The writer is an
analyst and the
President of All
Kashmir Solidarity Day is on February 5, and this day is observed by the people in Pakistan and Kashmir who have been fighting for their freedom for more than 70 years. This day is also celebrated in honor of the Kashmiris who have lost their lives in the fight for freedom. It focuses on showing Pakistan’s support and unity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir, their ongoing freedom struggle, and paying homage to Kashmiri martyrs who lost their lives fighting for Kashmir’s freedom. Pakistan urged the UN Security Council to act immediately to protect Kashmiris, especially children in conflict zones, particularly in the India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) where Indian forces have been deliberately targeting children with pellet guns. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also urged India to end the use of pellets against children in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and stop associating children with the security forces in any way. According to an analytical report, it said that the killing of 95,686 including 7,147 in custody from January 1, 1989, to September 30, 2020, speaks volumes about the goodwill gesture of the brutal Indian forces towards the Kashmiri people. The report also mentioned the destruction of 110,367 civilian properties including houses and structures and gang-rape or molestation of 11,219 of women by the troop during the period to expose the reality of the Indian Army’s Sadbhavana-like operations. During 2022, some of the worst atrocities and state terrorism took place in IOJK. More than 300 innocent Kashmiris, including women and children, were killed in fake encounters and staged cordon-and-search operations, 750 Kashmiris were critically injured, 2,770 innocent Kashmiris were arbitrarily detained, and 922 houses were destroyed as part of collective punishment inflicted on the Kashmiri communities. Such inhuman actions are not only in violation of the UNSC resolutions on Children and Armed Conflict but are also in breach of the best interests of the child principle under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a state party. The worsening situation and increased attacks against children in IOJK, call for the Security Council’s intervention by holding India accountable for its grave breaches of international humanitarian law and war crimes in IOJK.
According to the UN Secretary General’s latest report, the overall number of grave violations remained alarmingly high at 26,425. These violations include the continued killing and maiming of children, the recruitment and use of child soldiers, sexual violence and abduction, attacks against schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. The report further revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated difficulties in the protection of children affected by armed conflicts, with humanitarian agencies finding it hard to conduct their work safely. Despite persistent concerns raised by multiple Special Rapporteurs and Mandate Holders of the Human Rights Council and experts on Children and Armed Conflict, the human rights and humanitarian situations continue to deteriorate for the innocent children of IOJK since Aug 5, 2019. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is an unresolved agenda of Britain and a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. Both the parties acknowledged the disputed status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the UN Security Council resolutions of August 13, 1948, and to which on January 5, 1949, both the two countries are considered a party. UN resolutions are remained operative and cannot be unilaterally disregarded by either party. As agreed in the UN Security Council resolutions peaceful and bilateral negotiations would be made between India and Pakistan over the future status of Jammu and Kashmir. It, therefore, entails a fair, free, and internationally supervised plebiscite that should be aimed to secure the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. The current status shows both positions on Kashmir, as, Pakistan is, in the favour of UN plebiscite as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK) are going through an ordeal and oppression due to massive human rights violations by Indian security forces. Kashmir is the most violent and volatile conflict zones between – India & Pakistan in South Asia. The conflict becomes more fragile when the stakeholders are nuclear-armed because it certainly risks regional and international peace. The continuing curfew in Indian-held Kashmir in the backdrop of revoking Article 370 and 35(A) on 5th August 2019, heavy military presence, media blackout, kidnapping of young boys, brutal patterns of violence, and suppression of masses’ voices have ignited a wave of protest and condemnation from the global community, which is emphasizing on a peaceful and sustainable resolution of long-standing Kashmir conflict.
The world community is not only showing criminal indifference to the humanitarian crisis in IOJK and the illegal Indian action to annex the territory but is also looking the other way on the anti-Muslim actions of the Modi regime within India.
Through cost-benefit analysis, one may get to know about the cost and observe what India and Pakistan are costing from their active engagement in conflict. Since 1947 several proposals for the Kashmir conflict are being offered by analysts aiming to reach a resolution. The Kashmir conflict needs a sustainable resolution. The international community is responsible for sustaining world peace and resolving conflicts between and among the states, thus, succumbs to influencing the parties, India and Pakistan for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict. Nonetheless, leading the Kashmir conflict in the right direction is essential, only defining structural ways does not seem enough for the resolution. Therefore, a certain framework needs to be made that must be mutually agreeable by the parties. Its evidence proved that Kashmiris are not satisfied with the Indian illegal control of Kashmiris, therefore, causing frequent protests in the area. The abrogation of Articles 370 and 35(a) has further worsened the situation in Kashmir and one can see strong reactions from the international community also. It is high time for India to look into its domestic policies vis-à-vis its minority, especially the Muslims. The world community is not only showing criminal indifference to the humanitarian crisis in IOJK and the illegal Indian action to annex the territory but is also looking the other way at the anti-Muslim actions of the Modi regime within India. First, it deprived 1.9 million Bengali Muslims who were residing in Assam for decades before partition, and now through the new citizenship bill which denies Muslims the right to citizenship. The bill which has racist and xenophobic connotations has already triggered protests in several states of India. Regrettably, the UN is not in a position to play any positive role without the support of the pro-Indian powers enjoying veto power. February 5 symbolizes Pakistan’s deep-rooted relationship with Kashmir. Every year, this day revives the cultural, religious, and geographical proximity the valley enjoys with Pakistan. The pro-Pakistan sentiment in Kashmir is neither dead nor diminished, it’s suppressed and the reasons are rooted in the conditions we are going through since 1990. Our young generation should be educated about the importance of Kashmir Day. On this day, all schools should remain open and school children should be taught that Kashmiris have been struggling hard to get their right to self-determination under the UN resolutions for the last seven decades. Because of its very weak case on the disputed valley, India terms it a bilateral dispute and avoids internationalizing the issue. Right from 1990, India says Kashmir is an issue of cross-border terrorism. No matter what, the Kashmir issue remains an international dispute today. The day reminds the Kashmiris that Pakistan has not left them at the mercy of circumstances. Thus talks with India have to be on equal terms without giving unilateral concessions to New Delhi. In view of these serious concerns, the UN Security Council must act immediately to stop India’s such practices and take preventive measures to protect Kashmiris, especially children, including by ending the use of pellets against children in IOJK. Whatever the causes of modern-day brutality towards Kashmiris especially children, the time has come to call a halt. These acts must end, and perpetrators must be held to account. Pakistan for which Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition will and must continue to persist with its moral, political, and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle in IOJK as long as it does not succeed.