The recent gigantic protests against Indian aggression in occupied Kashmir have obligated the Indian establishment to impose an indefinite curfew in most parts of occupied Kashmir. It all started a day after Indian forces killed (martyred) well-known young freedom fighter Burhan Wani (allegedly killed in a gunfight), who had become an icon of freedom movement against Indian oppression. In occupied Kashmir, freedom supporters responded by taking to the streets, painting slogans on shuttered shop fronts, praising Burhan Wani and demanding Indian forces to leave Kashmir (slogans such as “Go India! Go back via peaceful Kashmiris” and “We want freedom”). According to media reports, mosques across the occupied valley also disseminated “Pro-Pakistan slogans” and urged local youth to join struggle against Indian occupation.

The Indian occupant forces have unleashed a wave of state-sponsored terrorism against the peaceful protesters (death toll raises to 40, as protesters defy the curfew and almost 500 people are injured); consequently, the protesters became violent. The imposition of a curfew and the deactivating of internet and mobile phone networks have not been sufficient to stop the ongoing protests. Therefore, rail services, workplaces, school examinations and a large Hindu pilgrimage to Amarnath temple have been suspended because of the current situation.

Burhan Wani became a freedom fighter at the age of 15 after he was assaulted and humiliated (for no reason) by Indian forces, according to his father, Muzaffar Wani. “If he dies for his self-respect and his people, he will be a martyr,” his father told media personal in 2014. Burhan Wani was particularly active on social media and did not hide his identity. His video messages related to freedom movement, would often go viral in occupied Kashmir, were on the topics of Indian injustice, and the need for young Kashmiri people to stand up against Indian oppression. Recently, in one his video messages, he had warned local police of consequences, if they continued to resist the freedom movement.

As per United Nations Security Council resolutions, Kashmir is a disputed territory and the right to self-determination, through a fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices was promised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It has almost been seven decades that UN and India promised a fair and impartial plebiscite to resolve the Kashmir dispute. But India is delaying to address the inevitable question of plebiscite. The absence of meaningful political engagement to resolve the Kashmir dispute, through a fair and impartial plebiscite, is setting a new political discourse and militancy has gained legitimacy among young people who believe India is ignoring ground realities in occupied Kashmir. Therefore, innocent people of Kashmir have no other option except to rekindle the indigenous freedom struggle to attain liberation from India (principle of necessity).

The recent series of protests have exemplified the ground reality that an overwhelming majority of people in occupied Kashmir want accession to Pakistan. Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of partition of the subcontinent. The founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said: “Kashmir is jugular vein of Pakistan”. Pakistan has always maintained that the only peaceful solution of Kashmir dispute is through a fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.

In current state of affairs, Pakistan explicitly stated that the ‘extrajudicial killing’ of Burhan Wani and other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his ‘deep shock’ over the killing of Burhan Wani and other civilians by the Indian forces. He said: “It is deplorable that excessive and unlawful force was used against the civilians who were protesting against the killing of Burhan Wani”.

General Raheel Sharif urged the world to recognise the aspirations of Kashmiri people, their struggle for freedom and help resolve the long standing dispute for permanent peace in Kashmir and enduring harmony in the region. Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz pledged to raise voice against Indian brutality in Kashmir at international forum. Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ambassador Nafees Zakariya said regarding the recent happenings in occupied Kashmir that such acts were a “violation of fundamental human rights of Kashmiris” and “cannot deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for the realisation of the right to self-determination.” Ambassador Zakariya also called upon the Indian government to fulfil its human rights obligations as well as its commitments under the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The recent condition in occupied Kashmir indicates two things. Firstly, the situation in occupied Kashmir is extremely volatile due to an overpowering desire in overwhelming majority of Kashmiris to attain liberation from Indian occupation and secondly, Indian state is all-out to crush the lawful freedom struggle by using brutal force. Therefore, in these challenging times, Pakistan must extend its all-out political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris. It is time to tell the world that Kashmiris are not terrorists. In reality, Kashmiris are victims of Indian state-sponsored terrorism. The movement in Kashmir is for gaining the right of self-determination, which was promised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by India and United Nations. Therefore, the freedom movement in Indian occupied Kashmir is lawful.

It would not be out of place to mention here that in June 2016, Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST, AJK) in collaboration with eminent APHC leaders such as Sheikh Tajamul Islam, Abdul Hameed Lone and Sheikh Abdul Mateen organised a very effective “International Seminar on Kashmir” at Convention Centre, Islamabad. The purpose of the aforesaid seminar was to highlight the human rights abuses committed in occupied Kashmir by Indian forces. It must be mentioned here that organising such events is essential to expose the real face of Indian state. Therefore, government of Pakistan should officially organise seminars/workshops/conferences to highlight the human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir committed by Indian forces (particularly in USA, and European countries).

India has adopted an obnoxious policy of using indiscriminate force to undermine the indigenous freedom movement in occupied Kashmir. Indian nefarious policy has endangered the peace in South Asia. It is also a grave threat to the world peace with particular emphasis on the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Pakistan cannot abandon the people of occupied Kashmir. It is best for Indian establishment to promptly understand the ground realities in occupied Kashmir. Kashmiris are only demanding human rights, which unfortunately, have been denied to them. Times have changed! Mark my words, “Burhan Wani will keep haunting the Indian state from his grave”.