Youm-e-Istehsal Kashmir: Black Day on both sides of LOC

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In order to express solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiris in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) besieged by India’s decision of 5 August 2019, People on both sides of the line of control (LOC) observed August 05 as Youm-e-Istehsal against Indian act. In August of 2019, there were indications that something was happening in Kashmir. A significant Hindu pilgrimage was postponed, schools and universities were closed, visitors were asked to leave, telephone and internet services were suspended, and local political leaders were placed under house arrest. Tens of thousands of more Indian troops were also deployed. However, the majority of the rumors focused on the possible repeal of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, which granted some unique benefits to the residents of the state. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the administration announced that it was nearly completely withdrawing Article 370, which includes 35A and has served as the cornerstone of Kashmir’s complex relationship with India for around 70 years. Alongside the rescinding of special status, the Indian government has announced that Jammu and Kashmir will no longer be a state but have the lesser status of a union territory – and the sparsely populated region of Ladakh will be split off to become a separate union territory. That will attract a great deal of support in Jammu and in Ladakh but will be deeply resented in the Kashmir Valley.

The Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan has gone unresolved for decades. The bloodshed and violence in this area haven’t stopped since then. The ongoing struggle between insurgent groups, Pakistani forces, and Indian forces has resulted in thousands of fatalities. As a result, the quantity of military personnel and equipment in the area has significantly increased. Domestic terrorism has also been steadily increasing. Kashmiri Muslims have been struggling for their basic human rights for over ninety years. Their struggle has passed through different phases: pre-partition, post-partition, post-Burhan Wani and Post 5th August 2019. The struggle of Kashmiri Muslims has entered a new phase after the abrogation of Article 370 on 5th August 2019 and the recent developments by the BJP-led government in India vis-a-vis occupied territory of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Though, internationalization of the Kashmir conflict has been constantly negated by India, especially after 1972 Shimla agreement between India and Pakistan. India focuses on the first half of article two, subsection two, of the Shimla agreement which states that, “the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations”. India deliberately does not mention the second half which states that “or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.” Here “peaceful means mutually agreed upon” could be referred as the UN, as India itself took the Kashmir issue to the UN. Secondly, in the first sub-clause of article 2, it clearly states that, “the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries.” So, it is misleading on the behalf of India that Kashmir conflict is a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India. On the other hand, Pakistan has been internationalizing the Kashmir issue for over seven decades. But, in recent years particularly in the post 5th August scenario, Pakistan has been proactive on the diplomatic front to highlight Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

On the grounds of SAARC, Pakistan asked to resolve this issue on a regional platform but India denied to talk by saying it is their internal matter, we can talk on terrorism but not on Kashmir at this platform. Apart from SAARC, Pakistan used other forums such as UN, EU, OIC, and SCO as well to highlight this issue. Pakistan took many steps to resolve the issue and even engaged the international community in resolving this as a negotiator. But India has only one claim to be their internal affair. The Former Pakistani government under the patronages of Prime Minister Imran Khan worked hard to resolve the issue. In September 2019 during the 74th session of the General Assembly held in New York, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his deep concern about using the Indian defense force to defeat the people of Kashmir, an ongoing human rights violation and strongly condemned the actions of Modi government. During the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the US, President Donald Trump asked to play the role of mediator over Kashmir, which the Indian government has refused. Pakistan took the matter to the Islamic Conference on anti-secession in Kashmir.

But now, more than ever, the plight of the Kashmiris is being heard. A growing population in both nations wants to put an end to the suffering and death that Kashmir has come to represent. We can only hope that Kashmir will someday be free. Many organisations are working to improve the situation in Kashmir, which is being closely watched on the international stage. Even while the possibilities are still slim, Pakistan must continue to extend its moral, political and verbal support for this cause and must keep this issue alive. The UN should act in accordance with the promise written in the UN charter, as it did in the case of East Timor and South Sudan, then why not in the case of Kashmir.

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