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Another illegal move

Opinion

April 5, 2020

The Indian government has announced new laws for Indian-occupied Kashmir, including domicile rights for Indian citizens. Under the new law, those who have resided for a period of 15 years in IOK or studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10/12 examination in education institutions located in the region are now eligible to become permanent residents.

This move comes in the backdrop of the repeal of articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution which ended the special status of the state and removed the barriers for Indian citizens to buy and own properties in occupied Kashmir. The foregoing measures are a well-calculated attempt by India to change demographic realities of IOK as it would facilitate non-Kashmiris to flood into the state and tilt the balance in their favour. Besides the foregoing steps, India also promulgated the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act’ which bifurcated the state into two territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir and made them part of the Indian union.

Pakistan has rightly rejected the new domicile law as yet another illegal attempt to alter demography of IOK which constitutes blatant violation of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan, the fourth Geneva Convention as well as an affront to the conscience of the global community besides being against all humanitarian norms. Surely, India has taken advantage of the world's focus on the coronavirus, thinking that it would go unnoticed without invoking negative fall-out like its previous actions.

India is sadly mistaken to think that through illegal decrees and actions it will be able to subdue the freedom movement in Kashmir and that the Kashmiris would take it lying down; or that the world community and the UN would remain indifferent to the suffering of the people of Kashmir and their obligations towards them forever. Or that Pakistan would allow India to get away with its illegal pursuits in regards to Kashmir.

Pakistan has been regularly sensitizing the world about the designs and machinations of the BJP government and the dangers that the philosophy of Hindutva poses to peace and security of the region. Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned the world in his address to the UN General Assembly about the perceived dangers and sought the intervention of the UN and the world community to stop the Modi government in its tracks before it could unfurl the ravages of a supremacist philosophy like Nazism.

In the backdrop of this latest move, he has again called on the UN and the world community to stop India’s continued violations of the UNSC resolutions and international law. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also spoken to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and urged him to intervene to stop India from changing the demography of the state.

It is pertinent to mention that India, despite its best efforts, has not been able to sell the narrative of Kashmir being its internal matter because of the diplomatic offensive launched by Pakistan and the rejection of the Indian actions by the international media which has been continuously exposing human rights violations by the Indian security forces. It was also due to the success of the efforts by the government at the international level and the support of our time-tested friend China that the UNSC twice discussed the situation in Kashmir and reiterated that the issue needed to be resolved in conformity with principles of the UN charter and the relevant UNSC resolutions.

It is another matter that those powers which can really facilitate the resolution of the Kashmir dispute are looking the other way because of their strategic interests in the region and commercial opportunities that India offers them.

The ground realities are that the people of Kashmir and their leadership have outright rejected Indian moves and vowed to continue their struggle for winning their right of self-determination. Pakistan is also determined and committed to lend moral, political and diplomatic support to their cause and would make sure that India was stopped from annexing Kashmir with the barrel of the gun and the decrees that it has promulgated in violation of the UNSC resolutions.

Kashmir remains an unfinished agenda of Partition. It is admittedly a nuclear flashpoint. Indian illegal moves in regards to Kashmir and its hostile posture towards Pakistan have created a perilous situation and any miscalculation on either side could lead to disastrous consequences for the region and the world at large. India almost brought the two countries to the verge of war when in February 1999 its planes intruded into Pakistan and bombed a hilly terrain in Balakot to mislead the world through her propaganda that it had hit a terrorist camp there; a lie that was immediately exposed by the international media.

Pakistan shot down two Indian planes and captured one Indian pilot which it released immediately as a goodwill gesture. It also showed remarkable restraint against Indian provocations and managed to defuse the situation through the intervention of friendly countries. The incident amply demonstrated that Pakistan was fully capable of dealing with any aggression by India but as a peace-loving nation it would not want such an eventuality to emerge where the two countries get locked in a full-fledged war.

The followers of such a racist philosophy also need to understand that their actions will not go unchallenged and ultimately India will also have to suffer due to the country’s war-like state behavior. The world community and the UN need to remove the blinkers from their eyes, more so the countries who claim to be strategic partners of India, before it is too late.

An armed conflict between India and Pakistan will also harm their strategic and commercial interests. The only way to stop such a catastrophe happening is to resolve the Kashmir dispute in consonance with the UNSC resolutions.

The writer is a freelance contributor. Email: [email protected]