By Salim Bokhari
The entire Pakistan nation in particular and the majority of the Muslims across the world are united to support the cause of Kashmiri people for the right of self-determination as was envisaged in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions passed over seven decades ago.
It was India that took the issue to the world body. Since then the world community has not done anything in this context leaving the Kashmiri people to continue to suffer at the hands of the occupying Indian armed forces.
Successive regime in Pakistan could only do lip service to this national issue that gained significance when Father of the Nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared Kashmir as jugular vein of Pakistan
The successive regime in Pakistan could only do lip service to this national issue that gained significance when Father of the Nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared Kashmir as a jugular vein of Pakistan. Despite the fact that India and Pakistan fought three wars, yet no solution to this sensitive issue could be found with which the peace in the South Asian region is linked. Indo-Pak despite being nuclear powers stood, on many occasions, eyeball-to-eyeball threatening peace, yet no lasting solution of the conflict could be worked out.
The world community has not done anything in this context leaving the Kashmiri people continue to suffer at the hands of the occupying Indian armed forces
India, on the other hand, has, all along, been running away from any negotiated settlement using one pretext or the other. Simla Agreement or Lahore Declaration both failed to persuade either the Congress or the Bhartiya Junta Party to come to the negotiation table. Not only this, India has, over a period of time, rejected all offers made by world leaders to mediate. The latest offer was made by US President Donald Trump not once but twice. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan readily accepted the initiative but Indian Premier Narendra Modi did not bother to respond.
The Kashmir conflict to which India claims, it is a bilateral issue, and Pakistan has always maintained that this being on the UN Security Council agenda was an international issue. It is painful and all Muslim representative bodies including the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) hardly did anything to serve the cause of the Kashmiri population.
Domestically, the National Assembly’s Kashmir Committee constituted decades ago miserably failed to reach out to world capitals and convince their leadership to raise their voice in support of the innocent Kashmiri nation. Although it is now hoped that bringing in a capable person like Syed Fakhar Imam as the Chairman of the committee, efforts would be made, on war-footings, to serve the cause of Kashmiri people.
The issue of the Kashmiri nation came to the highlight, all over again, when Prime Minister Imran Khan stood at the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly in September last and spoke with conviction and was heard by the representatives of the world community in pin-dropped silence.
“I picture myself in Kashmir, locked up for months; Hearing about rapes, the Indian army is doing around. Would I live with this humiliation? You are forcing people towards radicalisation. When people lose the will to live, they pick up guns”, with these words, he showed the mirror to the world about events in Indian occupied Kashmir.
The issue of the Kashmiri nation came to the highlight, all over again, when Prime Minister Imran Khan stood at the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly spoke with conviction.
Premier Imran Khan went on to say: “I am not threatening here about nuclear war; it is a worry. It is a test for the United Nations. You are the one who said Kashmir’s right to self-determination. This is the time when you, the United Nations, must urge India to lift the curfew; to free over 13,000 Kashmiri people who have disappeared”.
Except for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, no one has ever spoken in such categorical terms at the United Nations. For this Imran Khan deserves full credit. His brilliant, strongly-worded speech at the United Nations needs a well-planned and well-thought-out diplomatic offensive. Kashmir Committee should be given free hand to send delegations to important world capitals comprising of diplomats, politicians, members of the parliament, retired generals and judges. The primary task assigned to them should be to highlight Indian atrocities unleashed against the Kashmiri people following the action of the Modi Government on August 5 last year, revoking Article 370 and scrapping of Article 35-A. This unlawful action of the Indian government is being termed as formal annexation of the disputed territory.
The most heartening development is that the whole nation stood behind their Kashmiri brethren in this testing time. Some un-necessary criticism was unleashed by the Opposition leaders. But due to continued efforts of the PTI government and above all by Imran Khan have silenced these voices.
Meanwhile, the role played by Iran, Turkey, China, and Malaysia is enviable. Like always, these countries stood firmly behind Kashmiri Muslims. Iran went to the extent of passing a resolution in the parliament condemning India atrocities in the occupied valley. Friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates need to be persuaded to extend their support for Kashmiri Muslims who are looking towards the leadership of Muslim Ummah.
Some experts of the South Asian regional issues think that the Intifada, started indigenously by the Kashmiri Muslim in the held valley in 1989 and re-strengthened in the 1990s that produced freedom-fighters like Burhan Muzzafar Wani was nearing its logical end. The All-Party Hurriyat Conference believes that India is no longer in a position to keep millions of Kashmiris as a slave and continue to deprive them of their right to the liberation of their motherland.
With its un-parallel state terrorism in occupied Kashmir, India stands fully exposed and the international community is fully cognizant of the situation that is why voices are being heard in the European Community Parliament and State Department against Modi Government’s actions like the siege of the Valley where people are suffering a shortage of foodstuff and essential items of daily use. They are not allowed to perform their religious rights since mosques have been sealed.
The most important question is that why is India paying such a heavy cost by holding on to people who do not want to stay with it. Why is India not holding the plebiscite that is committed in the UN Security Council providing an opportunity to them to make their choice? Some diplomats are of the view India fears that if Kashmiris get freedom, it will pave the way for the dismemberment of India where more than two dozen separation movements are going on including, Khalistan, Mizoram, Niksalites besides many others.
It is incumbent upon Pakistan’s print, electronic and social media to shift their focus to the cause of the innocent Kashmiri people and project their liberation struggle across the world. Similarly, overseas Pakistani must join their ranks and organize demonstration in important world capitals and highlight the Indian atrocities and criminalities imposed on the un-armed population of the occupied territory.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Salim Bokhari is one of the most senior journalists of Pakistan and his career in English Journalism is spanning over 46 years. He has been the Editor of Daily “The Nation”, Daily the “News International Pakistan” and Daily “The Sun”.