Kashmir: an open wound

August 06, 2020

After the slaughter of millions of human lives as a result of World War I, the League of Nations was created on January 10,1920 to ensure international peace.Later, Lenin regarded this organisation...

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After the slaughter of millions of human lives as a result of World War I, the League of Nations was created on January 10,1920 to ensure international peace.

Later, Lenin regarded this organisation as a 'Thieves Kitchen' as it failed to maintain world peace, which ultimately unfortunately pushed the global community into yet another global conflict (WWII) which again brought in untold miseries and unprecedented destruction and suffering to human lives and property.

The League of Nations was thus disbanded and immediately replaced by yet another international institution called the United Nations Organisation (UNO) on October 24, 1945 with the following objectives: i) ensure international peacekeeping; ii) facilitate conflict resolution, iii) guarantee human rights protection; iv) provide international justice through ICJ in case issues transcend state borders; v) undertake socio-economic welfare measures covering health and education sectors; and vi) mitigate climate change impact and ensure smooth handling of refugees and their safe repatriation to their countries.

Unfortunately this new world body has also totally failed to achieve its objectives. There have been bloody conflicts the world over, many in which Muslims were the main victims. There are dozens of UN resolutions on conflicts like Kashmir and Palestine which have not only been thrown in the dustbin of history by rogue countries like India and Israel but these countries are also committing blatant human rights violations and unprecedented state terrorism. There are unfortunately gross violations of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and other international law.

Socio-economic welfare indicators are also very poor all over the world. For example, world population control is in utter disarray. In 1950, the world's population was 2.6 billion; it is now 7.6 billion in 2020. Poverty in third world countries is rampant. Millions of people are falling below the poverty line every year, and the coronavirus pandemic has further compounded the situation with the WHO helpless to control the virus. Three million Afghan refugees from Pakistan alone await repatriation for the last thirty years. Environmental issues due to rapid climate change are ever worsening. In all this, where is the UN, with its objectives and charter? What is worst are the human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir with impunity.

Kashmir valley has been turned into a prison camp and is under double lockdown. The UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is not being allowed by the Indian government to leave their offices to perform their duties and still the UN is silent. There is no media, no foreign observers and no internet in Kashmir.

To further deteriorate the situation, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided the Indian government an iron wall behind which atrocities are being committed. Kashmiri people are being burnt alive. There are draconian laws including the Public Safety Act (PSA), Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), NSA (National Security Act) and OSA (Official Security Act). Arrest without warrant, shoot to kill and entering houses without permission is the order of the day. Fair trial for the Kashmiris is a mere dream, free legal aid is a far cry, access to council is impossible and cross examination is not allowed.

After the so-called unilateral unionisation of Kashmir and Ladakh, Kashmiris are being subjected to humiliation, mental torture and third degree methods at the hands of the Indian occupying forces. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that Pakistani diplomats and our diaspora abroad must arrange demonstrations in Washington, New York, London, France and Germany highlighting that Kashmir is not a dispute frozen in time as also stated in the UNHRC report of June, 2018. Hence Article 370 of the Indian constitution – abrogated or unabrogated – makes no difference. The status of the Kashmir dispute has not been changed; instead it has been internationalised further because of Modi’s high-handedness.

The need of the hour is that the UN must get its resolutions on Kashmir implemented by using its powers as stipulated in chapter 7 of its charter which recommends graduated punitive action against the defiant state including diplomatic isolation, slamming economic sanctions and if even this doesn’t work, then giving permission for use of force against states not abiding by the UN charter and its resolutions.

An OIC summit meeting needs to be called to highlight the plight of the Kashmiris in double lockdown. The Pakistan government must send special envoys and parliamentarians delegations not only to the P-5 countries but also to all influential states in different continents which have a vote in the UN General Assembly. The Pakistani PM must himself visit a few countries along with some elected parliamentarians. He should also try to extract an invitation from Oxford and other advanced world universities and personally go there to plead the case of the Kashmiri people. Similarly, the Pakistani diaspora and embassies abroad must constantly highlight UNHRC reports of June, 2018 and 2019 which clearly highlight HR violations being committed in Occupied Kashmir.

The United Nations Human Rights Council should be urged to establish an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a transparent investigation as directed by the UNHRC. India should also be urged to repeal all draconian laws, release 10,000 innocent Kashmiris and Hurriyat leaders and withdraw its military from Occupied Kashmir. The Indian government should also lift the lockdown, and allow internet facilities, and permit sick and wounded Kashmiris access to hospitals. It should also stop the malafide demographic transition of Kashmir by inducting lakhs of RSS terrorists there. Potent efforts must be made to ensure the RSS is declared a terrorist organization. Their migration to Kashmir must be stopped through world pressure .

The Pakistani community at home and abroad should inform the world through the international media that in a globalized environment regional conflicts cannot be compartmentalised. The Kashmir issue surely is a global nuclear flashpoint, which if not amicably solved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people in light of UN resolutions can bring global devastation. Similarly, it should be realized that if peace is essential in Afghanistan, it is also essential in Kashmir and the Middle East. Our Foreign Office should follow a proactive approach and not a reactionary strategy. After all, it is a battle of ideas and initiatives.

Friendly countries like China, Turkey and other Muslim countries of the Middle East, South East Asia, Central Asia and Africa may be requested to give statements against the unionisation of Kashmir and Ladakh.

The writer is chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production.

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