Over hundred youth have lost they one or both eyes due to the pallet shooting terror. Indeed the Kashmir inferno continues unabated. Pakistan gave a shut-up call to India saying it has no right to decide the future of Kashmir. Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said, on July 24 that the “verdict on the future of Kashmir” can only be given by the “people of Kashmir not by the external affairs minister of India”. UNSC has promised them the right to determine their future. These comments came after his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj accused Islamabad of an ‘unabashed embrace of terrorism’ and warned its stated goal of detaching Kashmir from India ‘will not be realised to the end of eternity’. Sushma’s diatribe was targeted directly at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who told a rally in Azad Jammu and Kashmir that the occupied Kashmir would soon become part of Pakistan.
Sushma said: “All of Kashmir belongs to India,” as the Indian forces continued to unleash a wave of terror in held Kashmir. Apparently disturbed over the recent upsurge in freedom movement in occupied Kashmir, the Indian external affairs minister repeated same untenable stance on the disputed territory which the Kashmiri people themselves have over and over again rejected. During the preceding week, Pakistan has protested against India in the United Nations and elsewhere against the blatant violation of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Indian government cannot ignore the fact that over 200,000 Kashmiris participated in the funeral prayers of Burhan in 50 different locations throughout IOK, despite strict curfew clamped in the Valley.
The way and the scale at which Accession to Pakistan Day and Black Day were observed, World-wide, on July 19& 20 has sent a loud and clear message to India as well as to the international community that there is no escape from meaningful dialogue on Kashmir dispute and its resolution.
Washington Post reported on Aug 21 that government forces in the IOK forcibly removed dozens of black and Pakistani flags hoisted by residents observing the black day.
The commitment and the will of the Kashmiri people is more than apparent; it is time for the Pakistani leadership to reciprocate the same passion. Kashmiris are pursuing a struggle for freedom, dignity, and respect. Opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah has alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s personal relationships with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi was damaging Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue; and that PM’s silence on the Kashmir issue was beyond comprehension; he urged the government to use all diplomatic channels to stop Indian aggression against the Kashmiri people.
Unexpected, yet substantial support has come from India itself—from non-government entities. In Chennai, Tamil Nationalist and Periyarist Movements staged a protest in solidarity with Kashmiris while condemning India’s “terror” and “violence” in the disputed valley. Congress President Sonia Gandhi also slammed the Modi government over the unrest in Kashmir, saying: “Recent events are tragic and pose a grave danger to the country. We must ask ourselves, what has driven scores of young people to such levels of violence.” Congress leader Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia called for plebiscite in IOK during his address to Lok Sabha: “In Kashmir today, there is a need for ‘rai shumari.” Even though later, under pressure, he retracted the statement:
IOK media emerged as symbol of defiance. Repressive Indian and IOK regimes responded with ferocity and gaged the conventional and social media, it directed the operators to snap the services of cellular services. In order to put a complete end to the flow of information, government forces raided newspaper offices to seize the copies of newspapers and banned all Cable TV networks in Kashmir valley. Calling it an “attack” on the freedom of the press, Indian Journalists Union protested the clampdown and demanded that it be allowed to function unhindered.
Doctors of IHK exposed the atrocities committed provincial and central reserve police services by stating that all causalities happened because of live ammunition firing and pellet gun injuries; victim received bullets on chest, head and other upper parts of the body. Pellets proved deadly and also causes of loss of vision to many victims. Police was seen attacking ambulance services and Medical store owners are forced by police to shutter down their shops.
There has been abundant support from the International community as well. Besides an offer for mediation, the UNSG has also called for respecting human rights of Kashmiris. The OIC has issued a strong statement condemning atrocities against Kashmiri people and demanding right of self-determination for them. United States has refused to accept the events in IHK as an internal matter of India. China is the latest entrant to the voice of reason and sanity calling for respect to fundamental rights of Kashmiris, stoppage of atrocities and resolution of the conflict through dialogue. The policy statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry is being described as a rare development as Beijing has categorically demanded proper settlement of the issue through peaceful means and end of violence caused by state terrorism.
In New York hundreds of Kashmiri Americans and friends of Kashmir staged a peaceful protest in front of the Indian Mission to the United Nations to express their anguish over the killing of innocent civilians in Kashmir. In Geneva, the Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) has submitted a memorandum to various rapporteurs on UN human rights commission on July 18. Speakers from different parts of the world during a seminar held in Geneva on the sidelines of the 31st session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have condemned the Indian aggression and occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.
Thousands flocked to streets across Pakistan on July 20 to express solidarity with Kashmiris. Rallies and functions were held across Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to draw the attention of the international community towards the burning issue.
Official mindset was articulated by India’s minister of External Affairs MJ Akbar has warned Pakistan against its “self-destructive” path in Kashmir, while asserting that its design against the integrity of India would never succeed. “The tri-colour that was hoisted in Kashmir in 1947 will always fly high in the valley,” Akbar said, participating in the discussion on Kashmir in the Lok Sabha. Pakistan was in great delusion, if it thought that it could always use terrorism as a tool against India. India can tackle the challenge, but Pakistan will not be able to do that, he said, adding “You (Pakistan) are committing suicide.” They should understand that people of Kashmir were basically with India, notwithstanding the present storm.
Conflicts in places as diverse such as Kashmir, Palestine, Burma and sub-Saharan Africa have traumatized generations of young people and many have been dragged into war and radicalization. The key challenge for the United Nations is how we address young people with grievances and prevent them from being engaged in conflict.
However, international community, OIC, UN and UNHRC will not come forward to resolve Kashmir issue unless Pakistan makes the Kashmir issue an important part of its national agenda. Pakistan government has to change its policies regarding India on trade and other matters to make the Indian government realize that we cannot compromise on the killing of innocent Kashmiris.
During the past two years, there have been little signs of the Modi government applying its mind to the Kashmir issue. It has not taken up the larger dialogue which had been initiated by Prime Minister Vajpayee and followed up by Manmohan Singh. A durable resolution of the Kashmir issue requires a settlement between India and Pakistan as well as the people of Kashmir. Modi Government is persisting with its policy of resolving the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through brutal use of force, but this approach has ricocheted and produced exactly the opposite consequences – internationalization of the dispute.