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September 21, 2019

Indian occupation an opportunity to end IHK’s decades-old plight

Islamabad

September 21, 2019

Islamabad : Articles 370 and 35-A were the only legal bridges linking Indian constitution with the occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and their abrogation by India has effectively made the region independent on technical grounds. The situation provides ample opportunity to accentuate Kashmir cause internationally, availing which efficaciously can help set the region and its people free from their decades-old plight.

This was the message, which emerged from a consultative session titled ‘Evolving Situation in Kashmir’ which was held at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad on Friday.

The session was presided over by ex-president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Major General (r) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan, while the other speakers included IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, defence analyst Brig (r) Said Nazir, former ambassadors Abrar Hussain and Tajammul Altaf, Hurriyat leader Ghulam Muhammad Safi, former deputy attorney general of Pakistan Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer, CEO of Al Hijrah Trust Pakistan Abdur Rehman Usmani and defence analyst Muhammad Ali.

The speakers were unanimous that Indian Premier Modi’s extremist actions had severed the bridge tying Indian constitution with Kashmir and now under the aegis of law, even the presence of a single Indian soldier in the valley would be regarded as an illegal occupation.

About the legal aspects of the Kashmir issue, the speakers said multiple petitions have been filed against the Indian actions of 5 august even in the Indian courts. This, however, should be remembered that the Indian courts are a part of the same system that supports occupant forces, and therefore no positive expectations should be attached with any component of the Indian system.

The speakers were of the opinion that there were hundreds of options available for Pakistan to conduct the statecraft between peace and war. The international legal system must be focused in order to find innovative ways for building a case for Indian held Kashmir. In addition, Pakistan could also seek to include the occupied Kashmir in the UN list of Non-Self Governing Territories - which are the territories that are governed by another country, are rarely allowed representations in the governing country's legislature, and their people are yet to attain the full measure of self-governance.

The experts also said resources could also be mobilized to achieve membership of Kashmir in Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.

Highlighting the security dimensions of the Kashmir issue, the biggest challenge faced by India in occupied Kashmir, according to the speakers, was to control the ground situation, and the country was most likely to continue using its state machinery to the full extent for the purpose. Kashmiris, on the other hand, are doing a remarkable job braving more than half of the total of Indian military troops in their region, and in return, Pakistan needs to not only recognize the sacrifice of the people of Kashmir but should also seek to disperse the concentration of the Indian troops from Indian held Kashmir.

Discussing the question of war, the speakers said the logic suggested that India was not interested in initiating war outside the occupied Kashmir but it could try to create distractions here and there every now and then, making it essential for Pakistan to stay vigilant and prepared in a clear and visible manner for any kind of threat.

They stressed that any small success achieved by Pakistan over the Kashmir cause should only be seen as a small step and must not be blown out of proportion.

The speakers said the focus should remain on the freedom struggle of Kashmir, in the support of which Pakistan should openly announce the provision of every humanitarian and material help for Kashmiris purely on principle, humanitarian, moral and ethical grounds.