“All Kashmir is bleeding, we are still counting dead bodies, but Pakistan’s national anthems are being played on loudspeakers of mosques. For how long people will keep sacrificing their lives on Islam and Pakistan? We are still looking towards Pakistan as our advocate.” These are the words of Aasiya Indrabi, a prominent female Kashmiri freedom leader, after last week killing spree of India when its troops killed at least twenty Kashmiris and injured hundreds in alleged search operations in different parts of Kashmir.
This is happening in the most beautiful part of the world which is considered heaven on earth. Due to its magnificent beauty, Mughal Emperor Jahangir said “If there is Paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this. Kashmir is famous for its beautiful lakes, Flowery gardens, and glorious mountains. But this paradise is now the world’s most densely militarized area which has turned it into Hell. Atrocities by Indian army are spreading havoc in this heaven. It’s crystal clear lake water is now turbid with the blood of innocents, its beautiful flowers are withering in tear gas shells, and youngsters of Kashmir are losing their eyes to see the natural beauty of Kashmir.
More than seventy years have passed since the Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir. During these seventy years, Kashmiris have not lost their heart. They are now much more committed to their right to freedom as they were in 1947. Seventy years long Indian atrocities could not undermine their motivation.
Indian security forces have been given authority to commit human rights violation in the form of Notorious Acts Public Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA). According to them, Armed forces can arrest anyone without any warrant. According to a report by a human rights agency, since 1947, so far more than 200,000 Kashmiris have been killed by the Indian forces, more than 10,000 people are missing, around 22,826 Kashmiri women have been widowed, 10,717 Kashmiri women have been gang-raped and about 107,591 children have been orphaned. Other than this Indian army has damaged a lot of public property in the valley which has harshly impacted the economic conditions of local Kashmiris.
United Nations, whose foundation was laid down for the protection of human rights and promotion of peace and security in the world, is seemed impotent in case of Kashmir which is the oldest unresolved dispute in UN Security Council. Although it has tried to resolve this dispute, it could not succeed due to the hostility of India. In 1948 United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) was formed for the resolution of bilateral disputes. UN has recommended plebiscite in Kashmir so Kashmiris can decide their destiny according to their own will. But due to the stubbornness of India, plebiscite could not be arranged in the valley.
According to international law, freedom is the basic right of every human being. UN declaration of human rights (UNDHR) which was proclaimed in 1948 declares that every Human being has freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and expressions. International Covenant on Civil and political rights also gives emphasis on this. International law also differentiates between freedom fighters and terrorists as Geneva Convention 1949 explains this in common article 3.
Kashmiri freedom movement is totally in line with resolutions of United Nations. They are demanding their most basic right which has been admitted by the world community. India is violating these international laws in Kashmir to suppress the freedom movement in the most brutal manner. Many Kashmiri leaders are jailed by Indian government because they demand their most basic right “The Freedom”. The killing of innocent Kashmiri youngsters in fake encounters is a daily routine.
India is following the footsteps of Israel of using all kind of lethal and non-lethal ammunition on people protesting from freedom. Amnesty International has called for a ban on pellet guns, but in Kashmir, pellet guns are being openly used by Indian troops on crowds which have resulted into the blindness of more than 400 Kashmiri and more than 69 deaths according to Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign (KBSC). Indian atrocities are uniformly affecting people as old as seventy to as young as five years old. Example of Nasir Khan, a five-year-old Kashmiri child, clears all doubts. Indian security personnel grabbed him and inserted a sharp metal object into his left eye. Nasir Khan’s story is one of many.
But the pellet gun is a mere thing for Indian troops who are also using deadly chemical weapons in Kashmir. In July 2017, Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs spokesman Nafees Zakaria claimed that Indian security forces are using chemical weapons to kill Kashmiris and destroy their properties in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK). This accusation was based on the charred bodies of Kashmiri youth found in the debris of five houses destroyed by Indian forces in Pulwama. The bodies were extensively burnt and beyond visual recognition. Such a severe level of burning could only be possible in case of chemical weapons. India and Pakistan are signatories of a convention on chemical and biological weapons (CBW) which prohibits the use of such weapons. By using chemical weapons India is clearly violating international law in this regard also.
Along with these cruelties on native Kashmiris, India is trying to change the demography of Kashmir by constructing housing colonies of Hindu pundits, allocation of vast lands to retired army officers and non-Kashmiris. Pakistan has shown great suspicions on this issue and has written letters to United Nations.
But all these strategies have completely failed to suppress pro-Pakistan sentiments of Kashmiris. Indian army can snatch their eyes but not their dreams. They are still shouting the slogans, Jeway Jeway Pakistan (long live Pakistan) and shrouding their freedom martyrs into Pakistani Flag. Pakistan’s former Army chief Gen. (r) Raheel Shareef had said that Kashmir is an incomplete agenda of sub-continent partition. For regional peace and stability and undermining Indo-Pak hostilities, its resolution is mandatory. Otherwise, chaos in Kashmir can also spread across its borders.