ISLAMABAD (APP) – Azad Jammu Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan has said that India has illegally revoked Articles 35-A and 370 that altered the existing demography of the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) in a move that can be termed as Occupational Constitutionalism.
The BJP led Indian government has created a fake alternative realism but fortunately the international media and numerous world parliaments have not bought this false narrative and instead, it has presented the true picture of the grave situation in IOJK.
The President made these remarks while talking with the students of King’s College London at an interactive session on Kashmir and Human Rights organized by the King’s College Indo-Pak Development Forum. The event was moderated by Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights at King’s College London and hosted by Ameer Hamza Bullo, President of the King’s College Indo-Pak Development Forum, said a press release received here on Wednesday .
The President on the occasion thanked Professor Wintemute and the students present for providing an opportunity and helping open this critical space for discussing such an important issue at the prestigious King’s College London. This interactive session was a one of kind event at the King’s College London where for the first time various dimensions of the Kashmir issue were discussed in such detail. The event was attended by over 100 students from various disciplines.
The AJK President in his opening remarks said that no religion, society or school of thought allows or sanctions the killing of human beings. The situation in IOJK, he said, is not a border issue or a clash between Hindus and Muslims but in actuality, it is a war between humanity and inhumanity.
He added that the situation in IOJK is dire and the world including the UN Security Council continues to remain quiet, proving that the new world order is broken. This silence exists despite numerous reports published by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir which describe in detail the egregious human rights violations taking place in IOJK.
The United Nations – after the Second World War – became the face of the new world order and their mission was simple and concise; to save the world from the scourge of war, never allow genocide to take place and to achieve sustainable development goals for the benefit of all.
President Masood Khan said that the rights of the Kashmiris in IOJK – under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act – are being trampled with impunity as they continue to be killed, blinded, maimed, tortured and illegally incarcerated.
The women, he said are molested and rape is being used as an instrument of war. All these actions are a clear and blatant violation of not only the UN Charter but also numerous international covenants including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Doctors Without Borders has reported that 45 percent of Kashmiris suffer from some sort of stress-related disorders, while the medical journal Lancet has raised serious concerns over the health conditions prevalent in IOJK.
The people of Kashmir aspire for freedom, liberty, dignity and their inalienable right to self-determination, he said. They, he said, wish for peace and security in the region and do not want to be the source of a nuclear flashpoint between the nuclear states of India and Pakistan. He said that the right to self-determination is the most fundamental of human rights and both Pakistan and India are bound to facilitate the holding of a referendum under the auspices of the UN SC.
The AJK President informed his audience that on August 5, India once again invaded, reoccupied and annexed the occupied territory. Furthermore, he said, the Indian government on October 31 bifurcated the region into two parts laying the foundation for the colonization of the territory by issuing false maps redefining the boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
IOJK, he said, is now under colonial rule, foreign occupation and alien domination. All these steps are a clear violation of the principle of uti possidentis juris, the relevant human rights treaties and conventions including Articles 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, its Additional Protocol and ICC Statutes, he said.
All these moves, he said, were being taken to reduce the Muslim majority in the region into a minority by adopting a policy of settler colonialism and erasing the unique identity of the Kashmiri people. He added that India has over the years instrumentalized and weaponized the death of 219 Pundits and the “forced” exodus of 100,000 more as an excuse to reshuffle the demographic composition of IOJK. The Pundits said, are a part of the social and political fabric of Kashmir.
President Masood Khan said that the Indian government has now argued that the August 5 steps were taken to usher in a new era of development and to counter-terrorism in IOJK, which it blames on Pakistan. The President categorically stated that there is no cross border terrorism and there are no terrorist training camps in AJK.
He said that Indian authorities have themselves claimed that the Line of Control is heavily monitored and any cross border infiltration is not possible. Senior police official Dilbagh Singh has admitted that the total number of “militants” in IOJK is between 200 to 300. Despite this low number quoted by the police chief, a staggering 900,000 troops have been deployed in IOJK making it the most militarized region in the world.
Masood Khan said that India in its war frenzy claims to “retake” Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian PM has even gone a step further by threatening Pakistan with the use of nuclear weapons. “India will have to realize that use of nuclear is a double-edged sword and eventually no one is a winner at the end of a nuclear war”, he said. Apart from that, he said, nuclear fallout has far-reaching health and environmental consequences and any misadventure by India would not favour them, Pakistan or Kashmir.
The address was followed by an interactive question and answer session. The President while responding to various questions said that the Kashmiris have been made pariahs to the Kashmir dispute as India under the pretext of bilateral talks have gone to the extent of excluding them from any talks. He added that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is not a bilateral issue but is rather a quadrilateral issue.
The key parties to the dispute are Pakistan, India, the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the United Nations. UNSC resolutions, he said, have called for a referendum as defined in their elaborate mechanism and if for any reason the existing mechanism is not executable then the UN under Article 6 of its Charter may engage in further deliberations and use prescribed pacific means to resolve the issue.
Speaking directly to the students, the AJK President said that as future leaders, they must steer the world back to a value-based system and restore world order. He urged them to save Kashmiris from repression and as a catalyst of change encourage dialogues and debates on Kashmir in order to avert a clash of civilizations and activate mechanisms for achieving a lasting and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Professor Robert Wintemute said that the human rights violations taking place in IOJK are inexcusable and these gross violations should be brought to an end. Terming the Kashmir issue as the unfinished agenda of partition, he called for a lasting and peaceful resolution of the dispute.
President Masood Khan invited the participants to visit Azad Kashmir and see for themselves the situation on the ground. He added that we have received delegations from the British Parliament, European Parliament, ASEAN Parliament, while military attaches and diplomats stationed in Islamabad frequently visit AJK. “We have lots to showcase and nothing to hide”, he said.