The Kashmir issue, a nuclear flashpoint, continues to linger in the UN General Assembly as an unfinished and unresolved agenda even after 72 years. Instead, it has become a black spot on the face of the international body and the community at large.

The Kashmir issue has been discussed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) at least thrice during the last year but nothing more than that. The international community condemns the Indian occupying security forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) but refrains from exerting pressure on India in any manner to implement UNSC resolutions or to grant the struggling, suffering and bleeding Kashmiris their birth right of self-determination by the way of free and fair plebiscites.

Before going any further, it is imperative to know and understand the legal classifications of the internationally recognised disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. By and large, people are familiar with the UNSC resolutions but there are also other laws of occupation while discussing IIOJK.

The correct legal classification of the situation of Jammu and Kashmir is an illegal occupation by India. The international laws which back this Indian occupation position include UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, Article 42 of the Hague Regulations 1907, Common Article 2 of the General Convention and customary international law. The correct legal references of the law of occupation include Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations which states that a territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of a hostile army.

The law of occupation is primarily motivated by humanitarian considerations and concerns facts which determine its application. International Humanitarian Law’s (IHL) rules become relevant to occupied territories whenever they come under the control of hostile foreign armed forces. India exercises effective control over the foreign territory of IIOJK. Hence, India, as an occupational force, is bound by the IHL principles and rules and therefore, must adhere to them. Even Article 47 of the Geneva Convention IV says that agreements made between an occupying power and local authorities cannot deprive the population of the occupied territory from the protection afforded by the IHL.

Article 64, paragraph 1, of the Geneva Convention says that the occupying power must respect the existing laws in an occupied territory, unless they constitute a threat to its security or an obstacle to the application of the international law of occupation. Furthermore, Articles 55 and 56 state that the occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation.

The UN Resolution of 1541, ‘Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,’ was adopted by the General Assembly in 1960. According to this resolution, the right to self-determination is accepted and seen as legitimate. Furthermore, opposition against repressive measures of all kinds, specifically relating to the freedom fighters, by the colonial powers is endorsed. The UN Resolution 2625 of 1970 further authorises the dependent people to seek and even receive support from the outside to fight against the repressive machinery.

Scanning through world history, one finds that a majority of the third world countries had gotten their freedom and independence after an armed struggle for varying periods of time against the colonial powers. Even the independence of the US as well as the unification of Germany and Italy had become possible only after an armed struggle by their people. Quite the pertinent question which arises is whether the people of these countries were seen as terrorists then?

Any impartial observer who studies the historical background of Kashmir and the ongoing freedom struggle by the Kashmiris, will definitely reach the logical conclusion that the acts of barbarism, atrocities and brutalities being committed by occupying Indian security forces on unarmed people of the disputed territory, merely for the purpose of maintaining illegitimate occupation, is tantamount to alien rule—done so through the help of the articles of the Geneva Convention and international laws. In other words, the occupying Indian security forces are the real terrorists.

The international community must wake up, realise its obligation to the suffering Kashmiris and take practical actions against India. It has been more than 14 months since the Kashmiris have continued to suffer under the strict Indian lockdown in IIOJK.

India imposed the lockdown on the entire population of the occupied territory on August 5, 2019 when the Indian Constitution was unilaterally amended by the fascist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Articles 35 and 370 were revoked, shattering India’s claim of being a secular state into tatters, thus ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and merging it with the Indian Union in a brute attempt to turn a Muslim majority into minority.

Meanwhile, the Indian government also strengthened its security forces in the occupied territory to 900,000 by giving the forces the power to kill unarmed Kashmiri men, women, youth and children in thousands by using brute force. Kashmiris only crime is that they are demanding their right to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

Mosques, educational institutions and means of communications are all closed; the fundamental religious freedom of over eight million Kashmiris is curtailed—constituting a gross and serious violation of the international human rights laws. There is also a shortage of food, medicines and health facilities, despite the dangers and threats of the pandemic that no one is looking to resolve. IIOJK is virtually cut off from the rest of the world as no diplomats, media people and human rights organisation representatives are allowed entry there.

No words are strong enough to pay tributes to the brave and courageous Kashmiris who are struggling and laying down their lives in the name of securing freedom from the shackles of Indian slavery and occupation in a determined manner.

It is needless to mention here that Pakistan continues to extend its moral, diplomatic and political support to Kashmiris in their just struggle and will focus on raising the Kashmir issue at all international forums vociferously and so that it is revived in the UN Security Council.

Cutting miserable, condemnable and deplorable mention of gross human rights violations or the killings of unarmed Kashmiris engaged in indigenous freedom struggle short, it may be mentioned here that right from the first day, the forcible occupation of the territory by India was based on an illegal instrument of accession signed by the last Maharaja who had fled to New Delhi fearing an uprising by the Kashmiris who wanted to accede to Pakistan in last week of October 1947. Following this fake document, India had lifted its troops into Srinagar and forcibly occupied the territory illegally.