JKLF Letter to PM Shahbaz Shareef Re: Kashmir issue

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Dear Prime Minister Assalam-u-Alaikum, Re: Kashmir issue. We take this opportunity to felicitate you on becoming Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and wish you Godspeed in your endeavours for the well-being and prosperity of Pakistan and its people.Excellency, as a movement committed to the independence and reunification of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF- is deeply concerned at India’s aggression and re-occupation of Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir) on 5 August 2019. We are equally alarmed at the decision by successive Pakistan Governments on ‘constitutional changes’ on the status of Gilgit Baltistan-GB- and changes in Azad Jammu Kashmir-AJK. The former is proposed to be annexed as a province within Pakistan, while as gradual institutionalized political emasculation in AJK, its eventual absorption into contiguous provinces of Pakistan, and turning of ceasefire line-CFL (Line of Control-LOC) into permanent border is also heard to be on cards.Excellency, Pakistan’s lack of meaningful political and diplomatic measures to counter India’s illegal unilateral action of 5 August 2019, has given rise to deep forebodings among Kashmiris about Pakistan’s Kashmir policy, and policy on the status of Pakistan controlled regions of AJK&GB. For almost seventy-five years Kashmiris have come to expect Pakistan’s ardent support for their right to freely decide on the status of their internationally disputed homeland. There is a painful realization especially since 5 August 2019, that Pakistan’s stated policy of support for the struggle, and territorial integrity of Kashmir within the UN Charter, and relevant UN resolutions, has changed. Pakistan’s policies with respect to its international responsibilities about AJK&GB continue to move in a direction, which evidently is detrimental to the overall imperatives of the Kashmir cause.India’s 5 August 2019 decision was a fundamental departure from the historic context of the issue, which required a robust political and diplomatic response to effectively counter India’s illegal act. Proposed ‘constitutional’ changes by Pakistan on AJK&GB, which constitute the political and diplomatic base camp of the liberation movement will hurt the interests of the Kashmiri people. In the given circumstances, therefore, Pakistan’s responses to India’s illegal act can hardly be considered robust, let alone appropriate. Far from having to explain her aggression against Kashmir to the UN Security Council-UNSC, the Indian Government has been emboldened, despite having defied UN resolutions 38, 91, and 122 with Kashmir’s annexation.Excellency, the above-mentioned Resolutions prohibit both India and Pakistan from changing the disposition of Kashmir as both countries administer parts of Kashmir under their respective control on behalf of the UN as its trustees. The entrusted obligations must be upheld by both countries pending the UN-supervised plebiscite to determine the status of the entire State. India blatantly disregarded her obligations as a UN trustee by annexing the three regions of the State namely; Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Laddakh, under her occupation.We do not expect Pakistan to follow in India’s footsteps and annex and integrate GB as part of the federation of Pakistan. We do however expect that Pakistan will halt further erosion, and weakening of governance in AJK and GB. Close to 4 million domicile certificates have been issued to non-Kashmiri settlers since 5 August 2019 by the Modi Government. At this rate, Modi’s religious chauvinist Government will claim complete victory on absorbing Kashmir into India to energize its extremist majoritarian base and secure a third term in power at the 2024 Indian General Election. Annexation of GB by Pakistan therefore will be a terminal blow to our freedom struggle.Excellency with these fears, in 2016, the incarcerated Chairman of the JKLF Mr. Yasin Malik, wrote to the Prime Minister of Pakistan not to integrate Gilgit Baltistan as a province of Pakistan, as it would be a fatal blow to the freedom struggle, and will demoralize Kashmiris on both sides of the CFL. In his reply to Mr. Malik, on 18th March 2016, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif stated that: “I would like to make it unambiguously clear that Pakistan is fully aware of the sensitivities attached to Gilgit Baltistan with regard to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. Media speculations are a result of misperceptions, or misinterpretation. The reforms intended in Gilgit-Baltistan are aimed at empowering the people of this region and giving them a greater say in their governance”. While assuring Yasin Malik that Pakistan will not take any measure that may cause harm to the valiant struggle of the people of IOJK, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s letter ended with the following words. “You may rest assured of Pakistan’s continued moral, diplomatic and political support for the just resolution of the Kashmir issue, in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of its people”. Excellency empowerment of Gbians and their “greater say in governance” should not mean annexation of their region as a province of Pakistan for development. This would be the exact pretext which the Modi Government has used to justify its annexation of Kashmir’s three regions under India’s occupation. There is a painful realization that Pakistan’s policies regarding AJK-GB will have consequences for Kashmiris’ political and national identity. And by immersing the region in Pakistan based political culture, the population and the base camp will be rendered ineffective in the freedom struggle. Any such approach, according to UN resolutions and in the eyes of the people of the State, will bring Pakistan’s policies at par with those of India, if not redressed. Excellency Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) should be assured by Article 6 of the Border Agreement between them of 2 March 1963, which provides sufficient basis to allay any concerns of the Chinese over their investment in the region especially in CPEC. We very much hope that China will continue to support our right to self-determination. On the other hand annexation of GB and further emasculation of AJK will be interminably detrimental and a demoralizing setback for Kashmiris’ freedom struggle.Despite enormous sacrifices and torrents of blood flowing into the River Jhelum, the youth of Kashmir has become a target of choice for India’s occupation forces, and Pakistan has absolutely failed to formally engage with the UNSC on the issue? With unilateral abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, Kashmir became free of all ‘constitutional’ obligations with India, with particular reference to clause (7) of the 26 October 1947 so called temporary treaty of accession, between the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Government. Pakistan’s failure to engage with the UN however, has enabled India to continue her aggression against the Kashmiris. In fact, apart from a few places in Jammu, and Ladakh rest of Kashmir remains under siege, which is being enforced by India’s 900,000 military and paramilitary troops. As a party to the Kashmir issue, Pakistan should have formally taken the issue to UNSC, immediately after India took the illegal decision on 5 August 2019. Pakistan should also have walked away from the Shimla Accord, to free itself, and the Kashmiris from the futility of bilateralism with India, under the ossified Shimla Agreement. Excellency since 5 August 2019, Kashmiris across the CFL feel abandoned. In Indian occupied Kashmir, the oppression and humiliation continue unabated. A glaring example of this collective humiliation is the enforced burial of Syed Ali Shah Gilani on 2 September 2021 by the Indian authorities who wilfully deprived the veteran leader’s family to participate in his final rites. His family was threatened with dire consequences if they insisted on the prominent leader’s burial at the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Srinagar according to late Syed Ali Shah Gilani’s will. It is worth mentioning that India has of late adopted this policy of denying proper burial to Martyred Kashmiris but no one on the face of the earth including Pakistan seems to bother at this denial of basic human rights.Excellency Kashmir’s political leaders are incarcerated by India under oppressive and inhuman laws. Since 22 February 2019, Mr. Yasin Malik has been held under such punitive laws to force him into submission. He has been in India’s notorious Tihar Jail since May 2019. Mr. Malik stood firmly opposed to the anticipated abrogation of articles 370 and 35A, and led peaceful political dissent against the policies of the Modi Government. India’s National Investigation Agency-NIA had been tasked by the Indian Government to fabricate evidence against Mr. Malik as part of the Modi Government’s malicious campaign to malign, stifle, and discredit his peaceful struggle.Excellency Mr. Malik’s arrest and banning of his party, the JKLF, was in fact to pave the way for India’s military build-up, and subsequent annexation of Indian occupied Kashmir. As the most prominent and internationally recognized pro-independent leader in Kashmir, Mr. Malik seeks a peaceful resolution on Kashmir’s status. He defied Prime Minister Modi’s ideologically driven policy of Hindutva; the manifest objective of which is to obliterate Kashmir’s history, identity, socio-cultural, and religious harmony through demographic change.Mr. Malik opposes the Modi Government’s policy to deprive people in Kashmir valley, Jammu, and Ladakh of their citizenship rights, which had been secured with enormous sacrifices in heroic struggles by State Subjects during the past 200 years. He has engaged with previous Indo- Pak leaders. And in the past 28 years has assiduously sought support from India, Pakistan, the USA, and rest of the world for a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Excellency Knowing full well that Mr. Malik is part of a solution to the Kashmir issue, Modi Government has levelled false and politically motivated charges of ‘terror funding and ‘sedition’ as well as the opening of more than thirty-year-old fictitious cases, to silence Mr. Malik’s powerful voice on the Kashmir issue. We urge your Excellency to effectively raise the voice and demand an early release of Yasin Malik and other Kashmiri political leaders held in Indian prisons.Excellency, humiliated, defenceless and under siege for almost three years, Kashmiris inevitably feel betrayed in their struggle to be free. India is determined to assimilate and completely render Kashmiris invisible. The gravity of this social, cultural, and political annihilation and obliteration of Kashmir’s collective history and identity by India, is not fully felt in Muzaffarabad and in Islamabad. Kashmiris are of the view that Pakistan has actually left Kashmiris alone after the 5th of August 2019. Kashmiri voices are being trampled in broad daylight, media and press are gagged, religious freedom has been snatched, proper religious burials of even leaders are denied, houses are being demolished and bombed, laws are being enacted to snatch land and change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir and so on. Yet, the world community, especially the world powers and the relevant world institutions, for their economic and other interests, do not step forward to deliver justice to the people of Jammu Kashmir .xcellency in view of the gravity of the current situation, we urge Pakistan Government to engage and meet with Kashmiris as there is an urgent need, to enter into a constructive dialogue on the nature of policy warranted by the current situation after 5 August 2019, and to ascertain how relevant Pakistan’s current policy remains within the context of the challenges that Kashmiris face.To this end, we make the following recommendations to your Excellency’s Government as initial steps towards redressing the current situation and urge that Pakistan takes a serious review of its policy with India on Kashmir and strongly urge Pakistan to formally rescind the 1972 Shimla Accord with India, and formally take the Kashmir issue to the UNSC. We urge the Government of Pakistan not to proceed with its policy of absorbing either GB or AJK into the Pakistan federation or extending AJK’s representation in the National Assembly of Pakistan.e strongly urge the Government of Pakistan to rescind, and dissolve the 28 April 1949 Karachi Agreement between Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and urge the Government of Pakistan that it: a) Should support the formation of a democratically elected and fully empowered national revolutionary representative government of AJK&GB as one political entity with an Independent Joint Council-IJC, representing both the regions, as its upper house. Alternatively:b) Both AJK and GB to have separate fully empowered Governments and their separate Assemblies; elected democratically with a fully enfranchised electorate, and the party with a majority in the House to form a politically empowered government. The leader of the majority party should form the administration as Prime Minister, elected by his/her fellow party MLAs. c) To form a fully Independent Joint Council -IJC- that would comprise members appointed by the respective Govts of AJK and GB. The number of members for the IJC to be mutually agreed upon by both Governments and the Government as the case might be. d) The IJC will not only act as a Constitutional bridge between the peoples of AJK& GB but will also ensure fraternal relations with Pakistan and its people are maintained. e) The IJC will ensure that a formal relationship with the Government and the State of Pakistan within the framework of the UNCIP resolutions is vigilantly maintained within the mutual interests of both sides. We urge the Government of Pakistan to enable the current Governments in Muzaffarabad and in Gilgit Baltistan to formally open the dialogue between them with reference to the above recommendations, and that representation from parties not represented in either of the current Assemblies is included in this dialogue process. I thank you. Sincerely Raja Muhammed Haq Nawaz Khan Acting Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

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