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جمعہ، 4 فروری، 2011

Kashmir Oldest unresolved international dispute

The time has come to expose Indian duplicity, unmask its terrible crimes against humanity, and show the world its true hideous face. Let us resolve this February 5th that before the next Solidarity Day for the Kashmiris, we would see an end to their misery, rape and torture and the right of self determination of the Kashmiris would be exercised and they would stand vindicated and take their rightful place in the comity of nations ( Insha Allah ).

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By Mamoona Ali Kazmi

The people of Pakistan and Kashmir observe Kashmir Solidarity Day on 5th February every year to demonstrate their support for the right of self-determination for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir. They conduct seminars and rallies, observe a minute’s silence and form Human chains along the roads and on bridges that connect Pakistan with Azad Kashmir. The Solidarity Day reaffirms Pakistan’s pledge to the people of Kashmir that she will not leave them alone in their just struggle against atrocities committed by the Indian occupational forces. Observance of Solidarity Day on 5th February is a proof of Pakistan’s continued support to Kashmiri cause. Recently, the government of Azad Kashmir has decided to observe 2011 as the year of right of self-determination of Kashmiris living across the Line of Control. Kashmir dispute is the oldest unresolved international dispute in the world today. The Kashmir issue is the result of unjust partition and thus recognised as a disputed territory by the international community. India claims right over the territory due to the signing of a dubious Instrument of Accession with the Maharaja. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), based in Geneva passed a resolution in 1993, which proclaimed Kashmir’s accession to India as bogus and null and void. India has never produced original copy of the Instrument of Accession on an international forum. In 1995 the Indian authorities reported that the original document was lost or stolen. All this creates doubts whether the Maharaja has ever signed an Instrument of Accession or not! If promises are made to be broken, then Kashmir may be summoned to prove this saying. Broken promises haunt Kashmir’s history, and explain its tragedy. On 21st April 1948 Security Council passed a resolution, which called for a fair and free plebiscite in Kashmir. Indian Prime Minister Nehru promised to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir. On 2nd November 1947, Prime Minister Nehru reiterated: “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given and the Maharaja supported it, not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it”. The promise however, was never fulfilled. India thwarted all attempts by the UN to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. It forcibly occupied Kashmir by her security forces that remained engaged in committing human rights violation for more than 60 years. In the recent past, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf agreed at the United Nations on 24th September 2004 “to explore all the possible options to settle the issue of Kashmir”. Then exactly one year later Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at the United Nations on 16th September 2005: “What I do believe, I have also said that borders cannot be redrawn but we must work together to make borders irrelevant”. It is hard to understand how can you explore all possible options when the only option available is to make borders irrelevant (status quo). For Pakistan without the earlier resolution of Kashmir issue peace, security and development cannot be ensured in the region. Former President Musharraf proposed several options on Kashmir dispute based on territorial changes, which he called “food for thought” on 24th October, 2004. The suggestions, which were bold for any Pakistani leader to make on such a sensitive issue, met with muted response in Delhi. Similarly, the Indian government rejected President Musharraf’s suggestion of demilitarization of three cities, Baramullah, Kupwara and Srinagar of Jammu and Kashmir, in December 2005. In December 2006 in an interview with the Indian channel NDTV, former President Musharraf unveiled a four-point solution and declared that Pakistan was ready to discuss the issue beyond the parameters of its old demand for plebiscite in Kashmir and the basis provided by the UN resolutions if India, also left its stated positions. The four-point solution provide; Kashmir will have the same borders but people will be allowed to move freely in the region, the region will have self governance for autonomy but not independence, troops will be withdrawn from the region in a staggered manner, and a joint supervision mechanism will be set up with India, Pakistan and Kashmir representatives. This offer of the President also failed to evoke any official response from the Indian side. Instead of giving them their right to self-determination, India has employed various techniques such as black laws, POTA, TADA and AFSPA to crush the Kashmiri Liberation movement since 1989. Currently, 700,000 military and paramilitary troops are deployed in occupied Kashmir and are involved in gruesome human rights violations. Torture, rape, plunder, abduction, arson, custodial disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and ruthless suppression of peaceful political dissent have become commonplaces. The Indian occupational forces have killed more than 92,150 innocent Kashmiris. 38,450 people have been rendered disabled or crippled for life and 30,000 women have been raped and molested. In the words of Lord Eric Avebury, Chairman, British Parliamentary Human Rights Group: “The atrocities committed by Indian imperialists in occupied Kashmir surpass brutalities of apartheid regime in South Africa or of Nazis 50 years ago”. The condition of Kashmiris detained in different jails of the occupied Kashmir is worse than that of those in Abu Gharib prison in Iraq. Arundhati Roy, a well respected Indian writer said: “The biggest myth of all times is that India is a democracy. In reality, it is not. Several states in India are on the verge of civil war. In the Kashmir valley alone, some 80,000 people have been killed. In Iraq, there are 150,000 military personnel whereas in Kashmir valley there are some 700,000”. Pakistan believes that a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute can only be found through a process of dialogue and engagement. For this reason, Pakistan always initiated a dialogue with India for the solution of Kashmir dispute. Pakistan believes that for peace process, it is essential that Indian armed forces must stop violations of human rights in Indian held Jammu and Kashmir. Despite all sincere efforts by Pakistan government to resolve the long lasting dispute, India has not shown flexibility in this regard. All this reflects that India is not willing to solve Kashmir dispute and end the sufferings of the Kashmiri people. Instead it wants to strengthen its hold over the valley. On the Solidarity Day, India needs to understand that it would no longer be able to keep Kashmiris under its occupation. It’s time that she should adopt a flexible attitude to solve the Kashmir dispute at the earliest.
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