The besieged Kashmir valley has long been echoing its struggle of self-determination, but all in vain. This ‘paradise on Earth’ has remained an unfinished agenda of the partition of Sub-Continent where Indians and Pakistanis regard it as their ‘delicate part’ and ‘jugular vein’ respectively.
Along with three major wars between India and Pakistan and Kashmiris aspirations of deciding their future, Indo-Pak dispute on Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has turned into a gigantic conflict, resulting into transformation from ‘Land of Liles’ to a ‘Nuclear Flash Point’. Is international community concerned about Kashmiris? In this context, China should play a more assertive role in initiating dialogues between India and Pakistan to resolve J&K dispute.
Phases of Kashmiris Struggle for Self-Determination
First phase (1947-1953) initiated the struggle on the political fronts, especially after Indo-Pak war of 1948. The end of war through UN Resolution 47’s decree of ceasefire and providing Kashmiris the right of self-determination through a UN supervised plebiscite. With the proclamation of ceasefire in 1949, a temporary Line of Control (LoC) was formed, dividing J&K between India and Pakistan. Though Pakistan still aspires for a plebiscite in J&K, India reverted from UN decision and challenged the legitimacy of its Resolutions. With the 1951 election and with Sheikh Abdullah coming into power in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K), UN established military observer’s group to supervise the cease-fire. In 1953, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru vowed too to lead a plebiscite in Kashmir to determine the contention, however it was rarely actualized.
In the second phase, G.M. Bakshi took charge that was rejected by local populace – starting Kashmiris dissent and belligerence. Since then, India struggled to erode Kashmiris’ liberation fronts. According to Mir Qasim, a political leader in IOJ&K, “The common man under Bakshi’s tyrannical rule was denied even basic civil liberties.” Another attempt to deny Kashmiris their right of self-determination was 1956 Constitution, which was adopted by the then Constituent Assembly of J&K. Following this act, UNSC Resolution 122 reasserted Kashmiris right for a plebiscite.
The events of the third and fourth phase including formation of J&K Liberation Front and India’s increasing human rights abuses started the armed struggle in 1989 – fifth phase. The fifth phase Kashmiris political and armed struggle against Indian illegal occupation.
Nearly 90 per cent Kashmiri students wants Indian forces out of IOJ&K. According to a survey undertaken by a college in Kashmir and New York’s Skidmore College from October to December 2019, total Indian withdrawal is the only option for peace in Kashmir. The review results seem to repudiate the Indian government’s case that by abrogating Article 370 – which conceded constrained independence to Kashmir – it is ready to finish the decades-long clash by completely merging Kashmir into India.
In its bi-annual report covering the events from January 1 to June 30, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) said that “the region witnessed the extrajudicial executions of at least 32 civilians and the killing of 54 armed forces personnel… It also saw 55 internet shutdowns and the destruction of 48 structures… three children and two women were also killed, while at least 107 cordon and search operations and cordon and destroy operations were conducted in the region.”
With the killings of Burhan Wani and Riaz Naikoo, Hizul Mujahideen Chief, has become Kashmiris fuel for hate and freedom struggle against India. Because of India’s continuous human rights’ abuses in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK), every Kashmiri is Riaz Naikoo for India now.
Is India colonizing Kashmir?
Kashmiris are against Indian illegal occupation of their land. They are even at a situation of do or die for achieving their right of self-determination – Rise of Kashmir’s Second Intifada. Indian colonizing moves in IOJ&K include: demographic changes, rewriting history, illegal settlements and resource extraction etc.
For instance, “The Indian government has also issued 430, 000 domiciles as part of its Modi settlers’ scheme to make the non-residents of Kashmir as legal residents.” Under International Law’s Dolus Specialis, international community’s dire attention is required in this matter.
Is Kashmiri Resistance Legal?
UN resolution 3314 prohibits “states from any sort of military occupation” and Resolution 1514 provides “the oppressed with a power for an armed struggle against the oppressor”. International humanitarian law under Geneva protocol 1 legalizes the war of liberation.
Moreover, Kashmiris armed struggle is also justified under Resolution 1514(XV), however; it should remain the last resort for anyone as any flare-up could turn into a major crisis.
The region cannot afford any crisis anymore. For successful operationalization of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved on the lines of Afghanistan Peace Process (as peace in Afghanistan is pre-requisite for regional growth). China as a global leader now, has the responsibility to bring peace and stability in the region through meaningful dialogues and their implementation in the issue under its leadership.
*Adeel Mukhtar Mirza | Assistant Research Associate, Islamabad Policy Research Institute