JKLF diplomatic bureau cheif submits letter to UNSG from UK

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Excellency just over twenty six months ago on 5 August 2019, the BJP/RSS led India committed naked aggression against the internationally disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir- generally referred to as Kashmir. It is sadly ironic that for the month of August in 2021 India presided over the UNSC while exactly two years earlier she annexed and bifurcated the State into two so called union territories to be are ruled directly from New Delhi. With this illegal act of annexation the Indian Government displayed an utter contempt, and arrogance with blatant defiance of the UN and its resolutions which called for a plebiscite to determine the status of the disputed State.

Excellency two years on, the suffering inflicted on the defenceless people continues with greater intensity, especially in the valley of Kashmir, the Chenab valley, and the region of Pir Panjal. For the past two years India has turned the illegally re-occupied Kashmir into a gigantic open prison with millions of people under siege by 900,000 Indian soldiers.

Freedom of movement within and out of the occupied territory is curtailed for Kashmiris. In order to obtain Indian passport, a Kashmiri is expected to have lived a secluded and monastic existence. And throughout his/her life is expected, not have uttered a word or participated in an activity such as a protest meeting about any issue of social, political, and economic aspects of Kashmir; it is only then that he/she would be considered a model citizen to qualify for the ‘privilege’ to obtain an Indian passport for travel.

This then is India of 2021 in Kashmir, the so called largest democracy in the world, which is being allowed by the UNSC to get away with terrorising an entire nation, and depriving it of its internationally recognised right to self-determination along and all other human rights. And yet Prime Minister Modi of India in his address to the 76 UN General Assembly session last month, eulogised his country as the “mother of democracy.”

In reality however, the RSS supported BJP Prime Minister of India has no respect for democracy in Kashmir and democratic rights of the people of Kashmir. His rise to political power during the past two decades, first as the Chief Minister of Gujrat and since 2014 as Prime Minister of India, can only be attributed to extremist majoritarian politics, underpinned by the supremacist religious Hindutva ideology. Kashmir is being used by the BJP/RSS Modi Government as a laboratory to infuse and galvanise its extremist majoritarian political base in India for electoral advantage.

Excellency the UNSC is the Apex law making body in the world which has the power to enforce the UN Charter and its resolutions. It is a grievous injustice inflicted on the people of Kashmir that the UN SC has utterly failed to enforce the UN Charter and its resolutions to assert, and defend the inherent, inalienable unfettered sovereign right of 22 million Kashmiris. As the collective conscience of the world, UN has the obligations and authority, which your Excellency has a duty to exercise, to protect and assert the rights of Kashmiris, whose consent has been thwarted from being exercised on the status of their homeland for more than seven decades. We demand that the UNSC appoints a Plebiscite Administrator for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. We urge your Excellency to engage with India and Pakistan to ensure that both countries facilitate the UN Plebiscite administrator.

Kashmiri leadership committed to a peaceful political resolution of the dispute is thrown into jails, with charges of ‘sedition’ that are nothing other than the actions of a colonial power. Kashmiris are ruled today on both sides of the 1949 CfL without consent and their democratic right to dissent has been taken away. The naked aggression, suppression and militarised violence in Kashmir by India is unprecedented, and a clear negation of India’s obligations and commitments made to the international community and the people of Kashmir. The oppression by Indian state must stop and Kashmiri leadership must be released from prisons as well as from under house arrest.

Excellency the Modi Government has banned political parties like the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF- and the Jamat-e-Islami. Political leaders committed to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue are illegally incarcerated with trumped up charges. The Chairman of the JKLF Mr Yasin Malik for example is accused of supporting militancy, which he and his party gave up more than twenty five years ago to embark upon a political, and peaceful revolutionary struggle for self-determination. Mr Yasin Malik seeks active and constructive participation of India and Pakistan along with Kashmiris under auspices of the UN for an equitable resolution of the issue and the conflict.

The history of Kashmir issue is full of betrayals, and broken pledges by India in particular, and indifference to, and abandonment of Kashmiris’ basic rights by the big powers. One such solemn Indian pledge was made by Gopalswami Ayyangar at the 227th meeting of the UNSC on 15 January 1948 when he stated the following: “whether she should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent with a right to claim admission as a member of the United Nations- all this we have recognised to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir after normal life is restored to them.”

On 2 January 1952 Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime minister of independent India, reiterated India’s policy on Kashmir in a statement in the Amrita Bazar Patrika of Calcutta by stating that: “Kashmir is not the property of India or Pakistan. It belongs to the Kashmiri people. When Kashmir acceded to India, we made it clear to the leaders of the Kashmiri people that we would ultimately abide by the verdict of their plebiscite. If they tell us to walk out, I would have no hesitation in quitting Kashmir.” He continued by affirming that: “We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.”

Excellency it appears that Gopalswami Ayyangar’s words at the 15 January 1948 UNSC meeting, and those of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s above, were words of a great deception by a UN member state described as a great nation’s “word of honour” by Pandit Nehru. For its credibility the UNSC must call out India’s deception and betrayal over Kashmir. As a non-permanent member of the UNSC, India’s presiding over the UNSC for the month of August 2021 reflected the real meaning of the phrase ‘poacher turned game keeper!’ The recommendations made in the two UNHCHR reports of June 2018 and July 2019 on the human rights situation in Kashmir still await appropriate action by the UN as it has not been allowed a visit by either India or Pakistan in the divided State. Clearly the UN once again has failed to protect the basic rights and interests of the people of Kashmir as the reports address human rights issues and violations on both sides of the CfL. The only ray of comfort in the past two years, is the cessation of hostilities on 25 February 2021 between armies of India and Pakistan deployed eye-ball to eye-ball across the five hundred miles long CfL since 1947. Both countries have strictly controlled movement across the de facto border for hundreds of thousands of separated families, and Kashmiris in general to move across the CfL freely which Kashmiris consider as their fundamental right.

Based on policies of India and Pakistan it is widely suspected by Kashmiris that the cessation of hostilities across the CfL could well be a prelude to disregard the plebiscite, and turn the CfL into a formal border over the heads of 22 million citizens of the forcibly divided State. If that were the intentions of India and Pakistan to settle the issue with permanent division of Kashmir, such an outcome without a doubt will not be welcomed by the Kashmiris.

Instead of resolving the long standing issue with a free, fair, transparent and democratic plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, formalising division and annexation of Kashmir by either one or both of the countries, will not constitute a democratic solution as such an enforced solution would be against the inherent and inalienable unfeterred right of the Kashmiris to self-determination; and would also contravene the UN’s mandate entrusted to India and Pakistan under UNSC resolutions.

Excellency, India has blatantly reneged on her solemn pledges and commitments made with Kashmiris, and the United Nations, and yet she demands a permanent seat on the UNSC to become a custodian of the organisation’s values despite defying the UN over Kashmir. We very much hope however, that Pakistan will not move away from its UN mandated role on the Kashmir issue, and will not follow India by integrating territories of the state into Pakistan, which it controls directly as in the Gilgit Baltistan-GB and indirectly in Azad Jammu and Kashmir-AJK.

Resolution of the Kashmir issue and the conflict, without a doubt, is central to unlocking the full human potential of 1.5 billion inhabitants of South Asia. Kashmiris desire peace, in fact Kashmiris demand peace with justice and dignity, so that as a free people Kashmiris can also prosper and contribute by unleashing the boundless energy coupled with the spirit to climb new heights, which is embedded in the culture of enterprise among the diverse people of Kashmir. Being sandwiched between two nuclear powers who have not overcome hostility against each other since their independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, has inevitably inhibited our progress, prosperity and spirit of innovation and achievement.

Excellency the policies of successive Indian governments have always been hostile to Kashmir’s identity, history and the desire to be free. In the BJP/RSS led government however, the level of political, ideological and authoritarian venom and vindictiveness towards Kashmir, and its free spirit, and the struggle for self-determination, has been unprecedented. Since coming to power in 2014 the Modi led BJP/RSS Government has taken away everything which defines the historic, social and cultural identity of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It continues to dismantle the institutions and laws of the State that have defined its collective and individual character and made the diverse State as a beacon of communal harmony and affirmation and respect across faiths and diverse communities of the State within South Asia.

Modi Government’s policy of “all out” submission of Kashmiris’ legitimate resistance has left no political space in Kashmir. Prime Minister Modi is more interested in colonial settler project in Kashmir to reduce the Muslim majority into an inconsequential minority by the time his party goes into the 2024 Indian General Election. He does not appear to worry about the economic woes of the Kashmiris, whose economic situation has not improved at all since 2014. He is also not interested in the communal cleavage his policies are creating in Kashmir as this suits his political and ideological majoritarian Hindutva agenda for India even though it is having a grave impact on the diverse socio- cultural and political fabric of Kashmir.

Excellency we strongly urge you to defend and assert the rights and aspirations of the people of Kashmir, and urge you to call upon the leaders of India and Pakistan for their co-operation with your Excellency and the Plebiscite Administrator, for a just, equitable and lasting peaceful resolution of the more than seven decades old Kashmir conflict which is, and has been, a threat to peace, and prosperity of the South Asian region, and the world. We urge your Excellency to call upon the Indian government to immediately release all political prisoners including Mr Yasin Malik, Mr Shabir Shah, Ms Aasiya Andrabi and many others from detention. These Kashmiri leaders are part of the solution, and must be engaged with for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the conflict, which will unleash a new era of peace, and prosperity for the entire South Asian region and beyond.