India’s ‘Palestinization’ of ‘occupied Kashmir’
India’s decision to strip statehood from a disputed section of Kashmir has nothing to do with “administrative efficiency” and “socioeconomic development.” Instead it is an attempt to subjugate the will of the Kashmiri people under Indian occupation and deny them the right to self-determination provided by the UN Security Council — a situation eerily similar to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupying forces.
Facts cannot be masked by propaganda. International law cannot be changed by unilateral and imaginative interpretations.
Since 1948, when India took the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to the UN, the Security Council has adopted 11 resolutions on the subject. These have made clear the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir under international law. The resolutions also prohibited any change to the “disputed” status of Jammu and Kashmir either by the parties to the conflict or by the so-called “constituent assembly of the Indian-occupied Kashmir.”
The Security Council resolutions make clear that the only solution to the Kashmir dispute is a free and fair plebiscite overseen by the UN.
This was also accepted by India. The president of the Security Council, in a letter written to India and Pakistan, said that “members of the Security Council, at its 548th meeting held on May 29, 1951, have heard with satisfaction the assurances of the representatives of India that any constituent assembly that may be established in Srinagar is not intended to prejudice the issues before the Security Council.”
There have been numerous statements by Indian leaders accepting the above-mentioned facts. In a broadcast on Nov. 3, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru said: “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given to the people of Kashmir and to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it.”
Yet this is exactly what India has done.
Previous attempts by India to change Article 370, which gives Kashmir special status, were thwarted by India’s own judicial institutions. In October 2015, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir ruled that Article 370 cannot be “abrogated, repealed or even amended.” This view was also reaffirmed by a decision given by the Indian Supreme Court on April 3, 2018. These decisions explained that “clause (3) of the article conferred power to the State’s Constituent Assembly to recommend to the president on the matter of the repeal of the article, and that since the Constituent Assembly did not make such a recommendation before its dissolution in 1957, Article 370 has taken on the features of a “permanent provision.”
Pakistan has always stood by the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people. It will continue to do so with everything at its disposal.
Dr. Bilal Ahmad
The facts are clear. The laws are plain. Occupied Jammu and Kashmir was never an “integral part” of India. Therefore, the claims that revocation of Article 370 is an effort to “integrate” Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir into India are outright violations of international law.
The truth is that for the past seven decades Kashmiri people living under Indian occupation have been striving for the right to self-determination given to them by the UN Security Council — a struggle supported by the 53 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). During this time, the Indian policy in Kashmir has been to brutally suppress this just struggle.
Claims that the revocation of Article 370 is intended to bring socioeconomic benefits to Kashmir fall flat in the face of history and facts. Indian atrocities have been laid bare in the two recent reports issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. These tell a sorry tale of draconian laws, brutal suppression, murder and rape.
The use of pellet guns and, recently, cluster munitions on unarmed Kashmiris bring to mind the cruel oppression of Palestinians. India does not allow any neutral fact-finding mission in Kashmir. What is it hiding? Perhaps the graves of 95,422 Kashmiri Muslims and the rape of 11,126 women since 1989.
India is not interested in the development and progress of occupied Kashmir. The only thing it wants is permanent occupation.
New Delhi’s vision of Kashmir’s “progress” is there for everyone to see — the house arrest of Kashmiri political leaders, no telephone communication, no media coverage, the deployment of more than 700,000 troops, and a total blackout on state terrorism over hapless Kashmiri Muslims.
Pakistan has always stood by the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people. It will continue to do so with everything at its disposal. The status of Indian-occupied Kashmir is not an “internal” matter of India. It has been a story of Indian genocide of Kashmiri Muslims in an occupied territory. But the resilient Kashmiri people will never be subjugated by such moves. They look to more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide for support.
• Dr. Bilal Ahmad is a Pakistani diplomat at the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh.