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October 5, 2020

Unfinished agenda of Partition

National

October 5, 2020

Kashmir remains the unfinished agenda of the 1947 Partition of the Subcontinent; the issue was further put into global focus after India's unilateral decision to revoke the Article 370 on August 5, 2019 in held J&K, a step which was illegal under the international law. Afterwards, India failed to create an enabling environment in the region by rescinding its illegal and unilateral actions. The state-terrorism against the Kashmiri people still goes on as fundamental freedoms and liberties have been seized and human rights defenders are being targeted. In one instance of Indian state terrorism, Babar Qadri, a well-known young lawyer, an opponent of Indian occupation, was shot to death in his home recently. Earlier, Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of a local daily newspaper, was assassinated. The killing of a prominent civil society member and human rights defender created waves of resentment in the held Valley.

Pakistan has been highlighting the Kashmir issue globally. Presenting Pakistan’s case over the held Valley, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the UN, and the international community to act to resolve the long-smoldering dispute, which posed a threat to global peace. Addressing the 75th session of the UN General Assembly through video link, the prime minister spoke at length on the simmering issue and human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir. "India illegally and unilaterally sought to change the status of the occupied territories and deployed additional troops, bringing the total number to 900,000 to impose a military siege on eight million Kashmiris."

He urged the international community to investigate grave human rights violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity, being perpetrated with complete impunity. "Changing the demographic structure of occupied territory is a war crime," he added.

Kashmir remains such a serious issue that President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey also raised his voice in support of the Kashmiri people when he told the 75th UN General Assembly that there could be no peace in South Asia until this long-simmering dispute was resolved.

“The Kashmir conflict, which is key to the stability and peace of South Asia, is still a burning issue,” said the Turkish leader, reminding the UN that its resolutions on Kashmir have remained unimplemented for more than 70 years.

He also condemned India’s August 5, 2019 decision to illegally merge the disputed territory. “Steps taken following the abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir further complicated the problem.”

According to Kashmir-based Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons or APDP, at least 8,000 Kashmiris were allegedly disappeared by Indian forces. "These disappearances began in the 1990s even before the enactment and implementation of the Jammu & Kashmir Armed Forces Special Powers Act [AFSPA] in September 1990, which provides impunity for India’s armed forces," says the APDP.

Recently, the UN again called on India to probe the marked cases of forced disappearance and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir. In a letter addressed to the Indian government, at least nine UN rapporteurs also asked New Delhi to reconsider the closure of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in the disputed region. “We urge [India]…and local authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to undertake prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all alleged enforced disappearances… and take measures to identify the remains in each of the thousands of unmarked graves,” said the letter. However, India, as usual, turned a blind eye to human rights violations by its forces in the occupied Valley.

In fact, the level of anger against the Indian rule is so high and deep rooted that former pro-India chief minister Farooq Abdullah said in a TV interview that besieged Kashmiris, including those that once had faith in their destiny with India, would today prefer to be ruled by China than New Delhi. “Today Kashmiris do not feel Indian and do not want to be Indian … They are slaves … They would rather have the Chinese rule them,” said Abdullah in an interview, highly embarrassing for the Modi Sarkar.

As it is, India has no roots to talk of in the held Valley and with the abrogation of Article 35 has further complicated the issue, which has to be resolved with Islamabad. And it cannot mislead the world community by levelling unfounded and untrue allegations against Pakistan.

The gross and systematic human rights violations and state-terrorism in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has to end to move forward for resolving the seething issue.