Friday June 21, 2024

Why Kashmiris observe Oct 27 as Black Day?

By Zafar Alam Sarwar
February 01, 2020

Can durable peace and prosperity for the people of Pakistan and India and neighbouring states be achieved without solving the Kashmir issue?

“Perhaps not”, insist the Kashmiri youth living in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. There has to be a hypocrisy-free resolution of the question, argue old people who migrated from the valley after it was occupied by India. The young generation can’t be cowed, they assert.

Ever since Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947, the issue has been lying unresolved with the United Nations despite many resolutions adopted unanimously, which empowered Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination. That’s called plebiscite which simply means the direct vote of Kashmiris, wherever they are, on the issue. Relevant to this day, in this context, is the appeal made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir to members of the British Parliament 31 years back.

The appeal, inter alia, had said that the wave of independence and right of self-determination against colonialism in various parts of the world was honoured by the British empire and its people, who believed in democracy and rule of law and granted independence to the masses of the sub-continent in 1947 with an option and liberty to at least 561states, either to join Indian dominion or Pakistan, or to remain independent.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to exercise that right, but the Indian Armed Forces committed naked aggression on the state.

A memorandum annexed to the appeal mentioned the people’s struggle against the oppressive and tyrannical Dogra rule and establishment of a de jure revolutionary government in liberated part of the state on October 24, 1947. The notable part thereof was the bitter fact that the fleeing Maharaja Hari Singh secretly entered into an unholy treaty with the Indian government on October 27, 1947, and a provisional treaty of accession was executed on the basis of which the Indian Army troops were dropped and pushed into the state to fight against the Kashmiri freedom fighters.

That so-called treaty provided that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would have the right of self-determination as soon as normal life is restored. India has not fulfilled its commitment to the UN yet. The day of Indian army attack came to be known as the Black Day in Kashmir and is observed as such by Kashmiris and advocates of human rights everywhere.

Some time ago, Indian Foreign Minister trumpeted that the disputed territory was an integral part of India, but soon came the rebuttal from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who claimed on October 7 that his state had acceded to India not merged with India. Mr. Abdullah told the state assembly in Srinagar that J and K “cannot be placed at par with Hyderabad and Junagarh,” which were forcefully occupied by India. He said “it is still a fact that Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India is under an agreement and it’s not the merger.” Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah had adopted the same stance in his public speech in Srinagar on July 13, 2004. That’ how India’s brazen lie gets exposed in occupied valley also.

Kashmiris say Pak stand on the dispute has always been principled and in accordance with the UN Charter: there has to be a free and fair plebiscite in the occupied Valley under the auspices of the world body as envisaged in its resolutions of August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949. Pakistan rightly drew the world attention to the new unprecedented wave of protests against occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and suppression of the voice of the youths who are demanding right to self-determination. In fact, they seem determined to achieve their object and political volcano has started erupting. The occupied valley has been racked by street protests since June 11, 2010, when a 17-year-old student hit by a tear-gas shell lost his life. Reportedly, more than 145 youths have been gunned down by Indian security forces during the past four months. The widespread protest against state terror is indigenous. Before the situation gets worsened and is more dangerous than ever before, the world community should persuade India to learn that the peace of the region hinges upon a quick end to repression in the disputed territory.

All people of the world who believe in right to self-determination took note of Pakistani foreign minister’s speech to the UN General Assembly three years ago, which emphasised the fact that Jammu and Kashmir forms the central part of all the outstanding issues between the two neighbouring countries. The human rights of the people of Kashmir have to be respected and their voice heard to establish an environment suitable for peaceful solution to the long-standing dispute.

The call for solving the question cannot be overlooked by any sane person in any peace-loving country of the world in the backdrop of the situation which has deteriorated swiftly following violent response to the young and old Kashmiris’ demand for right to self-determination.

A peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions and taking into account the aspirations of the Kashmiri people would surely create an atmosphere conducive to durable peace and stability in South Asia where millions are haunted by poverty, hunger and disease.

The commitment of Pakistan and its masses to the cause of the oppressed people is known to the world, according to which they have always extended their unswerving moral, diplomatic and political support to Kashmiris fighting for their right to self-determination acknowledged by the UNO. The oppressed people are at the heart of the issue, and their fate and future are at stake. The UN Resolution of January 5, 1949, clearly states that “the question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite.”