Saving Kashmir

 
September 22, 2020

There is now a very real need for the world to come together to save Kashmir and its people from the ceaseless misery they have been suffering for well over a year after India altered laws which...

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There is now a very real need for the world to come together to save Kashmir and its people from the ceaseless misery they have been suffering for well over a year after India altered laws which gave the territory limited autonomy. The decision by the Organization of Islamic Conference and its Contact Group to urge the UN to take forward its resolutions on Kashmir is therefore a welcome one. We need as much pressure put on India to work in this fashion as is possible. So far, much of the world including the Muslim world has remained mainly silent. This silence will be seen by India as a kind of acceptance of what it is doing.

For this reason, the OIC Contact Group’s decision to pressurize India to do more to liberate the Kashmiri people is welcome. In its message the Contact Group, through the UN permanent secretary for Pakistan also read out a message from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in which he warned that India was trying to permanently change the demographic profile of Kashmir by granting 1.6 million domicile certificates to non-Muslims. This he said could change the Muslim majority status of Kashmir forever. There are other concerns which Shah Mehmood pointed out during the talk for the Contact Group. Other nations also spoke out for Kashmir. But we need many more voices. Pakistan has consistently put pressure on New Delhi and on the world to work on the behalf of Kashmiris and to do everything possible to grant them the rights that should belong to them under the law and under the rights that the world has accepted belong to all people. This has however not happened.

The UN can take limited action. In the Security Council any vote could be vetoed by India’s allies. But it is essential that Pakistan and other nations press ahead. The OIC’s taking up of the matter should lead to a more definite stance for Kashmir by other groups representing Muslim countries, or groups of Muslim countries. On Kashmir there should be no division between these nations. The issue has gone on for far too long and consumed too many lives by causing immense suffering, death and destruction. The OIC has sought a plebiscite in Kashmir as is demanded under UN resolutions. We have been hearing about the plebiscite for over half a century. Whether it will ever take place is not something we can say. But it is vital that we continue to press for the right of Kashmiris to determine their own future and to work alongside them in providing the support they require from the outside world to make such a reality possible.



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