The man who perhaps stands as the most heroic freedom fighter for Kashmiris, Yasin Malik has, in a horrifying verdict, been sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment which will run concurrently as...
The man who perhaps stands as the most heroic freedom fighter for Kashmiris, Yasin Malik has, in a horrifying verdict, been sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment which will run concurrently as well as other spells in prison. The controversial judgment which has immediately triggered protests in Occupied Kashmir was announced by a National Investigating Agency court in New Delhi. Malik had been taken into custody in May 2019, just months before the partially autonomous status of Kashmir was snatched away from it; he was initially accused of terror funding. He has refused to answer to any of the charges against him or defend himself on the grounds that he has no faith in Indian courts for the system of justice in place for Kashmiris.
This is hardly surprising, given what Kashmiris have undergone over the years, notably since 2019. Yasin Malik is a prominent member of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which stands for a free Kashmir. He is also the chief of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and as a young, heroic leader is seen as an inspiration to many Kashmiri youth. The sentence has sent them and others into a state of still greater anger against the Indian government, with Mushaal Hussein Malik, the British-born Pakistani wife of Malik has appealed for help from any quarters including Islamabad which can offer it. PML-N leaders have been quick to condemn the arrest but it is uncertain what else they can do apart from continuing to lobby globally for the release of Malik and inform world leaders about the negative impact his arrest would have on Kashmiris.
Yasin Malik has so far accepted his sentence without comment. It is no exaggeration to say that the global community has been criminally silent over the suffering of the Kashmiri people for decades now. It is time now for international organizations as well as governments around the world to fight not just Yasin Malik’s corner but also fight for all of Kashmir. Sentencing Yasin Malik is a sentence for all those in Indian-occupied Kashmir who are fighting against oppression and a brutal occupation. It is also an indictment of the BJP government led by Narendra Modi. If they think Yasin Malik’s arrest and sentence will quash the freedom movement, they may be in for a shock. This will likely lead to renewed struggle by Kashmiris for independence from the Indian occupying forces. At this moment, Pakistan must use all the diplomatic skills it can muster to help free Yasin Malik and Kashmir’s cause.