S M Hali Every August 14, Pakistans Independence Day, is a declaration of the Kashmiris right to self-determination. In defiance of the curfew imposed by the Indian army in Occupied Kashmir, the people venture out to raise the Pakistani flag. The entire valley reverberates with slogans of Pakistan Zindabad, as the Kashmiris express their solidarity, love and respect for Pakistan. This contrasts sharply with the Indian Independence Day, on August 15, which is normally observed by the Kash-miris as Black Day. Refusing to hoist the Indian flag, Kashmiris generally boycott every state-sponsored event and opt to stay indoors. The entire valley bears a deserted look and an eerie silence ensues. The question is, if that is not an expression of their desire to opt for Pakistan and totally reject Indian domination, then what other plebiscite is required? Disappointed by the international community, and even the UN, Kashmiris have taken it upon themselves to determine their own fate. At the time of the subcontinents partition, it was the people of Kashmir who were to decide whether they would opt to accede to Pakistan or stay with India. Instead however, a macabre conspiracy was hatched. With the connivance of Pandit Jawah-arlal Nehru, Indias last British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, and Chairman of the Boundary Commission, Sir Cyril Radc-liffe, was pressurised to award Gurdaspur - a Muslim majority town - to India, providing it ground access to Kashmir. Following it, the Indian forces landed in Srinagar and occupied the valley, forcing its Sikh ruler to accede to India. Fledgling Pakistan, which was reeling under the pressure of the mass exodus of humanity from India, the lack of resources in housing and feeding them, and the imperviousness of India in withholding Pakistans share of defence equipment and the much needed funds, could do little to stop the Indian incursion. To make matters worse, General Gracey, the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, refused to send troops to Kashmir in defiance of the Quaids orders. Pakistans only option was to assemble a ragtag militia and volunteers from the army to take on the daunting task of liberating Kashmir. Thus, the lack of arms and ammunition did not deter them and by dint of sheer spirit and courage, the volunteers reached the outskirts of Srinagar, much to the chagrin of the Indians. Exasperated over the situation, Pandit Nehru approached the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire which was accepted. At the same time, the council passed resolutions calling for a plebiscite by the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination. Thus, the Kashmiris were back to square one; the onus was now once again on them for determining their future. The Indian leadership not only accepted the resolutions, but Pandit Nehru, on November 2, 1947, in a broadcast to the nation on All India Radio, also stated: We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given, and the Maharaja has supported it, not only to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, but also to the world. We will not, and cannot back out of it. We are prepared when peace and law have been established to have a referendum held under international auspices like the United Nations. We want it to be a fair and just reference to the people, and we shall accept their verdict. I can imagine no fairer and juster offer. Unfortunately, Nehru was the first to renege on his solemn pledge and declared Kashmir to be an integral part of India according to the Constitution. Since then, the Indian State continues to argue that the elections held in Jammu and Kashmir since 1951 are effectively a substitute for a plebiscite. That the people have voted and acceptance of the Indian rule. On the contrary, Kashmiris reject this argument stating that they were merely voting to elect leaders for local day-to-day governance; however, the question of self-determination has been denied. And that the elections have been rigged since 1951, as the centre has been continuously installing local puppets in the state. Forced by the continued breach of the solemn pledge given by Indias founding fathers and the UNs lack of action towards getting its resolutions implemented, in 1989, the Kashmiris rose in revolt to achieve their freedom. The Indians reacted sharply and deployed 700,000 troops to crush the freedom movement. In the ensuing years, over a hundred thousand Kashmiris have been slaughtered, while thousands have been maimed for life and an equal number jailed on trumped-up charges. The worst outcome is that the Indian propaganda machinery has declared the freedom movement as terrorist operations being aided and abetted by Pakistan. The redeeming factor is the declaration of the Kashmiris on every Independence Day. This year too on August 15, at a flag hoisting ceremony in Srinagar, a suspended head constable, Abdullah Ahad Jaan, hurled a shoe at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah from the third row of the VIP enclosure shouting: We want freedom. Even though the security was so high that no civilians, not even schoolchildren, were allowed at the venue but the spirited Abdullah Ahad defied all odds. This is the ultimate ignominy for the puppet Chief Minister, who has been humiliated by one of his own security personnel. This shows that the indomitable spirit of the Kashmiris can neither be crushed, nor subjugated. Nevertheless, if the heart of the Kashmiris beats with Pakistan, they have synchronised their watches with Pakistan Standard Time and raise Pakistans national flag on August 14 every year, spurning Indias rule, then the writing is clear on the wall. India needs to respect the will of the Kashm-iris and grant them their right to self-determination, according to the UN resolutions and as promised by its founding fathers. The writer is a political and defence analyst.