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Saturday February 24, 2024

The blaze of Kashmir woes

Kashmir suffered in years that followed from this deal, as area was given to India in 1947 against will of Kashmiris

February 05, 2024
Youths take part in a protest rally in Lahore, to mark Black Day in support of the people living in India-administered Kashmir. — AFP/File
Youths take part in a protest rally in Lahore, to mark "Black Day" in support of the people living in India-administered Kashmir. — AFP/File

The shadowy periods of human slavery are reflected in the historical echoes of human commerce, which reverberate through the ages. The weak found themselves physically and psychologically oppressed by those whose authority, rightfully or wrongfully, became final decrees from unknown eras.

The powerful, whether individuals or states, continued to trade weaker souls for disposable commodities because they were motivated by self-aggrandizement, entrenched interests, and personal gain. Even when human civilization started along the path toward fair living conditions, people with less power and resources continued to be exploited. Despite the widespread belief that the evil practice of human slavery has been eradicated, the modern world must contend with the brutal reality of an Indian-run “slave house” in occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Examining the historical background reveals the disturbing deal that the British East India Company made in Amritsar on March 16, 1846, when it sold the entire province of Kashmir and its millions of inhabitants to Raja Gulab Singh Dogra of Jammu, the local ally, for a pitiful 75 lakh rupees and a few token gifts. This exchange reveals the persistent legacy of human trade in a world that appears to have progressed, evoking patterns of enslavement from the Stone Age.

The appalling Amritsar pact forced Gulab Singh to give yearly tributes to the British and assigned the Kashmiri people a value of “2 rupees per head”. Kashmir suffered in the years that followed from this deal, as the area was given to India in 1947 against the will of the Kashmiris. Generations of Kashmiris have since suffered at the hands of India, leading to the 2016 uprising that took place in response to Burhan Wani’s murder. Indian security forces have committed multiple atrocities, fatalities, and injuries as a result of the continuous struggle for self-determination. The BJP government’s efforts to change the demographic composition of the region are making occupied Kashmir’s situation worse.

India has continuously violated established international conventions with its operations in IIOJK. The 1948 UNSC Resolution, which calls for a plebiscite to decide the destiny of the region, has been disregarded. In addition, India violates the Geneva Conventions, which forbid the relocation of civilian populations into occupied regions. The unilateral action to repeal Article 370 is obviously against UNSC resolutions 38, 47, 51, 91, and 122 concerning Kashmir. The 1972 Simla Agreement infringement adds to the already existing infractions and exposes a record of disdain for international commitments. The “Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Order 2020,” “Jammu & Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate Rules 2020,” and “Jammu and Kashmir Language Bill 2020” are among the recent legislative actions by India that show a purposeful effort to change the demographic composition of IIOJ&K. It seems that the goal is to turn the area from a Muslim majority to a Hindu majority territory, weakening the region’s unique identity. This deliberate action is a blatant transgression of international law, especially the guidelines provided in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Serious questions about violations of international law are raised by India’s plan to host the G20 gathering in IIOJ&K. The G20 was purposefully held in a contentious region with serious human rights concerns, despite its customary concentration on commercial and financial matters. The purpose of this operation was to give the impression of peace and give international acceptance to India’s efforts in IIOJK. China’s, Pakistan’s, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues’ opposition highlights how divisive this decision is.

In IIOJ&K, the right to obtain information is still severely curtailed since social media sites are being used as weapons to stifle content about Kashmir. Internet outages have been a standard tactic, further isolating the area and making it more difficult to record human rights abuses. It is really alarming to learn that the Indian military is allegedly using rape as a state-sponsored tactic. Numerous human rights organizations have identified a high incidence of sexual violence, which highlights the urgent need for international scrutiny and involvement. A war crime, the use of pellet weapons in IIOJ&K resulted in heavy fatalities and damage. World leaders like Juan E. Méndez highlight the perilous circumstances in India and the world community’s moral obligation to defend Muslims and other minorities.

Pakistan’s security environment has changed, moving away from earlier worries over the Kashmir dispute and Indian aggression. A new component has evolved following the war on terror: the “threat from the West.” Attacks on Pakistani soldiers, terrorist operations, and the ongoing instability in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa point to a revival of Indian influence akin to the “modern Mukti Bahini.” An multinational network that is purportedly headed by India and backed by the US and other Western nations has disseminated false information against Pakistan, adding to a complex web of problems. Pakistan must ensure that it does not let local concerns overshadow important matters, including the Kashmir issue, in the face of pressure from the India-US alliance. The complex relationship that exists between Pakistan’s survival and the state of Kashmir highlights the significance of alert diplomacy and steadfast dedication to national interests, especially in the face of outside pressure.

International action must be swift and forceful in response to the IIOJ&K issue in order to address the atrocities, violations, and pressing need for a peaceful settlement. The international community ought to actively seek a fair and long-lasting settlement that protects the rights and dignity of the Kashmiri people, in addition to denouncing these acts. The international community must take immediate action since the settlement of the Kashmir dispute is critical to Pakistan’s survival. The situation necessitates a concerted international effort to protect justice and human rights while easing the agony of the Kashmiri people.


(The writer is a freelance contributor and writes on issues concerning national and regional security. She can be reached at: omayaimen333@gmail.com)