The writer is an
analyst and the
President of all
By Kashif Mirza
Pakistan expressed its strong indignation after the Indian government announced Srinagar as the venue for the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting scheduled to take place from May 22 to 24. India’s decision to host a meeting of Group of 20 (G20) countries in Srinagar, part of Indian-occupied Kashmir, has been slammed by Pakistan and China, which called it an irresponsible move. Pakistan has made no secret about its opposition to holding any G-20 proceedings in Kashmir — a focus of dispute since partition in 1947. China, too, has expressed reservations and may not participate in the G-20 tourism talks. Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the parties concerned need to avoid unilateral moves that may complicate the situation. Efforts should be made to settle the dispute through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain regional peace and stability. In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) while stressing that the Indian government led by Narendra Modi is continuously peddling false propaganda to push the so-called normalcy narrative has reiterated its call for a boycott of the G20 summit in Srinagar. By holding the G20 event in IIOJK, India, in fact, wants to give legitimacy to its illegal actions of 5 August 2019 in the disputed territory. It’s anticipated that India would not be able to achieve the desired attendance since other nations would not compromise on their morals and the critical importance of relevant UN Security Council resolutions for a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations with India after New Delhi revoked the special constitutional status of Kashmir in August 2019 and announced to the integration of it with the rest of the Indian Union. Pakistan has frequently criticized India for rights abuses in Kashmir and says it is changing the demography of the Muslim-majority region. India’s irresponsible move is the latest in a series of self-serving measures to perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir in sheer disregard of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and in violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. Pakistan vehemently condemns these moves. G20 nations should not forget that India is committing serious crimes against humanity in Kashmir, and its summit will not only undermine the UN’s credibility but will also raise questions over the Group’s adherence to democratic credentials. Modi regime is trying to distort truth and twist facts to hoodwink the world into believing everything is normal in the occupied territory. India is attempting to divert attention from the war crimes committed by its security forces in the region and present a façade of normalcy in the IIOJK through an investment conference and now hosting a G-20 Summit. It is believed that the Summit in Kashmir is a ploy to deceive the international community regarding the actual situation in the region. The potential participation of the G-20 nations in the Summit could undermine the credibility of the UNSC resolutions; advocating for the right of self-determination for the Kashmiris, and giving credence to the Indian claims while overlooking the human rights abuses in the region. It is unbecoming of India to host an event in Srinagar which is in a disputed territory. It is very inappropriate, but the way things are, this issue is not taken up as seriously due to Indian importance. It is unfortunate that the Western countries which claim to be champions of human rights choose to ignore India’s decision. They are ignoring the fact that India is playing host in Srinagar, but it is also a major violator of human rights – as well as United Nations resolutions about this region. Kashmir is claimed in full but ruled in part by the two nuclear-armed neighbors who have fought two of their three wars over control of the region. India released a full calendar of events leading up to the summit, which included G20 and Youth 20 meetings in Kashmir’s summer capital of Srinagar and in Leh.
Such events cannot hide the reality of Jammu and Kashmir being an internationally recognized dispute that has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades. For a country that has a grandiose vision of itself and its place in the world, India has once more demonstrated that it is unable to act as a responsible member of the international community. The Himalayan territory of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since they gained independence from British rule in 1947. The two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought three wars, two of which were over Kashmir, which both countries control parts of and which both claim in its entirety.
The G-20 countries must consider that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory under the UN resolutions, and that most of them in the past have endorsed or supported these resolutions. Their visit to the disputed territory will add to the miseries of Kashmiris and reward malignant Indian behavior.
The Kashmir issue further flared up four years ago when India’s Hindu nationalist government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, revoked Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted Indian-administered Kashmir partial autonomy. In August 2019, the Indian government unilaterally abolished Kashmir’s special status; and divided it into two separate union territories – Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir; and Buddhist-dominated Ladakh. The move has eroded the autonomy of the region and has pushed it towards de facto recognition. India’s actions in the IIOJK have drawn widespread condemnation from human rights organizations. The Indian government’s imposition of a communication blackout and curfew in the region has led to extensive human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and instances of torture. Hosting the Summit in the disputed territory is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Article 32 of the Convention prohibits the use of torture against civilians in occupied territory. It states that “The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. The prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, mutilation and, medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.” Article 27 reads that “Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honor, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.” The decision to hold a high-profile Summit in the IIOJK, known for its disputed status, has raised questions regarding New Delhi’s intentions and the ulterior motives behind the move. In tandem, the silence of the G-20 nations on the rampant human rights abuses in the region is a tragedy in itself. The lack of reaction from the international community to India’s selection of Kashmir and Ladakh as G-20 venues could be interpreted as a tacit approval of India’s decision, implying that the region is no longer considered as disputed. The BJP government – fixated on Hindutva ideology, with Narendra Modi at the helm, appears determined in exploiting the G-20 Summit to advance its own geopolitical and domestic political objectives. This act is believed to be a move towards promoting the dangerous settler colonialism project, which entails the displacement of Kashmiris and the unlawful occupation of their land. The recent display of posters in Srinagar was to raise awareness among G-20 nations regarding India’s motives behind the Summit. Modi’s first axe fell on Kashmir and its Muslim character. On 5th of August 2019, the Hindutva government abrogated Articles 370 and 35 A of the Indian Constitution stripping away the special status to the province and paving the way for a constitutionally sanctioned ethnic cleansing and socio-political disempowerment of the Muslims of Kashmir. This brazen constitutional assault not only violated the political and constitutional guarantees but was also in contravention to United Nations resolutions that recognized the people’s right to self-determination. This unwarranted act also violated the bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan and will have far-reaching effects on the people of the territory. This sustained and targeted assault on Kashmir has resulted in the near-total alienation and estrangement of the people of the Kashmir valley from the Indian state and people. Even the people of Jammu, the majority of whom are Hindus, feel disempowered because of their serious concerns over economic and educational losses as well as the new domicile rules, they seek to change the demographic character to dilute the nature of the dispute. Despite serious and continued human rights violations the people continue to pursue the cause of their freedom and the right of self-determination. The BJP government has been incessantly misleading its voters and the international community by playing the hoax of peace and stability in the region.
The G-20 countries must consider that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territories under the UN resolutions and that most of them in the past have endorsed or supported these resolutions. Their visit to the disputed territory will add to the miseries of Kashmiris and reward malignant Indian behavior. The G-20 countries who strongly believe in civil liberties and fundamental freedoms should rather make India accountable for its war crimes and goad it to resolve the dispute according to the wishes and aspirations of the people. It should also bear in mind that Jammu and Kashmir are sandwiched between three nuclear powers, and leaving it unresolved is a sure recipe for an unimaginable disaster should the situation get out of hand. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must intensify its efforts to expose India’s nefarious designs and ulterior motives behind its planned move to hold the G-20 summit in the UN-recognised disputed territory. India wanted to dilute Kashmir’s international and legal status, and strengthen the notion that Kashmir was nothing but an internal matter. There is an urgent need for a mega diplomatic offensive by Pakistan in the UN, and other regional and international fora, to expose India’s nefarious designs and its ulterior motives behind the meeting in Indian-held Kashmir. India’s illegal action of August 5, 2019, was a gross violation of human rights, and the international community, especially the UN, should take notice. Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political, and diplomatic support for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.