Pakistan stands with the people of Jammu and Kashmir
On Aug. 5, 2019, the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party government in India unilaterally revoked the constitutional autonomy of the Muslim-majority state of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The people and government of Pakistan join their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in observing this date as Youm-e-Istehsal Kashmir to condemn the unlawful annexation of Kashmir by India.
The abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomous status is a clear manifestation of Hindutva ideology. The BJP government wants to destroy the distinct Kashmiri identity by allowing non-Kashmiri Indian citizens to settle in the disputed territory. This demographic change is aimed at converting the Muslim majority into a minority.
This engineered domination of Hindus in the region will not only marginalize Kashmiri Muslims in their homeland but will also negatively affect their right to self-determination.
In March, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers condemned the illegal Indian measures instituted since Aug. 5, 2019, and called on New Delhi to halt and reverse attempts to alter the demographic structure and electoral constituencies in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Similarly, the UN special procedures mandate holders also expressed concern over the increase in grave human rights violations in Kashmir. Earlier, two reports were issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights — in June 2018 and July 2019 — comprehensively documenting the gross and systemic violations of human rights in the state.
The Kashmiri expat community residing in Saudi Arabia and across the globe appreciated the solidarity expressed by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, the General Secretariat of the OIC and other human rights organizations with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The unlawful actions of 2019 have not only disturbed the lives of Kashmiris, but also endangered peace in South Asia. Indian efforts to project “normalcy” in Jammu and Kashmir are a fallacy. Engineered elections, sham democracy and concocted stories of development in the region stand exposed by last year’s mobilization of an additional 50,000 Indian soldiers in the world’s most militarized zone, where it already has more than 900,000 troops stationed.
India’s unlawful actions of 2019 have not only disturbed the lives of Kashmiris, but also endangered peace in South Asia.
Ameer Khurram Rathore
Expecting an adverse reaction from Kashmiris as a result of its illegal annexation, the Modi government imposed an unprecedentedly long curfew in the state. Today, young girls cannot attend school, the old and sick are prevented from going to hospitals and youngsters are blinded by pellet guns. Never mind ensuring the right to freedom of movement for the Kashmiri people, even the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, the organization’s oldest peacekeeping mission, is not allowed to go out of Srinagar.
India has unleashed brutal force to deny the Kashmiris the right to peaceful protest. Innocent Kashmiris are subjected to the most inhuman treatment and torture. A continued surge in Indian atrocities has been recorded since Aug. 5, 2019. Indian forces’ extrajudicial killings have already claimed the lives of 116 Kashmiris in 2022. More than 2,000 Kashmiris, including iconic leader Yasin Malik, have been put behind bars on fictitious charges.
Kashmiris were locked in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic without any access to medical relief or food supplies. Illegal detentions, torture, fake encounters, rape and molestation, enforced disappearances and communication blockades have become India’s instruments to prevent innocent Kashmiris from calling out to the international community for their right to self-determination. Their indigenous struggle for freedom against the Indian-perpetuated violence of the last seven decades is heart-wrenching.
The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is internationally recognized. Unilateral actions taken by the Indian government can neither alter the disputed status of the territory nor suppress the legitimate right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people. We urge the international community and international organizations to take heed of the Indian atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir and pressure the BJP government to reverse the illegal and unlawful actions of Aug. 5, 2019. These Indian actions are blatant violations of international law, UNSC resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The people and government of Pakistan will continue to extend full moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris to attain their right to self-determination as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.
• Ameer Khurram Rathore is ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.