(Clockwise) Activists of the Peoples Democratic Party scuffle with the police during a protest in Jammu on Thursday to mark the second anniversary of the Indian government’s move to strip occupied Kashmir of its special status. Ghulam Mohideen, a shopkeeper in Srinagar, shows locks broken by the police. Indian policemen patrol near a market during a strike. An elderly man pedals his bicycle through a closed market during the strike. Mehbooba Mufti (centre), a former chief minister of India-held Kashmir, and her party’s supporters march on a street in Srinagar.—AP / AFP
(Clockwise) Activists of the Peoples Democratic Party scuffle with the police during a protest in Jammu on Thursday to mark the second anniversary of the Indian government’s move to strip occupied Kashmir of its special status. Ghulam Mohideen, a shopkeeper in Srinagar, shows locks broken by the police. Indian policemen patrol near a market during a strike. An elderly man pedals his bicycle through a closed market during the strike. Mehbooba Mufti (centre), a former chief minister of India-held Kashmir, and her party’s supporters march on a street in Srinagar.—AP / AFP

ISLAMABAD: Reaffirming Pakistan’s abiding commitment to the Kashmir cause, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday again urged the international community, including the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), human rights organisations and the global media, to hold India accountable for killing innocent Kashmiris and denying their right to self-determination.

“We will continue to extend all possible assistance to Kashmiris till the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination and a just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” he said in his message on Youm-i-Istehsal (Day of Exploitation) observed throughout the country to mark the second anniversary of annexation of occupied Kashmir by India.

A number of events were arranged in all major cities, including the federal capital, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to express solidarity with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in the wake of atrocities being committed by the occupation forces, especially after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A.

“Today marks two years since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, in IIOJK,” the prime minister said, adding that these actions were followed by unprecedented military siege, and restrictions on fundamental rights and freedom of the Kashmiri people to perpetuate Indian occupation in the occupied territory. “Yet, India has failed to break the will of Kashmiri people,” he added.

Nation observes Kashmir Exploitation Day; events arranged in major cities and AJK to express solidarity with Kashmiris

Mr Khan pointed out that the Kashmiris faced unabated extra-judicial killings, custodial tortures and deaths, arbitrary detentions, burning and looting of houses to inflict collective punishment, and other worst forms of human rights abuses.

“India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, and subsequent measures, particularly pertaining to domicile rules and land ownership laws, are aimed at changing the demographic structure of IIOJK and converting the Kashmiris into a minority in their own land,” he added.

The prime minister said those measures were in blatant violation of the international law, including the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention. “Pakistan, the Kashmiris and the international community forcefully rejected these steps,” he said.

According to Mr Khan, the criticism and censure of India’s illegal actions in IIOJK by a number of international organisations, including the UN, OHCHR and European Parliament, international media, various human rights experts and human rights organisations, were well documented.

“All the unilateral and illegal actions taken by India in IIOJK, from the outset, the measures initiated on and after August 5, 2019, and any additional unilateral changes that India may introduce in the future, are violations of international law .... and ipso facto null and void,” the prime minister maintained.

OIC delegation

During a meeting with a visiting delegation of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) led by Dr Saeed Al-Ghufli, the prime minister said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and in Palestine was a “huge injustice of history” and it was important for the OIC and the world to take steps to correct it.

The IPHRC delegation’s meeting with the prime minister was a significant development as it coincided with the completion of two years of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019. The delegation is on a visit to Islamabad and AJK in compliance with the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers’ mandate to assess the deteriorating human rights situation in IIOJK.

The prime minister expressed grave concern over the egregious violations of human rights in IIOJK which had assumed alarming proportions during the last two years.

Mr Khan said the people of IIOJK, demanding their inalienable right to self-determination promised to them under numerous UNSC resolutions, were being brazenly brutalised, extra-judicially killed, injured, maimed, tortured and arbitrarily detained.

The indiscriminate use of pallet guns had resulted in the mass blinding of Kashmiri youth. However, despite using every single tool of oppression, PM Khan said, India had failed to break the will of the Kashmiri people.

Dilating upon the Indian regime’s “Hindutva” ideology, he emphasised that Kashmiri Muslims were being targeted in order to suppress their demand for freedom from Indian occupation and repression. He recalled that as an independent expert body, the IPHRC’s views were based on facts and grim realities existing on the ground.

The prime minister reiterated the urgent need for the reversal of all illegal and unilateral steps taken by India on and after Aug 5, 2019, along with an immediate end to the human rights violations in IIOJK. He also spoke about rising Islamophobia and stressed the need for the Muslim Ummah to make collective endeavours to counter this scourge.

Briefing the OIC delegation, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said torture, rape and sexual violence were employed as instruments of suppression and pellet guns were indiscriminately used, resulting in death, injuries and blinding of the Kashmiris.

“India’s occupation forces enjoy complete impunity under draconian laws such as Public Safety Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Several political leaders, activists, human rights defenders and journalists remain incarcerated even during the pandemic,” he said.

Earlier in his special message on the occasion, Mr Qureshi said Pakistan would not relent in its support until the Kashmiris realise their legitimate right to self-determination. “We express complete solidarity with the people of IIOJK and assure our Kashmiri brothers and sisters that the government and people of Pakistan stand united with them,” he added.

The foreign minister said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan had been on the UNSC agenda since 1948. “It remains an internationally recognised dispute, the solution of which is firmly anchored in the relevant UNSC resolutions in accordance with UN Charter and the wishes of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

‘Inhuman military siege’

Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Bajwa, in a statement released by the ISPR, said that crises in occupied Kashmir resulting from India’s highhanded and unlawful tactics were threatening regional peace.

“Continuation of inhuman military siege, machinations to bring demographic changes and gross violations of human rights and international laws are perpetuating humanitarian and security crises in IIOJK that imperil regional security,” said the COAS.

“Resolution of Kashmir dispute as per UN resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people is imperative for enduring peace and stability in the region,” Gen Bajwa emphasised.

FO reaction

When Pakistan has been warning that the extremely volatile situation in occupied Kashmir can blow up anytime with serious consequences for the entire region, India is claiming normalcy in held Kashmir while flaunting its controversial move as a success.

“Jammu and Kashmir has seen real democracy, development, good governance and empowerment in the last two years. As a result, India’s unity and integrity has been immeasurably strengthened. #NewJammuKashmir,” Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted.

Responding to Jaishankar’s tweet, Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said that contrary to Indian foreign minister’s claims, “the international community has seen the most unprecedented military siege, gross and systematic human rights violations, and curbs on all fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people in IIOJK.”

President Dr Arif Alvi led the Kashmir solidarity rally which originated from the Foreign Office and culminated at the Parliament Hou­se. The rally was also joined by Fo­­reign Minister Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Science and Technology Minister Shibli Far­az, parliamentarians and a large nu­­mber of people from all walks of life.

Addressing the participants of the rally, the president said Pakistan would not hold talks with India unless it rescinded its illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019. “This is a clear narrative of Pakistan until India restores Articles 370 and 35-A of its Constitution that ensures the special status of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The participants of the rally chanted slogans demanding the right for Kashmiris and waved the Pakistani and Kashmiri flags.

Addressing a seminar jointly or­­g­anised by the Human Security Ins­titute and the Parliamentary Com­­mittee on Kashmir in Islamabad, chai­­rman of the committee Shehr­yar Afridi said issuance of around four million new domiciles to non-Kashmiri Hindus by the illegal occupational regime had totally exposed the Indian nefarious designs aimed at turning the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir into a Muslim-minority region.

Talking to reporters after planting a tree in the name of well-known Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sahrai in the lawn of Parliament House building, Mr Afridi said the Kashmir Premier League would be held from August 6 to showcase the talent of Kashmiri youth.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2021



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