The words of the Prime Minister (PM) of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan that neither Pakistan nor AJK will “allow India to link Kashmiri movement with terrorism” were words that someone needed to say. But what did the AJK PM mean when he said, “There’s no room for terrorism in our peaceful struggle.” Is he not speaking the same language that the Americans have been speaking whenever they talk about Kashmir? Are the words not justify what the United States (US) has been asking Pakistan all these years that Islamabad should prevent militants from taking advantage of the situation.

It is about time to say a few words in defence of “terrorism” as “the fierce urgency of now” demands so. Whenever people take up weapons for the sake of achieving their right to self-determination, such resistance does not amount to terrorism at all. Even the United Nations Organisation (UNO) considers such a resistance a justified one where the purpose of the movement is the overthrow of colonisation or occupation and liberation of its land.

Understanding the distinction between terrorism and a militant movement for resisting any occupied force is vital. In the case of Kashmir, the people who have chosen the path of militancy cannot be labelled as terrorists. Nor can any person or state call their resistance an act of terrorism. Moreover, those who think that by launching a non-violent resistance movement they can put India to shame and will eventually succeed in inflicting a moral defeat on India are in error. So far, no amount of peaceful agitation has disturbed the Indian consciousness even to the slightest degree.

Moving a step further, the siege of Kashmir that is almost a month-long makes India a visibly aggressive state that occupies the valley of Kashmir militarily. According to UN resolution 3314, people of Kashmir living under Indian occupation, may resort to armed struggle in pursuit of freedom and independence. No state or non-state actor but international law confers the right of armed resistance on Kashmiris against the illegal Indian occupation of their land.

The Indian occupation necessitates looking at the Kashmiris’ movement for independence as people’s struggle for self-determination. Next time, whenever anyone tries to paint the Kashmiri struggle as a terrorist one, Pakistan needs not to be apologetic in declaring its support for the Kashmiri movement. Pakistan has the responsibility of telling the world that peoples’ struggle, including armed one against occupation, aggression, colonialism aimed at liberation and self-determination under the international law shall not be considered a terrorist crime.