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What’s Going On in Kashmir Is Not Normal


Kashmiris protest in Srinagar. The essayist, Pakistan’s envoy to the United Nations, notes that it has been four years as of Aug. 5 since India took “unilateral actions to consolidate its occupation” of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. DAWN VIA PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT

As the sun rises over the picturesque landscape of Kashmir, it’s easy to believe that all is well in the region. But beneath the scenic beauty is a harsh and unsettling reality — composed of a military occupation, oppression of the entire population and expression of fear, loathing and anger by the people of Kashmir. The picture that the Indian government tries to paint — of normalcy and development in occupied Jammu and Kashmir — is a myth.

For the last seven decades, Kashmir has been the epicenter of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan in which the people in Jammu are an integral party. To resolve the conflict, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 47 in 1948, and more than a dozen subsequent resolutions, stipulating that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir would be decided by its people through a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the UN. This was accepted by India and Pakistan and, in accordance with Article 25 of the UN Charter, both parties are obligated to implement these resolutions.

But this Saturday, Aug. 5, marks four years of India’s unilateral actions to consolidate its occupation of Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and imposing what India’s leaders have ominously called a “final solution” for Kashmir. To do so, India has resorted to a series of illegal actions, gross and consistent violations of human rights and other crimes that continue to this day.

India increased its military deployment in IIOJK to 900,000 troops right before Aug. 5, 2019. This is the densest occupation in recent history — with one soldier for every eight Kashmiri men, women and children. This massive force has perpetrated a vicious campaign of repressive actions, including extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in fake encounters; custodial killings and “cordon-and-search” operations; use of pellet guns to kill, maim and blind peaceful protestors; abduction and enforced disappearances; and “collective punishments,” with the destruction and burning of entire villages and urban neighborhoods.

This brutal campaign is driven by the ideology of “Hindutva,” which propagates the religious and ethnic supremacy of Hindus and hate against Muslims. Noting this pattern, Genocide Watch has warned that “the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir have been an extreme case of persecution and could very well lead to genocide.”

To suppress the voice of the Kashmiri people, Indian authorities have used censorship and surveillance for decades in the occupied territory. Since August 2019, information control has been fully institutionalized. Journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and the entire Kashmiri political leadership are routinely incarcerated, beaten, humiliated, harassed and even accused of “terrorism” for reporting the human rights violations in IIOJK.

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There is only one normality: the normalization of violence. Generations have grown up witnessing violence, insecurity and trauma. Numerous human rights organizations, international bodies and independent reports have documented use of rape, sexual assault and harassment perpetrated by Indian security forces against Kashmiri civilians, particularly women as a weapon of war. Emergency laws, such  as the 1990-Armed Forces (Special Powers), have  created an environment of  complete impunity for Indian security forces.

To extinguish the ethno-religious identity of Kashmiris, historical sites have been destroyed and damaged. One of the most troubling aspects of the destruction of cultural heritage is the demolition of religious sites, particularly mosques, which inflicts deep emotional wounds on the Muslim population.

In a classic settler-colonial project, India has initiated illegal demographic changes in the occupied territory, grossly violating international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. This is central to its plan to convert IIOJK’s Muslim majority into a Hindu majority territory, to drown out the demand for freedom and self-determination. New “domicile rules” have been introduced, and more than four million fake domicile certificates have been issued to Hindus from across India to settle in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The land and properties of Kashmiris are also being confiscated for military and other official use.

All the measures taken by India in the last four years are blatant violations of international law, including the relevant Security Council resolutions, specifically Resolution 122 (1957). Therefore, all the actions taken by India on and after Aug. 5, 2019 are not only illegal but, ipso facto, null and void.

To justify its occupation and oppression, India has sought for decades, and particularly since 9/11, to portray the Kashmiri freedom struggle as “terrorism.” Likewise, to delegitimize the indigenous Kashmiri struggle for self-determination, India falsely alleges that it is instigated by Pakistan. To expose India’s falsehood, Pakistan has proposed expanded patrolling by the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) along the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir. However, India refuses to allow the UN mission to patrol the line of control and to expand it. Despite numerous attempts, India continues to deny access to Jammu and Kashmir to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN agencies as well as other human rights and humanitarian organizations and international media.

Pakistan desires peaceful relations with all its neighbors, including India. Pakistan has responded with responsibility and restraint to India’s repeated provocations. On the other hand, India continues to resort to aggressive rhetoric and repeated threats of the use of force against Pakistan, even under the nuclear overhang. The onus is on India to create conditions that are conducive for a meaningful dialogue to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. To this end, India must:

• stop all human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir

• halt and reverse its illegal demographic changes there

• reverse the illegal and unilateral measures imposed on and after Aug. 5, 2019

• grant access to international observers, including human rights mechanisms of the UN and international media, to observe worsening human rights situation on the ground

The international community must play a proactive role obliging India to respect the human rights of the people of Kashmir and to work toward a peaceful, inclusive resolution of the conflict. Peace in South Asia will be possible only when the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved. The Security Council and the UN secretary-general must make concerted efforts, as empowered by the UN Charter, to promote a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, according to the relevant UN security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Preventive measures to stop abuses in IIOJK and to promote global accountability is both a moral imperative and a collective human rights responsibility. Millions of Kashmiris have suffered for too long. To end their plight, they demand a peaceful resolution to the conflict. It is time to make peace a new normal.

This is an opinion essay.

We welcome your comments on this article.  What are your thoughts on the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir?

Munir Akram is the permanent representative of Pakistan’s mission to the UN and a former president of the UN Economic and Social Council. He previously served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in New York City from 2002 to 2008, after serving as ambassador to the UN in Geneva from 1995 to 2002.

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What’s Going On in Kashmir Is Not Normal
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Vipul Advani
Vipul Advani
22 days ago

This is one among countless other articles in the media that paint a one sided view of what they call as the Kashmiri freedom movement. Unsurprisingly, most of these are authored by Pakistanis.

So pray, how does one fight for freedom? That, they know not. And care not. The means, the methods, the subterfuges, the violence that have been thrust on India in the name of Kashmiri freedom movement is all forgotten and gets nary a mention in their eloquent, heart rendering portrayal of the “atrocities’ the indian state is supposed to have committed on the defence less, hapless Kashmiris.
They will bombard you with shocking data – more than 500,000 troops, 70,000 killed, etc, etc.
But wait, will they ever present data about how many innocents (including military personnel and police men in duty) died due to terrorist attacks? Those, to them are lives that don’t count. Because this is about freedom fighting. And Pakistanis know only one way to fight for freedom – terrorism. So all the Pakistan sponsored ” freedom fighters ” are angels from heaven, pitted against the merciless Indian military.

I would only urge these self appointed busy bodies and defenders of this so called freedom movement to define What constitutes freedom fighting. If it means bomb blasts, stone pelting, Ambushes and gunning down innocents then you know why the Army is there in Kashmir in those numbers. Until that stops, happy “freedom fighting”!

Ferry de Kerckhove
Ferry de Kerckhove
1 month ago

Always a joy to hear from you and read your comments!
Ferry de Kerckhove, former HC of Canada to Pakistan

Amitava Tripathi
Amitava Tripathi
1 month ago

There is absolutely no need to comment on a litany of lies by the representative of a failed State that had destroyed its own Eastern Wing in 1971 , has actively promoted State – sponsored terror against India for decades on end and has done incalculable harm to the peoples of Afghanistan and Baluchistan.

Dr Mubeen Shah
Dr Mubeen Shah
1 month ago

An article which tells the whole story and nullifies the narrative of india .
India is now reached the stage of “Demographic Terrorism” in #Kashmir & as a #Kashmiri I feel that there will be #Kashmir but without #Kashmiris .

I spoke in an international seminar yesterday in Istanbul . Here is what I spoke “ Demographical Terrorism in Indian occupied Kashmir and our responsibilities

I Welcome all the guests who have come today to show support to us Kashmiris especially from Kuwait as well as from within Turkeya especially members of Parliament from turkeyi.

I thank the organiser which is a constituent member just like our organisation Kashmir House Turkey of Kashmir Diaspora coalition of inviting me as a speaker and before apprising this august gathering about the subject on which I have to speak I would need to put in right perspective that the denial of RightOfSelfDetermination to Kashmiris is the biggest human right violations in Kashmir as every other human right violation flows from that .
The right to self-determination to Kashmiris is an integral element of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Until we get justice i.e. to choose our future, the human right violations in Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIoJK) will continue & now Demographical terrorism is in place .

What is happening under this :

1. Issuing of domicile certificate (About 1 million non-Kashmiris have received domicile certificates which also shows a further 7,346 retired bureaucrats and army officers have also signed up.)
2. Occupying our economic spaces .As per latest information received by me , Indians are focusing on tourist areas like pahalgam. It may be also because that area is a part of the area the Kashmiri Hindus desired to be a part of a separate Homeland for the Kashmiri Hindus in the Valley of Kashmir comprising the regions of the Valley to the East and North of Jhelum River . That plan was scuttled by Kashmiris in 2008 but now after august 2019 it has come in a different avatar . On 28 November 2019, India’s consul-general in New York proposed an “Israeli model” on Kashmir & this appears to be a part of the same model .
3. Latest reports that from 2019 , about 10000 Kashmiri women have gone missing . This could be a massive human trafficking ring run by the Indian evil fascist Modi Hindutva occupation regime to destroy Kashmiri social fabric & is done by the same forces who promote International Yoga Day and make Muslims do yoga exercises in Muslim shrines in Kashmir in their program of cultural genocide. ( unfortunately our islamic countries of OIC also promote yoga which starts with worship of sun ) . Desecration of womenfolk of the occupied nation is the calling card of the evil occupier and has been the way for millennia in such cases & we have videos also calling for marrying Kashmiri women right from 2019 , ( A BJP legislative assembly is on record advocating to go to Kashmir, buy plots of land and get married . )
4. We fear when there will be direct train services between Delhi and srinagar ( planned to be by end of 2023 ) , hundreds of thousands of Indians will flood kashmir and the modus operandi elaborated above will be multiplied multifold
5. Occupied Kashmir is presently ruled directly by Delhi . They have started a scheme where landless people will be given land and loans for housing . The figures touted by the local govt has been shown as 200000 while as the numbers of homeless ‘people’ was 19,047 in 2021 .This means that all others have come from india . All this we feel is a start of by which hundred of thousands of settlers from india will be settled in future to complete the demographic terrorism .
6. The Kashmiris have been silenced by actions on our civil society human right defenders like Khurram Pervaz besides journalists who are in prison like Fahad shah , This all became more pronounced after 5th august 2019 .
7. They killed our resistance icons by keeping them under house arrest or jail with no access to treatment like Sehrai sahib and Gellani sahib . They are now having sinister plans to kill our other Iconic resistance leader like Yasin Malik through their managed justice system in-spite of his conversion from an armed resistance leader to a person who was now leading the resistance in a peaceful manner.

Our responsibility and actions needed keeping the gravity of the problem in view need to be done with no further time lost as we fear that there will be Kashmir but without Kashmiris . The actions needed are :

1. To tell the truthful narrative about this with reasons in every forum whenever we speak on Kashmir and encourage telling our story through things like the song which was released yesterday “Jails of Kashmir” by a turkish our friend MR Tugray Evren .
2. I would take the opportunity of the presence of representatives of the turkish as well as Kuwait Parliament besides civil society members to impress on their government as well as the OIC that Until and unless we go to the main action needed i.e. in the imposition of economic sanctions which is what America and Europe is putting on Russia without any unanimous resolution of the UN while as in our case there is a clear cut resolution not being implemented for the last 75 years. I fear till india does not have an economic cost they will not back out .
3. Pakistan should revoke Shimla Agreement after India re-annexed IIoJK on Aug. 05, 2019 . India changed the status unilaterally & bilateralism has only made us suffer and delayed the implementation of UNSC resolutions .
4. Many even feel Pakistan should allow AJK as a base camp for freedom movement in IIoJK. LoC should mean nothing for people on AJK side.

I conclude with the hope that this conference will give the necessary direction as well as put in place the correct narrative which will achieve for us the right of self determination for which we are waiting for more than 75 years.

Carolyn McAskie
Carolyn McAskie
1 month ago

None of these important recommendations can be implemented until PM Modi has been voted out of power

Ashok Sajjanhar
Ashok Sajjanhar
1 month ago

Pray who are you Madam to determine who should be voted in and out of power in India. It is the prerogative of the Indian people, not of any foreign imperial power that you seem to represent. PM Modi was voted to power with a majority in 2014 and with an even bigger majority in 2019 on the basis of his policies and actions.
India has emerged as the Voice of the Global South. It’s policies have conclusively demonstrated that India’s rise is not only good for itself but also for global peace, security and prosperity.

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