Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing a public rally in Muzaffarabad on 22 July while referring to the killings of people of Kashmir at the hands of the Indian security forces said “we should not forget the oppressed people of Kashmir who have been sacrificing their lives for their freedom. No one can subdue their movement which will be crowned with success. They are being killed. We are waiting for the day when Kashmir will become Pakistan. People of Pakistan are with their brethren of Occupied Kashmir and will never give up supporting them”. Reacting to the statement of Nawaz Sharif Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj said that Pakistan was interfering in the internal affairs of India and declared that Kashmir would never be part of Pakistan. By the same token Kashmir being a disputed territory could not be part of India either. Only the people of Kashmir through their right of self-determination can decide the fate of the state, which has been denied to them for well over six decades.

Indian insistence that Kashmir is its integral part, is not only the most preposterous contention but also constitutes an affront to the world community and the UN whose 23 resolutions on the subject invariably recognize Kashmir as a disputed territory and emphasize the settlement of the question of accession of the state through a plebiscite. This assertion also makes mockery of the repeated commitments given by Nehru and Lord Mountbatten to resolve the Kashmir issue by allowing the people to exercise their right of self-determination. It is pertinent to point out that the UN through its resolutions had rejected the resolution of the constituent assembly of Kashmir announcing accession of Kashmir to India, saying that the issue could not be resolved through any method other than a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN. The other very cogent question is: how can half of the Kashmiri people decide the fate of the state on behalf of the other half who never were part of the exercise stage-managed by India to circumvent the UN resolution? It is quite evident that the Indian stance on Kashmir has no moral and legal basis. The freedom movement in Occupied Kashmir is also a ranting testimony to the fact that the people of occupied Kashmir have not accepted the so-called accession of Kashmir to India.

Let us for a moment assume that the Indian claim is right; then how could they kill 51 of their own people through indiscriminate firing and use pellet guns to disperse the crowds, a most inhuman ploy to deal with people protesting for their rights. Had the Indian security forces and law enforcing agencies killed even one protesting Hindu the way they are engaged in the massacre of the people of Kashmir, the whole country would have been on fire. The fact that the people of India, its politicians and the government have not even lamented the loss of human lives, proves beyond an iota of doubt that in the heart of their hearts they feel that the people of Kashmir are not part of Indian social and political milieu and therefore why should they bother about the oppression let loose on them. This brazen and shameless violation of human rights in Occupied Kashmir is enough to unveil the ugly face of the Indian democracy and their feigned love for human values. The statement by Swaraj that Pakistan was interfering in the internal affairs of India is factually incorrect, legally untenable and indeed a violation of the international law and UNSC resolution, as rightly pointed out by Nawaz Sharif while presiding over the meeting of National Security Committee, which decided to approach the United Nation Human Rights Commission urging it to send a fact-finding mission to Indian Occupied Kashmir for investigating the slaughter of the innocent civilians and to ban the use of pellet guns.

Pakistan being a party to the Kashmir dispute is very much entitled to lend moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir and also sensitise the world community about what was happening in Occupied Kashmir. The existence of the Simla Agreement which recognises Kashmir as a disputed territory reiterating its resolution through bilateral negotiations also contradicts the position taken by India on Kashmir and its claim of Pakistan interfering in the internal affairs of India.

What Prime Minister Nawaz said in his address to the public rally at Muzaffarabad is actually a true reflection of the wishes of the people of occupied Kahsmir and their yearning to become part of Pakistan. Freedom struggles have no time line for their success but it is an irrefutable reality that such movements cannot be suppressed through oppression. They however need to be nurtured and strengthened through messages of hope and righteousness of the cause. Terming them a rhetoric and wishful thinking that could bring more harm to people of Kashmir and Pakistan, by a section of the Pakistani media, is tantamount to an unsolicited indiscretion. One needs to be a little more circumspect and discreet while commenting on issues like Kashmir. Maybe the comment was off the cuff and not meant to criticise the PM for what he said but the fact that it has been picked up and used by the entire Indian media to deride the contention of the Prime Minister, is rather an unpalatable spectacle. Indian media invariably supports the actions of the Indian government in Kashmir and its stated position on the issue, notwithstanding the inhuman treatment being meted out to the people of Kashmir, who are fighting for their legitimate and legal right of self-determination. A similar kind of approach by Pakistani media is required to boost the morale of the people of Kashmir and lending support to the government in fighting the case of the people of Kashmir on the international level.

The apathy and insensitivity exhibited by the international community, UN and powers like USA to the suffering of the people of Kashmir is regrettable. How could they remain silent on cold-blooded murders of more than fifty human beings fighting for their legitimate and fundamental right of self-determination? By remaining indifferent to what is happening in Kashmir, they are encouraging India to continue with its oppressive policies and possibly paving the way for a likely confrontation between Pakistan and India endangering peace and security in the region. The issue of Kashmir needs to be resolved in conformity with the UN resolutions as it cannot be settled through the barrel of the Indian gun.