Kashmiris Under Siege: A Call for the World’s Conscience

By repealing the special protections provided by Article 370 and 35A to the Kashmiris through a Presidential Order on August 5, 2019 India clearly gave away its intention to defy the United Nations Security Council resolutions that back Pakistan’s position on Jammu & Kashmir being a disputed territory. The State’s separate Constitution stands abrogated, including the provisions of Article 35A, whereby all provisions of the Indian Constitution are to be applied to the State, even though India doesn’t have the authority to take any unilateral action to alter the status of the State from a disputed territory to a part of the Indian Union. What has been done is no less than a ‘constitutional crime’ by India’s Hindu nationalist BJP as the provision that allows Article 370 to be altered by Presidential Order requires the consent of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir and is therefore void as the assembly was dissolved in 1956. 
Kashmir and Pakistan are inseparable. Quaid-i-Azam called Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan; the fact is that the very basis on which the subcontinent was partitioned justifies Kashmir becoming a part of Pakistan. Apart from the majority of Muslim population and similarity of culture, its major economic, geographical and communication links were with the areas of Western Punjab and NWFP (now KP). Based on these factors, the Maharaja of the State of Jammu and Kashmir signed a ‘Standstill Agreement’ with Pakistan which transferred responsibility for administering certain services in Jammu and Kashmir such as the post, telegraph and railways from British India to Pakistan. However, no such Agreement was concluded between the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the Dominion, a proof in itself that Jammu and Kashmir is integrated with Pakistan, not India.
The complicated provenance of the Instrument of Accession is debatable itself as the fleeing Maharaja signed the document and the Governor-General of India accepted the accession only on the condition that as soon as the law and order was restored in Kashmir, the question of State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people. Clause 7 of the Instrument of Accession declared that the State could not be compelled to accept any future Constitution of India and the State was within its right to decide for itself what additional powers to extend to the Government of India. The unique terms on which Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India were represented by Article 370. By revoking the Article unilaterally without any recourse to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their elected representatives, India has breached those terms. 
Modi’s fascist BJP regime, with the brand of Hindu nationalism that aspires to achieve ethnic purity in India and views it as a fundamentally Hindu country, has clamped down on Kashmir in a brutal and oppressive manner. With the carefully orchestrated communications and travel lockdown, Kashmir has been turned into a giant prison camp while the entire population has been kept uninformed and locked up in their homes. The implications of the State of Jammu and Kashmir losing its flag, criminal code and constitution are symbolic, the real intent is to alter the demography of Kashmir by systematically targeting the Muslims and absorb the territory of Jammu and Kashmir within its borders. 
While the current situation has drawn little to no international opprobrium on the Indian actions, P5 and world institutions are expected to play their role and give their countenance to the Kashmiris given the gravity of the situation. The world has the responsibility to support what is right, assert pressure on India for the resolution in accordance with the UN resolutions and that the Kashmiris get their right to self-determination. 
India’s actions are against the Charter of the United Nations. International Law and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights categorically state the provisions of human rights and security. These rights to life are further secured and protected by 'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights-1948'. 
The informal consultation on Jammu and Kashmir by the UNSC after an interregnum of 50 years represents a clear diplomatic victory for Pakistan. It serves as a reaffirmation that Jammu and Kashmir is disputed and not India’s internal matter. The people of Kashmir should be consulted and engaged in the decision making process as the decision should be based on the will of Kashmiris. 
Persistent lockdown of Kashmir by India and its flagrant violation of the rights of Kashmiris, if not curtailed, has the potential to escalate into a nuclear flashpoint.  The international community must come forward and play its role to put an end to this dispute which is fast shaping as a great human tragedy. The world must compel India to revoke all that is illegal and the future of Jammu and Kashmir should be determined in accordance with the will of people. 
Pakistan’s stance on the latest Indian actions is clear and unequivocal. We stand with Kashmiris in all circumstances and will continue to provide moral and diplomatic support. As COAS said during his address on September 6, “Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of partition and would remain so until it’s resolved as per the UN resolutions and the will of Kashmiris.” Pakistan is and has always been determined to support Kashmiris to the hilt and shall go to any extent to fulfill its obligations in this regard.

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