By Hamid Waheed
Kashmir has historically remained independent, except in the anarchical conditions of the late 18th and first half of the 19th century. Until 1846, Kashmir was part of the Sikh empire. At the time of independence of Pakistan, people of Kashmir were demanding to join Pakistan. The Maharaja, fearing tribal warfare, eventually gave way to the Indian pressure and agreed to join India by, as India claims, ‘signing' the controversial Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947. Kashmir was provisionally accepted into the Indian Union pending a free and impartial plebiscite. This was spelled out in a letter from the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, to the Maharaja on 27 October 1947. In the letter, accepting the accession, Mountbatten made it clear that the State would only be incorporated into the Indian Union after a reference had been made to the people of Kashmir. Having accepted the principle of a plebiscite, India has since obstructed all attempts at holding a plebiscite.
Pakistani governments as well as the Pakistani people have always stood by their commitment on issue of Kashmir. Pakistan’s domestic as well as foreign policy has always been directed towards resolution of Kashmir issue as per the aspirations of Kashmiri people. On the contrary, India has always denied the right of freedom to the innocent Kashmiri masses and tried to suppress their voice through extra judicial/mass killings, arbitrary arrests, ruthless and inhuman torture and sexual molestation using the instrument of Indian security forces. According to statistics, in last twenty years 93, 714 innocent Kashmiris have been martyred, 1, 07,436 children orphaned, 10, 021 women raped and 6, 989 Kashmiri have been killed in custody. The evidence of unidentified mass graves in Kashmir is yet another dark chapter of human rights violations in IOK. In defiance to all international humanitarian laws, India is still continuing with its oppressive policies.
Ironically, human rights are violated on large scale in the so-called world’s largest democracy. To crush the Kashmiri Liberation movement, India has employed various techniques including black laws. Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act 1990 (TADA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990, (AFSPA) are enforced in Kashmir despite the fact that they contravenes the Indian Constitution and international law. POTA empowers the authorities to hold the accused in detention for a period of 180 days without filing a charge sheet. The burden of proof lies on the accused and the prosecution can withhold the identity of witnesses. It also makes confessions made to the certain level of police officer admissible as evidence. POTA empowers the public prosecutor to deny bail. It is not only limited to Kashmir but the Indian state atrocities against poor, lower class and non Hindu Indians continue under silent Indian media but conscience Indian writers along with human rights organizations keep raising their voices whenever they can. In an article by Arundhati Roy titled “Walking with the Comrades”, she exposes the real face of world‘s largest democracy. How thousands of innocent citizens are being ruthlessly killed in the name of so called development. Maoist, the forgotten people of India are killed and humiliated under ‘Operation Green Hunt’, using sophisticated weapons and equipment (i.e laser range finder, thermal imaging equipment and unmanned drones) bought from Israel to kill its own poor Gondis (tribesmen). Arundhati explained during her journey to the land of Gondis, how government owned training camps are established to turn street dogs into monster to hunt poor Gondis. India-Israel nexus and Israel’s rogue role in world politics is no more a hidden factor, expulsion of her diplomat by UK on involvement in Hamas leaders murder is a recent example. Around 60,000 peoples are forced to leave their homes and live in Xray camps. Girls and children living in hostels are not allowed to leave because state uses them as human shields. Many industrial tycoons like Tata and Essar are financing the government operation in order to attain mining contracts. Arundhati questions “When a country that calls itself a democracy openly declares war within its borders, what does that war look like? More so when they are not terrorists”. Under article 2 of resolution 260 (III) ‘A’ the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Indian state actions fulfill all qualifications to be termed as state sponsored genocide and terrorism.
The world leaders also recognize the importance of Kashmir for the peace in the region. David Miliband, UK FM, commenting on the present war on terror said, "Although I understand the current difficulties, resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms, and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders," Observance of 5th February stands as a milestone which signifies that Kashmiris are not alone in their genuine struggle for the right of self- determination. It is the masses of Pakistan and saner elite in world community who stand as a firm support behind the Kashmiri for their just cause till they get their right to self determination and Kashmir issue is resolved as per their wishes. The founder of Pakistan M. Ali Jinnah said “Kashmir is the Jugular vein of Pakistan and no nation or country would tolerate its Jugular vein remains under the sword of the enemy”.