ISLAMABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan, while discussing the revocation of India-held Kashmir’s special status by the Indian government last August, said that “a war has been imposed on us and we will have to fight this war for our existence”.
“This is a war for our sovereignty, for protecting our cultural and religious identity, and the rights of our Kashmiri brothers and sisters,” AJK President Khan said at a web conference on ‘Solidarity with Kashmir during Covid-19 and lockdown effects on Kashmir and Pakistan’.
The conference was organised by National Youth Empowerment and attended by students from Lahore and Sahiwal.Mr Khan said many were still unaware of the gravity of the situation in India-held Kashmir (IHK), especially after Aug 5. He said that IHK, despite being internationally recognised as disputed territory, was divided into two parts - Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir - by the Indian government without the consent of the people living there.
He said as a result, India brought these two areas under Delhi’s direct control, and inadvertently internationalised Kashmir.
“The area now occupied by India is actually a part of Pakistan as its people had wished to accede to Pakistan and despite all efforts of India to coerce them into submission they have rejected their rule and writ,” he said.
Mr Khan said the rights to permanent residence, ownership of property, livelihoods and education – as protected by international law – have been usurped by Delhi.
Since April this year, after the introduction of the new domicile rules, Kashmiris have been made homeless in their own homeland, he said. He added that Hindus from all over India were being allowed to settle in IHK and their domiciles are being prepared in just 15 days on Delhi’s instructions.
Mr Khan added that according to a recent report, more than 13,000 Kashmiri boys have been picked up by Indian forces and imprisoned in prison houses all over IHK and northern India. He said that under the cover of the pandemic, Kashmiris have been killed in staged encounters and cordon and search operations.
“The Kashmiri people are fighting for their lives and this act of self-defence is an inherent right acknowledged in the UN Charter [Article 51],” he said.
Mr Khan said that not only are Kashmiris being targeted, but under the fascist rule of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party regime, Muslims all over India are being lynched and, under the Citizen Amendment Act, are at risk of becoming stateless.
To a question, Mr Khan said that the recent standoff between China and India has exposed the latter’s incapacity to face an equal military power.
“India has never triumphed in a war with an equal. Their experience entails fighting and killing its own people, and that too after disarming them,” he said.
When asked about the role of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the resolution of the Kashmir issue, Mr Khan said that the OIC has supported the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people and Pakistan’s stance on the matter. He added that the OIC has issued strong communiqués on Kashmir condemning Indian actions.
“A convict has become a cop,” Mr Khan added, while referring to India’s entry to the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member.
He said that India has to be removed from that position as grave human rights violations have been documented against it in reports published by leading international human rights organisations, and globally recognised bodies such the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Genocide Watch, and the UK Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, among others.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2020