Solidarity with Kashmiris
Since 1990, the 5th of February is being celebrated by Pakistanis and Kashmiris as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ to pay homage to Kahsmiri martyrs and to show shared aims with the freedom fighters who are struggling against the Indian subjugation, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination as recognized by the UN resolutions. This special day also reminds the continued sacrifices of Kashmiri people against Indian state terrorism.
On partition of India in 1947, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, in connivance with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor-General Lord Mountbatten, had decided to join India, quite contrary to the wishes of the majority of Kashmiris.
When a contention arose between India and Pakistan on the dispute of Kashmir in1948, India took the issue to the United Nations Security Council and offered to hold a plebiscite in the held Kashmir under UN supervision. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India.
While, passing through various phases, during and after the partition, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between the Indian state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the freedom fighters, keeps on going unabated.
Despite the employment of various forms of state terrorism by the Indian security forces like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter, war of liberation which intensified since 1989 continues by the Kashmiri freedom fighters.
A recent report on human rights violations by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir disclosed that since 1989, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiris, 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests and 105,861 destructions of houses. Indian brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women.
Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
In this respect, European Union passed a resolution on May 11, 2011 about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir. It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of Baramulla, Bandipore and Handwara. Then researchers and other groups reported about thousands of mass graves without markers. In this regard, in the last few years, rights groups discovered more than 3,000 unnamed graves in the various districts of Kashmir.
In this context, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have pointed out that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and para-military troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.
In a report, China’s leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details on world-stunning unmarked graves in Poonch of the Indian held Kashmir. The report revealed the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, “Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.”
While, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and rights groups have pointed out that more than 10,000 people have disappeared, accusing government forces of staging fake gun battles to cover up killings. They also disclosed that suspected persons had been arrested and were murdered through arbitrary executions, and then buried in unmarked graves.
On the other side, by showing a sense of great optimism for peace of the region, Pakistan agreed with Indian old demand to strengthen the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in order to resolve the outstanding issues, especially main dispute of Kashmir.
During the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to Pakistan on September 9, 2012, Islamabad and New Delhi also signed agreements of liberalised visa regime and a memorandum of understanding on cultural exchanges in addition to agreeing on new cross-Line of Control (LoC) Confidence Building Measures related to trade and travel. Although Pakistan was already importing vegetables from India through Wagah border, yet implementation of these new agreements has started. Besides, Islamabad also signed a number of trade agreements with New Delhi, which allowed India exports of mutltiple items across the Wagah border. It is also likely to grant India Most Favoured Nation status, which permits trade in almost everything.
But, as part of delaying tactics for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute, Indian rulers availed various crises so as to suspend the process of Pak-India talks. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, New Delhi postponed the process of dialogue. Again, in 2008, India suspended the ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW in connivance with Indian home-grown terrorists.
India and Pakistan had resumed the new phase of talks in March, 2009 which were the first structured bilateral talks. But every time, prime ministers and foreign ministers of Pakistan and India have ended their meetings with issuance of positive notes, vowing for the solution of real issues, particularly the core dispute of Kashmir, but the same failed without producing tangible results due to Indian shrewd diplomacy.
Recently, Indian forces have repeatedly violated the LoC ceasefire agreement, and killed some soldiers of Pak Army. The purpose behind Indian double game is to give a blow even to the CBMs in order to avoid any settlement of Kashmir issue.
In fact, India is determined to keep its hold on Kashmir. It also wants to blackmail Pakistan by stopping the flow of rivers’ water towards Pakistan as major rivers of our country take origin from the occupied Kashmir. India is only fulfilling the formality through the new phase of talks as Indian rulers also want to show to the US-led western countries that they are willing to settle Kashmir dispute.
Notably, inactive approach of the so-called US-led civilised international community to this dispute has further encouraged New Delhi to continue its brutalities on the Kashmiri masses. Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds as they have decided that only bullet is the right way of dealing with them.
However, despite the employment of various patterns of military terrorism in the Indian occupied Kashmir, the war of liberation by the Kashmiri people will continue untill they get their legitimate right of self-determination. If New Delhi could not suppress the movement in the past, it could also not do so in present and future.
Nonetheless, Pakistan will continue moral, diplomatic and political support of Kashmiri brethren. Hence, 5th of February is being celebrated as the ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ by Kashmiris, living both sides of the Line of Control. Besides, Pakistanis and Kashmiris across the world express solidarity with the freedom fighters of Kashmiris as a protest against Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir. It is due to the joint efforts of Kashmiri leaders and the Pakistan’s subsequent regimes that the Kashmir issue remains alive in wake of Indian delaying tactics.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power