India as the chairman of boundary commission.  Ostensibly in a fishy move, Radcliffe offered India physical entry point to Muslim-majority state of Kashmir when he awarded crucial areas of Gurdaspur and Pathan Kot in Punjab to India, despite their overwhelming Muslim population.  India fully exploited this concession in October 1947 when it annexed Kashmir as a result of an armed aggression.

Kashmiris fought back and snatched almost 30% of their usurped motherland. Sensing their defeat in the armed conflict with Kashmiri freedom fighters, crooked Indian leadership of the time took the case to United Nations for arbitration. UN-backed cease fire entered into force in January 1949 with a promise to let Kashmiri people exercise their right to self-determination, whether they want to join India or Pakistan, through an UN-sponsored free and fair plebiscite.  However, even after the lapse of 72 years, India is not only defying its commitment to conduct a plebiscite, but is also taking all inhumane and unlawful measures to change legal and demographic status of the Kashmir region, which has been a Muslim-majority area for ages before the eventful partition of Indian Subcontinent.

Later on, this controversial status of Kashmir was accepted by both India and Pakistan in Tashkent Declaration (1966) and Simla Agreement (1972). India even declared Kashmir a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan when it declined many UN and US offers to meditate between the two countries for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue.   India had, therefore, granted a special disputed area status to Kashmir in its Constitution under Article 370. But a year ago on 05 August 2019 India, out of sheer disregard for International law, flouted its international commitments on Kashmir by unilaterally subverting Article 370 of its Constitution to revoke Kashmir’s special status of a disputed area between India and Pakistan,  India annexed Kashmir as one of its Union Territories besides Laddakh. Moreover under Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, there had been a legal bar on Indians living outside Kashmir to purchase real estate properties in the valley.  But India also revoked this Article 35-A of its Constitution to let outsiders acquire land in Kashmir.  This constitutional subversion paved way for Indian government’s attempts to alter demographic composition of Kashmir by converting it into Hindu majority region.

To stem the conceivable outburst of Kashmiri people against this Indian state aggression and high-handedness, India imposed strict lock down in the valley, literally besieging the entire area.  Kashmiris have been stripped of their fundamental human rights and basic civic liberties. What to talk of religious freedom, their educational facilities are closed, employment opportunities are deplete, and entrepreneurship activities are strangled.  State terrorism, murder, torture, harassment, and sexual abuses are rampant.  India has deployed 9 Lacs of its armed forces to perpetrate all possible crimes against humanity to subdues innocent and peaceful Kashmiris who are vying for international community’s intervention to get materialized their world-acclaimed right of self-determination.  All these Indian acts of aggression has converted the besieged Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJ&K) into an open jail of more than 8 Million Kashmiris. 

A year-long siege of innocent Kashmiris was further exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.  In a callous move to further crack down on already confined-to-homes Muslims of the valley, Government of India put them under double lock down by accusing them of spreading the disease. This prejudiced and racist attitude of Indian Government has earned her criticism from international community and human rights bodies across the Globe.  They are also critical of India’s brazen disregard for international law in denying access to human rights observer groups of United Nations, US Congress, Human Rights Watch and representatives of international media outlets. 

India has been doing all this with a strong sense of complacency because of its status of a big market for the major world economies by dint of its 1.3 billion population. It also boats of its strategic partnership with the Western block led by United States. India has not only aligned itself with the West but is being tipped as playing a lead role in safeguarding its interests in the Asia Pacific region, including South Asia, Indian Ocean and Far East Asia. This makes West, the so-called champion of human rights, turn a blind eye to gross human rights violations by Indian armed forces in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJ&K)   Mindful of its strategic importance for the West, it is so brazen in its such unilateral and aggressive acts against peaceful Kashmiris, who are just demanding their rights in the light of UN-adopted resolutions.

Pakistan has confined its unflinching diplomatic support in highlighting the just cause of Kashmiri people at all international forums. Prime Minister, Imran Khan, while addressing the UN General Assembly in September last year, unequivocally told the world community that Pakistan would go to any extent in getting Kashmiris their due right in the light of UN resolutions. He sensitized the international community of exercising their authority in convincing India to implement UN resolutions on Kashmir, in order to avert any armed confrontation between the two nuclear armed neighbours of the South Asia. Unfortunately, if such a confrontation happens, it would have serious ramifications for the entire world. 

The current border tension and armed engagement between India and China in the Ladakh region has also its roots in this very 05 August 2019 unilateral act of Indian constitutional subversion when she also changed special status of Ladakh as a disputed region between India and China, and annexed it as one of its Union Territories besides Kashmir. China, infuriated at this brazen act of aggression against its territorial claims, acted militarily in May-June this year to gain control of all its claimed areas in the region, which had been disputed between the two countries since after their 1962 war in the region.  If world community does not act decisively to get UN resolutions on Kashmir implemented, similar armed confrontation might ensure between India and Pakistan. However, if it happens, the situation might be very dangerous in this case because Pakistan, being a far smaller country than India, has no competitive edge over it in conventional warfare. So, it may burn its boats and resort to the use of its nuclear weapons in a last ditch effort to turn the tables on India. Therefore, the international community must act seriously in resolving this burning issue that has plagued the peace and stability of this region for decades. 

The Government of Pakistan has convincingly highlighted the just cause of Kashmir on 05 August by organizing various activities like awareness walks, seminars and presentation of Memo to UN Representative in Pakistan.  Release of Pakistan‘a official political map on the eve of 05 August is another major step by Pakistan to condemn illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir valley.

– The writer can be reached at 

arshakir.pmo@gmail.com