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Right to Self-Determination Day - 5th January

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by Aroosa Hafeez

Today, Kashmiris on both sides of Pakistan and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir State observed “Day of right to self-determination”. Every year 5th January observed as the Right to Self-determination of Kashmiris day across the world. On 5 January 1949, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution supporting the Kashmiris' right to decide their future by themselves through UN-sponsored plebiscite. India is openly violating Kashmiris rights by denying international commitments. Last year it abrogated the special status of the internationally-acknowledged disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir through scrapping Articles 370 and 35-A of her own constitution, thus, permanently incorporating disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir in Indian Union.

After the partition and independence of Pakistan and India it was assumed that Jammu and Kashmir being Muslim majority State will accede to Pakistan but the Maharaja Hari Singh, Hindu ruler of Kashmir acceded to India through inappropriate and illegal instrument of accession, which was stage-managed by India. India deployed its armed forces in Srinagar and occupied the valley whereas “Indo-Pak Partition” allowed Kashmir to decide their own fate but to date; the right of self-determination has not been extended to them.

Since day one people of Kashmir resisted against Indian forces and rejected their illegitimate occupation. On 1st January, 1948, India took Kashmir issue to United Nations Security Council, consecutive resolutions passed and UNSC invalidated Indian invasion in Kashmir. UN approved a ceasefire, demilitarization of the State and unbiased plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the world body. In the years ahead, India thwarted all the UNSC’s efforts to hold the plebiscite on one pretext or the other, as India knew that if an impartial plebiscite was held, Muslim majority population of Jammu and Kashmir will vote for accession to Pakistan.

India is playing old game with new tactics. The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill but India is taking advantage of COVID-19 pandemic. India is constantly massacring Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) and is beating around the bush. Extra Judicial killing, rape, mass arrest, firing of tear gas shells, disappearances, pellet gun shootings, all other methods of torturing people of Kashmir have become obsolete. There was a shift in demography of the region when India forcibly annexed Kashmir as thousands of Hindus gets residency, jobs and land. Now Indian troops kill Kashmiris saying they have COVID and use corona as a weapon to change region’s Muslim majority status to settle Hindus in the region.

India has been indulged in killing the people of IOJK with indemnity ever since their launch of freedom fight. From the start of corona virus pandemic Indian forces are martyring Kasmiris and are refusing to hand over dead bodies to their relatives. Indian Security forces are burying these martyrs secretly in army-managed graveyards saying they are infected by corona virus because they have a fear that if they will hand over dead bodies, mass protests will be started in the region. India is committing grave breach of human rights and international laws but the world is numb. Continued communications restrictions and no access to medical and other necessary supplies are making the Covid-19 situation worse for the Kashmiris in IOJK. Indian authorities turned Kashmir into “Ghost Town”.

Since the day of partition, India and Pakistan fought wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971, two of them were on Kashmir but the issue has only grown more chaotic. The split state of Kashmir has been morphed into a Gordian knot, with its ends tied with both India and Pakistan. This Gordian knot cannot be untied unless and until both nations pull on each end. Today Kashmir has a long dreary past that is filled with missed opportunities. In the present day the geopolitical position of Kashmir has made it a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. Only time has the answer that will Kashmiris ever get their right to self-determination? 

No matter what, years of struggle and sloganeering have made this sure that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. 5th January is observed as Right to Self-determination of Kashmiris to give loud and clear message to the whole world that Kashmiris will continue to fight for their right despite Indian’s brutality and Draconian Laws. This day highlights the 73 years of struggle of Kashmiris and their hunt for freedom.

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