Kashmir after 29 months of Modi’s annexation
Pakistan’s National Security Policy has reaffirmed support for Kashmir declaring it a vital security interest of the country.
The United Nations Secretary General in a recent statement expressed deep concern at heightened tensions between South Asian neighbors, Pakistan and India, over the disputed region of Kashmir, calling for New Delhi to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms when dealing with discontent in the territory. His spokesperson Stephane Dujarric further clarifies that the UN position on Kashmir is well established and has not changed.
This is encouraging statement but at the same time it highlights the need for fulfillment of the promises made by the international body to the people of Kashmir who have been demanding for decades their right to self-determination granted to them under different UN Security Council resolutions.
There is rampant rise in human right abuses by the Indian occupied forces in the held area since August, 2019, the day the Modi government revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and split the province into two separate federally governed territories. Before the announcement, the Indian government deployed additional troops to the occupied area, shut down the internet and phones, and placed thousands of people in preventive detention, prompting international condemnation. Fearing that Kashmiris might protest the revocation, the Hindutva government clamped down on public gatherings. Human rights abuses range from mass killings, forced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual abuse to suppression of freedom of speech and bans on religious gatherings continue in the occupied valley for over two and half years. Occupied Kashmir remained under a lockdown for months. Thousands of Kashmiris were detained without charge, including former chief ministers, political leaders, opposition activists, lawyers, and journalists. The internet and phones were shut down. Modi government blocked foreign diplomats and international journalists from independent visits to the held Kashmir. Dozens killed and hundreds injured in security forces raids on homes of Kashmiris.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in its reports also raised serious concerns about abuses by Indian security forces but the Modi government dismissed them as a false and motivated narrative. Independent media reported 29,000 Kashmiris were shifted from Kashmir to different Indian jails in past 29 months. The funeral prayer of iconic Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Gilani was not allowed to be offered in open place and his dead body was buried in midnight under the shadows of guns of Indian army.
New Delhi’s move to revoke Kashmir’s special status by abrogating Article 370 and 35A, diluting whatever limited so-called autonomy still existed on paper, further exposed its future plots. It has not only brought more miseries to the Kashmiris but the move is equally matter of grave concerns for Pakistan.
The revocation is yet another step of India towards completely annexing the Occupied Kashmir. The Modi government is bent upon changing the demography of held area. It is feared the BJP government attempt to convert Muslims into minority in the occupied area will bury the case of Kashmir forever in next years if not checked with proper strategy.
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had declared Kashmir as jugular vein of Pakistan. The governments of Pakistan however failed to fight for the cause over the years. The PTI government has desperately lost the case of Kashmir and Prime Minister Imran Khan is limited to make hollow statements on the issue. Despite the frequent calls by the Jamaat-e-Islami, the government of Imran Khan failed to devise national strategy to check the Indian aggression in the region. There is dire need not to waste more time and save Pakistan from being barren. Pakistan cannot lose Kashmir as it is matter directly linked to its sovereignty and security. The government must awake from deep slumber now and it should call an OIC meeting in Islamabad on single agenda of Kashmir. The government must take on board the national leadership and all stakeholders to devise national policy for the freedom of Kashmiri people from Indian yoke.
On Kashmir Solidarity Day, the Jamaat-e-Islami renews its pledge to continue support for the cause. The Pakistani nation and the Jamaat-e-Islami stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kashmir in their struggle against Indian occupation.
–The writer is Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Emir