‘Solidarity Day’ Keeps the Kashmir Issue Alive
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 solidarity with the freedom fighters who are demanding their legitimate right of self-determination as recognized by the UN resolutions.
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 Kashmir dispute 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, 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, war of liberation intensified since 1989.
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.
Particularly in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the Indian occupied 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. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations including Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have pointed out that unnamed graves include thousands of innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death.
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. In this respect, 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 liberalized 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.
But, as part of delaying tactics for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute, Indian rulers availed various crises 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.
And, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, leader of the BJP and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi who is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism not only accelerated unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot, but also cancelled the Secretary level talks with Islamabad. Now, he is raising baseless issue like Mumbai mayhem and terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. But, he ignored the fact that on July 19, 2013, Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws. Besides, Modi regime hurriedly decided to forcibly annex disputed territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), uncovering its intentions to wrap up the article 370 of the Indian constitution which ensures a special status to J&K.
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. Now, by playing double game, Indian rulers are only fulfilling the formality by showing to the US-led western countries that they are willing to settle Kashmir dispute.
Nevertheless, 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. But, despite the employment of various patterns of military terrorism, 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 LoC. 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 their joint efforts that now, the Kashmir issue has been internationalized, and 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: Dangerous Shift in International Relations