February 2003 News

Another Kashmir Solidarity Day

4 February 2003
The News International

Not Specified: February 5th is observed every year as Kashmir Solidarity Day to express our unanimous and unqualified support to the people of Kashmir whose struggle for emancipation has entered a crucial stage. Like previous years, this year too the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs has finalised various programmes to observe the day in a befitting manner.The programmes have been finalised by the coordination committee to display Pakistan's abiding solidarity with Kashmiris waging the freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir. The day will be observed with an objective to peacefully resolve this longstanding issue and transmit a message to the international community through foreign media in this respect.The day will dawn with special prayers after Fajr for the martyrs of Kashmir, successes of freedom struggle and solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The foreign office will arrange a briefing for all foreign missions in Islamabad on the latest situation in Kashmir and all Pakistani missions abroad will organise similar functions in their respective countries.In the capital, the CDA would organise a 'solidarity walk' at Jinnah Avenue. Kashmir-Yakjehtee show would also be organised at Jinnah Avenue. In the show Pakistani and Kashmiri children would deliver speeches and present national songs. Kashmiri handicraft exhibition at Lok Virsa would also be organised to include playing of Kashmiri songs, a photo exhibition, and display of publicity material.All this has been going on for over a decade but has the Kashmir issue been resolved? The region is still inflicted with violence and terror. The once beautiful state likened to paradise by the Mughul Emperor Jahangir now resembles an excavation site of an unknown barbaric civilisation. The air is filled with the sound of gunshots and explosions. The people of Kashmir seem to have forgotten how the place looked like before the current reign of terror was unleashed. The only thing children do here is listen to their fathers tell them tales of great sacrifices made by their great grandfathers or live in terror of the Indian oppressors. No butterflies to catch, no snowmen to build. No home to go to. How long will this go on? How long is the strife? Kashmir's agony is far from over. No less than 70,000 people have laid down their lives for the cause of freedom since 1989 when open rebellion broke out against Indian occupation. To suppress this struggle, New Delhi has deployed more than 700,000 troops in the limited space of Kashmir where, as noted by Amnesty International and other world organisations, wanton human rights violations and atrocities, including burning of villages, mass rape of women, summary executions and torture, are of routine occurrence. All this is a direct result of India's brazen refusal to give the people of Kashmir their right to self-determination.This is not only unjust and immoral, but is contrary to India's own pledges to the United Nations and to the world community to resolve the Kashmir issue with reference to the people's freely expressed wishes all these from the country which claims to be the world's largest democratic secular state.India's first head of state, Lord Mountbatten, is on record having said on October 27, 1947, that since the 'question of accession (of Kashmir) should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state, it is my government's wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir ... the question of the state's accession should be settled by a reference to the people'.Again, one of India's founding fathers and first prime minister, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose government took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations, told the Indian Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1947: 'In order to establish our bona fides, we have suggested that, when the people (of Kashmir) are given the chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations.'On June 26, 1952, Nehru told Indian parliament, 'If ... the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means; we will not keep them against their will, however painful it may [be] for us.'Against these solemn words and relentless struggle of the people of Kashmir, New Delhi today has only two lame excuses: one, the pledges and the UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir have become outdated; two, what is going on in the Kashmir valley is not a people's revolt but the result of 'cross-border terrorism'. Both arguments are as self-serving as they are laughable.Time cannot abrogate moral values nor invalidate the international community's right to intervene in flash points of conflict arising from denial of freedom and involving tyranny and persecution. We have the recent example of East Timor, where a dispute was settled through a reference to the wishes of the people under UN supervision. Indonesia upheld the people's verdict, however 'painful' it might have been to it.Similarly, the seemingly intractable Palestinian issue showed signs of progress when a Norwegian initiative, later backed by the United States and Russia, resulted in a breakthrough in the long and often futile search for a peace settlement between the Arabs and the Israelis. That Israel is not living up to its bargain and is continuing its atrocities, carnage and systematic annihilation of Palestinians is deplorable. For Kashmir, too, despite more than a half century's lapse, all United Nations resolutions and the Indian leaders' own pledges remain unfulfilled but valid because they are based on the time-honoured values of freedom and inviolability of basic human rights.Kashmir continues to be a flash point of conflict. Pakistan and India have earlier fought two full-fledged wars on Kashmir, and they came close to a third following December 2001's mobilisation of its forces by India and massing them on Pakistan's borders under the plea of combating terrorism. With both the South Asian neighbours armed with nuclear weapons, another conventional war on Kashmir has the potential to turn into a nuclear exchange that could be disastrous not only for South Asia but for the world at large.September 11, 2001 changed the course of history. The formation of the US led alliance to combat terrorism provided the Indians the perfect excuse to turn back on their promise of finding a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue based on the wishes of the Kashmiris. They tried to confuse world opinion by pinning the blame on Pakistan for aiding the 'militants' through 'cross-border terrorism' and labelling the just struggle of the Kashmiris as acts of militancy in a bid to mask their own state terrorism.The time has come to expose Indian duplicity, unmask its terrible crimes against humanity, and show the world its true hideous face.Let us resolve this February 5 that before the next Solidarity Day for the Kashmiris, we would see an end to their misery, rape and torture and the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris would be exercised and they would stand vindicated and take their rightful place in the comity of nations (Insha Allah).

 

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