In solidarity with Kashmir
On February 5th, people across Pakistan observed a respectful silence for one minute to honor the martyrs of Kashmir. On this day every year, the people and government of Pakistan reaffirm their solidarity with the Kashmiris in their 'struggle' for self-determination; a universal right enshrined in the charter of the United Nations.
The rejection of this right in Indian Administered Kashmir has led to many human rights’ abuses, and since the 1990s, the increasing role of Hindu nationalist forces in the Indian polity has led to a direct increase in violence there . In his Kashmir Day speech, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the abuse at the hands of Indian law enforcement in Kashmir extended to ruthless killings, pellet injuries and the blinding of children and infants, rape and brutal torture.
New Delhi has persistently denied international human rights organizations access to Kashmir to document what is happening at valley.
In June last year, a damning UN report accused Indian security forces of using excessive force against civilians and of failing to adhere to applicable national and international standards on said use of force. The UN has repeatedly acknowledged the Kashmiris right to freedom in 1948-49, and again in 1974, reaffirming "the duty of states not to use armed force to deprive peoples of their right to self-determination."
The UN has also rejected India's claim that Jammu and Kashmir is part of the Indian union and as yet it remains disputed territory.
The UN has repeatedly acknowledged the Kashmiris right to freedom in 1948-49, and again in 1974, reaffirming "the duty of states not to use armed force to deprive peoples of their right to self-determination."
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
Pakistani President Arif Alvi, in a speech in Muzaffarabad, capital of the Pakistani territory of Azad Kashmir, demanded that the Indian government should free all political prisoners, uphold freedom of expression in Kashmir, ban the use of firearms against citizens as well as pellet guns. He also said that restrictions on electronic communications should be lifted, that international rights observers should be allowed to see the situation there for themselves and IoK leaders should be allowed free travel to make their case abroad. Though judicious enough, it seems impossible that the BJP government of Prime Minister Modi will accept any of these demands.
Currently, with a general election looming, in a classic case of political distraction, the BJP ruling party in India has been making overt, threatening statements towards Pakistan widely believed to be in order to divert the attention of ordinary voters from PM Modi’s corruption scandals. Often, as in politics around the world but especially in India and Pakistan, it is a move that works in favor of the government fighting to gain votes.
• Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is an Islamabad-based analyst and professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University.