5th February – the Kashmir Solidarity Day!

The people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir intensified their struggle for securing inalienable right to self-determination in 1989. The mass movement gave sleepless nights to the Indian rulers who came with a heavy hand to crush the popular movement. In a bid to intimidate the general Kashmiri masses, India appointed Jagmohan Malhotra, who was notorious for his anti-Muslim bias and activities in India, as the Governor of the illegally occupied territory on 19 January 1990, dismissing the government of Farooq Abdullah. Immediately after assuming charge, Jagmohan ordered the Indian troops to deal with the freedom-seeking Kashmiris ruthlessly. The troops unleashed a reign of terror across IIOJK and on the night of 20 January, they molested several women in Srinagar during house-to-house searches. As the people came to know about the molestation of the women on the next morning, they took to the streets in the city in thousands to protest against this brutality. The troops massacred over 50 people and injured hundreds others by opening indiscriminate fire on these protesters in Gaw Kadal area. The carnage caused resentment in Pakistan and the ensuing 5th February was declared as a solidarity day across the country. Since then, every year, the day is being observed to express unity with the oppressed people of IIOJK at the state level.

Kashmir dispute

It is a historical fact that India illegally occupied the territory of Jammu and Kashmir by landing its troops in Srinagar on 27 October 1947 in total violation of the Partition Plan of the Indian Subcontinent and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Under the Partition Plan, Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states. Hindu majority areas were to form India and Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and east Bengal were to constitute Pakistan. As per the understanding behind the Partition Plan, the then princely states were given the choice to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their geography and demography. With overwhelming 87% Muslim population, Jammu and Kashmir was a natural part of Pakistan as both shared strong bonds in respect of religion, geography and culture. But, unfortunately, the then Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, announced the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India under a controversial document, Instrument of Accession. Maharaja’s action laid the foundation of the Kashmir dispute. Many observers including prominent British historian, Alastair Lamb, and noted Kashmiri researchers, Abdul Majid Zargar and Basharat Hussain Qazilbash, deny the existence of such a document.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir strongly resisted India’s illegal occupation of their homeland and launched a movement to liberate it from the Indian yoke. Their resilience forced India to seek the help of the world community to get rid of the tough situation. It approached the UN Security Council on 01 January 1948 and the World Body in its successive resolutions nullified the Indian invasion and called for holding of an impartial plebiscite under its supervision to allow the Kashmiri people decide their fate by themselves. Unfortunately, these UN resolutions and the pledges made by Indian leaders remain unfulfilled even after the passage of several decades.

Factors behind solidarity

Firstly, it is a moral obligation of every country to help the Kashmiris who are facing the worst kind of oppression under Indian rule. Secondly, the people of Pakistan have many legitimate and genuine reasons to express solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren as they are tied in strong bonds of religion, geography, culture, aspirations and economy. The Pakistanis and Kashmiris consider the Kashmir dispute as an unfinished agenda of the partition and the liberation struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as an inseparable part of Pakistan Movement. It was the ideological commonality that prompted the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference to pass a resolution in its meeting in Srinagar on 19 July 1947 whereby it was declared that Jammu and Kashmir should become a part of Pakistan. The number of Kashmiris who migrated to Pakistan from IIOJK since 1947 due to Indian brutalities is in hundreds of thousands that shows emotional connection of Kashmiri people with Pakistan. The attachment of the Kashmiris is manifest from the fact that the Valley of Kashmir has been, from time to time, reverberating with the slogans of “Long Live Pakistan” and “We Want Pakistan”. They hoist Pakistani flags on the national days of the country while they observe such days of India as black days.

Pakistan’s support to Kashmir cause

The Pakistani leadership has always represented the Kashmiris’ aspirations. The father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had termed Kashmir as the jugular vein of Pakistan. Prime Minister, Imran Khan, in his virtual address to the UN General Assembly in September 2020 drew world’s attention to the worsening humanitarian crisis in IIOJK after Modi government’s 05 August 2019 illegal move. The Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has repeatedly expressed Pak Army’s support to the Kashmir cause. He has declared that Pakistan is ready to fight till last bullet and last soldier for Kashmir. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry is consistently updating the world leaders on the Indian brutalities in IIOJK. The Pakistan Parliament has passed several resolutions since 05 August 2019, expressing solidarity with the oppressed people of IIOJK and condemning India’s illegal actions in the territory.

Mass uprisings in IIOJK

The people of IIOJK intensified their freedom struggle in 1989 and came to the streets to secure their right to self-determination. The Indian rulers responded with the brute military might but could not subdue the brave Kashmiris. They added a new dimension to their freedom movement while hitting the streets in thousands during mass uprisings in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016. However, Indian forces’ personnel continued using brute force against the peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds of them. Now, the Indian brutalities in IIOJK have increased manifold since 05 August 2019 and Indian troops have martyred 308 innocent Kashmiris till January 31, 2021 while thousands others including Hurriyat leaders and activists remain lodged in different jails. Since the mass uprising triggered by the extrajudicial killing of popular youth leader, Burhan Wani, on 08 July in 2016, besides killing over 1,330, the troops have caused injuries to more than 30,000 people by firing pellets, bullets and teargas shells on protesters. During this period, more than 10,842 people suffered pellets injuries and over 140 of them lost eyesight in both the eyes and 210 in one eye while vision of over 2,500 victims was damaged partially. The troops have also martyred 95,741 innocent Kashmiris, including 7,163 in custody and molested 11,234 women since January 1989 till 31 January 2021.

Modi’s 5th August onslaught

The illegal and unconstitutional actions taken by Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government in IIOJK on and after 05 August 2019 have put the peace of the entire world at stake. Besides imposing unrelenting military siege in IIOJK, the Modi regime has extended several federal laws and introduced new domicile rules in the territory. It has granted domicile status to thousands of non-Kashmiri Hindus including some IAS officers in gross violation of the UN resolutions and the international law. The BJP-led communal government is replacing the Muslim names of important places and departments with Hindu names and plans to construct 50,000 temples to Hinduanise IIOJK. It has initiated the process of delimitation of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies in IIOJK with an aim to give more seats to Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu division. The basic objective behind all these unilateral illegal measures is to convert IIOJK’s Muslim majority into a minority by settling Indian Hindus in large numbers. It is also aimed at damaging the essence of the UN resolutions on the Kashmir dispute and affect the results in India’s favour if New Delhi is compelled to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir in the future.

The BJP regime recently conducted elections for the District Development Councils in IIOJK. The aim of this exercise was to show BJP’s presence in the Kashmir Valley and mislead the world about the prevailing situation in the illegally occupied territory. However, the Kashmiri people expressed their resentment against the BJP as it could win only 3 out of 140 seats in the Valley. This vote against BJP was in fact a vote against the Indian occupation.

Kashmir dispute attracts global attention

Since Modi regime’s move of 05 August 2019, the Kashmir dispute has become the focus of attention at the global level. Pakistan’s strenuous efforts and the grave human rights situation caused by the continued military siege in IIOJK convinced the UNSC to hold its session on Kashmir thrice, first time after the period of over 50 years. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the US President Donald Trump have repeatedly offered mediation to resolve the Kashmir dispute in the wake of heightened tension between Pakistan and India. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, several members of UK Parliament and US lawmakers as well as world bodies including OIC, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have expressed concern over the grim human rights situation in IIOJK. Even the international watchdog, the Genocide Watch in a statement expressed fears of genocide against the Muslims living in IIOJK and the Indian state of Assam.

Conclusion

The observance of the Kashmir Solidarity Day conveys a clear message to India that it would have to recognise the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination as guaranteed by the UN resolutions. It also sends a message to the World Body to fulfill its commitments of holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. In view of Modi regime’s actions to change the demography and disputed status of IIOJK, the solution of the Kashmir dispute has become more imperative for ensuring regional as well as global peace.

By showing solidarity with the people of IIOJK, the government and people of Pakistan give message, loud and clear, to the Kashmiris that they are not alone in their fight for the noble cause of freedom.

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