The Indian government crossed all limits of civilized international behavior by renegading on the international commitments it had made to conduct a fair and free plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir for….
The Indian government crossed all limits of civilized international behavior by renegading on the international commitments it had made to conduct a fair and free plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir for people to exercise their right of self-determination. In international constitutional history August 5, 2019 was a dark day when India revoked Article 370 of its constitution which governed the accession and relationship of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir with India.
This blatant violation of UN resolutions on Kashmir and various international commitment made by India since 1947 are summarily rejected by the people of Jammu & Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and many Indians like former judges, intellectuals, lawyers, minority Hindus, Sikhs, and opposition parties in parliament. India has also unleashed unprecedented repression on Kashmiris by its armed forces, intelligence agencies and goons of the RSS/BJP in a brutal human rights violation of Muslims of the valley.
Despite the curfew, communication blackout, lock-down of Kashmir, repression and arrest of thousands of Kashmiris including three J&K chief ministers who had earlier supported accession by the Maharaja in 1947, the indigenous freedom struggle continues. The International response is either based on principles of justice as expressed by the UN, Turkey, Iran and China or motivated by economic considerations of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and some European countries.
The US president after making a just offer of mediation in his July talks with the Pakistan premier has backed out quietly after the Indian action. The US must prove to Pakistan that the 70 years of friendship and sacrifices it made to stand on the US’s side in world conflicts and its recent efforts to enable US soldiers to return to their families from Afghanistan are not forgotten. It is time for President Trump to act decisively to bring India to honour UN resolutions and get the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right of self-determination in a free and fair plebiscite. Let history judge the current American leadership as responsible and trustworthy friends of democracy with its consequences on the people of America and the world. President Trump will receive tumultuous welcome if he shows courage against the wind and announces unequivocal support to the Kashmiris against Indian tyranny.
The Pakistan government has condemned and rejected the Indian action, downgraded diplomatic relations, stopped trade including transit-trade, discontinued train services, announced raising the issue in world forums especially the UN Security Council, and its chief of the army staff has announced going to any extent in defence of the country. The people of Pakistan, including all political parties, condemn Indian repression of human rights and stand with the Kashmiris.
This Indian unilateralism is in utter disregard to world opinion and human rights. It can weaken the UN if not appropriately responded. Should the world accept it lying or stand up to the challenge of Hindutva? The choice is none other than thwarting such practices to protect world peace and human rights of all, especially standing against the persecution of religious minorities by brute force of majority.
The Indian government has time and again announced resolving all disputes with its neighbours through bilateral negotiations. The recent actions in Occupied Kashmir, even bulldozing its own parliament, are neither bilateral, multilateral or unilateral, but can best be described as opportunism in the interest of the BJP only. Hindutva believes they will succeed in suppressing the freedom struggle and implementing immoral ethnic cleansing, but they are mistaken since the Kashmiris’ indigenous struggle continues at all cost and is bleeding India and its economy. It is time all multilateral forums such as UN, Saarc, SCO and OIC play their due role against human rights violations to save the people of the world.
The government of Pakistan must bring all political forces on one platform to act in unison. Anything short of that will be collective failure and would hurt the Kashmir cause. As top priority, it should bring Gilgit-Baltistan constitutionally at par with AJK so that they put up a united fight in rejection of Indian actions. Pakistan needs to up its ante and announce that in addition to diplomatic, political, moral support to Kashmiris it will help provide humanitarian support too. The people of Pakistan without waiting for the government should respond as they did in 2005 earthquake, and show the solidarity with Kashmiris in material terms too by getting them the food, water, energy, essential goods for survival, continued education through satellite means and medical assistance through all means, including Hilal-e-Ahmer.
No matter what others do to support the Kashmir cause, the Kashmiri diaspora living abroad – especially in the US – should bring into play boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) against India, like the BDS in the US – a Palestinian nonviolent protest movement that urges Israel to end discrimination against Palestinian citizens, withdraw occupation of Palestine territory, and respect Palestinian rights.
The people and government of AJK, as well as Pakistan, should call upon various capitals of the world in support of BDS against India. Crippling of the Indian economy will be death blow to Hindutva forces and bring much-needed changes for civilized behavior in the corridors of power in India. The Indian army must impress upon their government to have saner behaviour for the security of its people and the country. War is no solution to any problem and the worst is a cold war between nuclear-armed neighbours in a challenging region.
The writer is chairman of the WaterEnvironment Forum, Pakistan and former federal minister and senator.