Thursday, 14 December 2017
The inquiry, first of its kind, is to be conducted in London Parliament on Thursday, 14th December, where JKLF's head of International Campaigns, Azmat A Khan, will present verbal and documentary evidence on human rights and socio-political abuses in both sides of Kashmir.
JKLF wrote to Secretary-General of Commonwealth urging to set up a mediation panel for a peaceful and lasting settlement of the long standing Kashmir issue
JKLF Diplomatic Bureau sent a letter to Rt. Hon. Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal QC,
Secretary-General of Commonwealth urging her to set up a mediation panel from members of commonwealth states for a peaceful and lasting settlement of the long standing Kashmir issue.
Contents of the letter is below
Rt. Hon. Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal QC
Secretary-General of Commonwealth
Pall Mall London
8 December 2017
Dear Baroness Scotland,
Re: The unresolved issue of Jammu Kashmir’s political Status and reunification
We take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt felicitations on your appointment at the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – CHOGM – as the sixth, and first female Secretary –General of the Commonwealth in 2016. We also offer our warm wishes for a successful forthcoming 25th CHOGM, in April 2018. We hope that at its 25th CHOGM, this family of nations will take positive and constructive steps, on the issue of Jammu Kashmir’s, (Kashmir) political status and reunification.
The Commonwealth, as a family of nations has a common heritage, based primarily on being subjected to a lengthy colonial rule. It is a unique body of nations upon which the malevolence of imperial rule engendered a kindred spirit of solidarity, respect for freedom, democracy, and rule of law as a basis for its historic bonds. Subjugation without a doubt is a painful experience while freedom for the colonised peoples of the British Empire, was indeed a time of happiness and rejoicing.
Excellency as you said on becoming the Secretary- General of the Commonwealth that “the Commonwealth shares a great deal. It has 33% of the world’s population. It has the capacity to bring together people of all religions. Concentrates on what joins us. It’s a real opportunity to invest and work together. If you work together with people respectfully, you can bring about change. Human rights and development go hand in hand.” Indeed you alluded to some commendable aspects of the commonwealth to which we could add, the body’s dedication to peace in the world, liberty and equality. Undoubtedly many governments within this family of nations, endeavour to put these values and principles into practice for their citizens.
However, for some decolonisation, has left a legacy of conflict, separation, oppression, subjugation, and denial of fundamental rights, including the right of self-determination, and of nationhood. In this respect this family of 52 nations has failed to bring about the change that you so eloquently stated in the text quoted above.
Countries like India, who won their freedom through protracted struggles, adopted colonialist policies of their own with violent oppression, and utter disregard for human and political rights of nations and minorities under their de-facto control – as indeed is the case in Kashmir – whose inhabitants are being denied the right to exercise their free will on the political status of their country.
For 20 million Kashmiris this has been their most poignant experience of neo-colonialism since 1947.
Lives of ordinary people are blighted by militarised violence. They are denied their fundamental political and human rights, across the so-called cease-fire line or the Line of Control – LoC – that forcibly divides their country between India and Pakistan. There is no liberty, there is no respect for human rights, and there is no democracy in Kashmir. There is only Indian ‘democracy’ which has made Kashmir, the most heavily militarised occupied country in the world.
Excellency in our considered view, Commonwealth’s failure to uphold the inalienable right of twenty million Kashmiris, is a dereliction of international duty and moral responsibility. Because the denial of an unfettered political choice to Kashmiris, is in contravention of UN Charter and many of the world body’s resolutions that affirm their right to decide.
For seventy years now India and Pakistan, two prominent Commonwealth countries are locked in conflict, over their claims and counter claims on the future status of Kashmir. Both countries have fought full scale wars several times since their independence. Daily exchanges of fire by the Indian and Pakistani armies along the five hundred miles long cease-fire line, makes it absolutely impossible for tens of thousands of civilians on both sides of the divide to lead a normal existence. Many lives are destroyed through death and destruction.
Thus the Indo-Pakistan dimensions over Kashmir continue to cause immense suffering and miseries for people on both sides with nothing in sight by way of redress and justice for them. The entrenched positions of both countries have rendered the Kashmiris invisible, which is nothing less than a tragedy of epic proportions for a country that is as big as Britain in size.
Large military presence in the territory in itself is a major impediment to peace in the region and the world. It is also a constant physical and psychological threat and danger to the population of Kashmir. India alone has more than half a million regular military personnel plus tens of thousands of paramilitary forces deployed in the Indian held part of the territory. Pakistan in its held part of the State has perhaps deployed up to a hundred thousand troops that confront the Indian forces across the cease-fire line. Both countries are nuclear powers and continue to spend large parts of their GDP on bolstering military strength to counter each other.
Over the past thirty years India’s militarised violence in the State has resulted in thousands of deaths. Jayanth Jacob and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi quoting Indian government’s figures, reported in the Hindustan Times on 25 September 2017 that 41,000 deaths took place in Indian held Jammu Kashmir over the past 27 years. The real figure of deaths however, may well be over a hundred thousand. Contrary to claims by the Indian authorities, an overwhelming majority of the dead and thousands of the disappeared are civilians. There are thousands of unmarked graves all over the Indian held part of the State without explanation.
Excellency in 2008 Kashmiris transformed their struggle from one of militancy to a non-violent one at the behest of the international community, with the hope that India would respect this historic transformation. India on the other hand unleashed her military might on the people of Kashmir, to crush their peaceful movement for a dignified future as a free nation. In 2008 Indian army killed 58 innocent civilians, and in 2009 40 civilians were killed, while in 2010 the Indian army killed 130 civilians. In the current peaceful resistance 150 civilians have been killed by Indian forces.
Over the past nine years around 25 thousand people have been injured, including those whose lives have changed for ever due to the severity their injuries. During 2016 around 5 thousand have been directly hit in their eyes with the use of pellet guns. Many of those hit have lost their eyesight completely.
It is quite clear from the extremely aggressive militarised violence that the Indian government wants to beat the peaceful political resistance of the people into submission. Kashmiris are used as human shields. Targeted killing of civilians, fake encounters and torture are used as means of suppression. This oppression and inhuman by the military is openly defended by Indian authorities, including the military that war necessitates such methods.
Excellency Indian government is at war with the people of Kashmir, and expects them to surrender before the naked state oppression, and to be forced to give up the right to freedom. Despite undemocratic actions and machinations of the Indian authorities, pro freedom Kashmiri leadership is continuing the peaceful political resistance to strive for dignity, democracy, liberty, justice and freedom.
The Joint Resistance Leadership – JRL – comprising of Mr Muhammad Yasin Malik, the head of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front,-JKLF- and the veteran Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, – APHC – are deprived of their fundamental democratic right of free speech, right of movement, and assembly by being subjected to house arrests, and incarceration.
Excellency the government of Pakistan should also be called upon to restrain itself from integrating the Gilgit- Baltistan - GB-region of the State as province of its federation. Under the UN Charter and over a dozen UN resolutions on the future status of Kashmir, India and Pakistan are duty bound to safeguard the territorial integrity and unity of the divided State. And also call upon the government of Pakistan to facilitate for a joint administrative set up of GB and Azad Jammu Kashmir with a democratically elected assembly through universal suffrage, and a democratic constitution for the joined up territories of the State under its control, as an interim solution until the final settlement of the Kashmir issue.
Excellency, India needs to be reminded that it too is subject to the UN Charter and her obligations to Kashmir’s future status. And India needs to be reminded about her obligations regarding the inherent and inalienable rights of 20 million Kashmiris to an unfettered political choice. India needs to be reminded that Kashmir is not an integral part of India nor an internal law and order issue. India needs to be reminded on the unbridled use of militarised violence against civilians, and political dissent by its forces. India needs to be reminded that massive human rights violations must stop, and those responsible must be brought to justice. India needs to be reminded that arrests and victimisation of activists for political expediency must not be allowed to continue in Kashmir. India needs to be reminded that the JRL must not be deprived of its democratic right of free speech, of assembly and the right to engage with the masses in all parts of the State. India needs to be reminded that it must allow the UNHCR access to Kashmir, to investigate excesses against civilians and political dissent committed by its forces.
Excellency in conclusion, irrespective of India’s importance and size within the Commonwealth or in the global sphere of influence, we urge the 25th CHOGM to adopt a constructive approach and actively engage with India and Pakistan for an equitable settlement of the Kashmir issue, which is based on the unfettered right of Kashmiris across both sides of the cease fire line.
Excellency Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan but an international issue concerning the future status of a nation. Kashmiris want peace and prosperity for their country, and wish Kashmir to become a bridge of peace and amity between India and Pakistan, and not a perpetual bone of contention. In the interest of peace and prosperity for all we urge the 25th CHOGM to set up a mediation panel from the Commonwealth family of nations engage closely with India, Pakistan, the Kashmiris, and the U N Secretary General, for a peaceful settlement of the long standing Kashmir issue, which is acceptable to all the stakeholders in the conflict.
Prof Zafar Khan
Diplomatic Bureau –
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF-
119-123 Cannon Street Road
Monday, 6 November 2017
Friday, 27 October 2017
Participants call on the British Government and the international community to play a constructive and meaningful role in resolving the Kashmir issue.
London 24 October 2017: Speakers at the seminar organised by Diplomatic Bureau of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF- in London’s Central Westminster Hall acknowledged, that for seventy years India and Pakistan have failed to resolve the issue of Jammu Kashmir’s future status. The participants agreed that dialogue and the recognition of the rights of 20 million people of Jammu Kashmir was the only wayward for a solution of the long standing Kashmir conflict.
Head of the JKLF’s Diplomatic Bureau Professor Zafar Khan welcomed the participants and said that the fundamental right of 20 million people to freedom across the divided Jammu Kashmir, has been ignored and neglected by the world community. This is a grievous injustice inflicted upon a people who long for peace, dignity and reunification of their country. He said his party and leadership has always wished for the entire state to become a bridge of peace in South Asia, and Kashmiris want their country in the region to be at peace with itself and in harmony across its borders. Referring to the message of his Party Chairman Mr Muhammad Yasin Malik, Zafar Khan said that the pain of a subjugated nation and its people, is clearly visible from Mr Malik’s message. He said that the Indo- Pakistan dimensions over the Kashmir issue however, have rendered the entire nation diplomatically invisible. And this is the injustice and indignity beyond any measure of morality that should stare the international community in the face.
In a message especially sent for the seminar from Srinagar, Mr Muhammed Yasin Malik the Chairman of the JKLF told the participants that “Jammu Kashmir is burning and its people are going through an unabated trauma and agony for many decades, and that twenty million Kashmiris are living in a life of total instability, brutal agony and distress”. He went on to impress upon the participants that “our land has been illegally occupied by military might and we are being denied our democratic right of self-determination which is guaranteed to us even by the United Nations”.
The JKLF Chairman reminded the participants that despite wars between India and Pakistan, over a dozen UNSC resolutions, and bilateral agreements, India and Pakistan have patently failed to make any progress on the all-important political status of Jammu Kashmir. He lamented at the “criminal silence” of the international community, and in particular pointed at the USA, the UK and the European Union who have turned a blind eye on the plight of Kashmiris, which encouraged India to deny the right of Kashmiris to freedom.
The JKLF Chairman regretted that India unleashed an extreme militarised violent response to our decision to transform our armed struggle to a peaceful movement. India however responded by unleashing an unprecedented militarised aggression against our people since 2008, which the Indian military and paramilitary forces continue with impunity resulting in deaths of hundreds and injuries inflicted on thousands as well as huge destruction of property and crops. He said “it is quite clear that India wants to silence us with its military might, and it intends to force us into submission with its huge military deployment in our country”. The JKLF Chairman however, reiterated that as a nation we will not surrender before the naked Indian military and state fascism. The JKLF Chairman conveyed to the participants that as part and parcel of human civilisation, and part of international community, we will never bow in submission and give up our birth right to freedom, and declared that the resistance will continue for liberty freedom and dignity.
At the end of his message, referring to the great South African statesman, late Nelson Mandela who had said that the mode of resistance is determined, not by the oppressed but by the oppressors, the JKLF Chairman said that “our mode of resistance against the tyranny of Indian state oppression may vary from time to time”.
The writer and historian Ms Victoria Schofield, who has authored four books on Jammu Kashmir, said that she has been associated with Kashmir for over thirty years, and spoke of differing narratives on the issue of Kashmir which needed to be understood. She said India and Pakistan were not prepared to give up territories of Jammu Kashmir that each occupied. She said that the international community was supine over Kashmir in the face of Indian and Pakistani positions. Victoria Schofield emphasised that the period of 1947 to 1949 in Jammu Kashmir’s history was crucial and emphasised that if Pakistan forces had withdrawn in the territory they controlled in Kashmir, this would have not given India the excuse to refuse the UN proposed plebiscite on Kashmir.
The veteran Kashmiri origin member of the British upper House of Parliament Lord Nazir Ahmed said that all the options including, the option of an independent Jammu Kashmir was a matter for the 20 million people of Kashmir, as their basic right. He said our priority is Kashmir and its people and not India and Pakistan. He said war was not and has never been a solution, and the British Peer proposed an international conference for a peaceful solution of the issue. He said as basic stakeholders Kashmiris from across both sides of the ceasefire line must be enabled to participate in the proposed conference.
While Mr Chris Leslie MP, the Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, said that it was important to take stock of the current situation in Kashmir. He said he would organise a meeting in December to engage with those with personal experiences and their testimonies on the situation. He pointed out that a calmer atmosphere and scenario needed to be espoused in the conflict. He said he would organise a delegation to visit both sides of Jammu Kashmir. Mr Chris Leslie feared that in view of trade possibilities with India, Brexit could prove detrimental in steering the British government towards an active position on the Kashmir issue.
Mr Gavin Shuker MP pointed out that the international community should not only be influenced about India and Pakistan in relation to Kashmir issue. Mr Shuker said that the conflict over Kashmir was an issue of justice for the people of Kashmir, and that Kashmiri voice must be heard as the voice of the Kashmiris was sacrosanct in this conflict. Mr Gavin Shuker MP said that he would like to see that all parts of Kashmir across the ceasefire line were accessible to the international press. He expressed the view that a rational cross party parliamentary approach in the British Parliament on Kashmir was essential.
Dr Dibyesh Anand, Professor of international politics at the University of Westminster in London, argued in his presentation that even those on the political left of the Indian polity do not acknowledge and recognise the right of Kashmiris to exist as a free and independent nation. Professor Anand argued that Kashmiris’ resistance to the Indian state as a result, is met with full force of the Indian state. He said that it was important to mobilise against human rights violations in Jammu Kashmir alongside the struggle for the right of self-determination, as a means to engage with people not only in India but elsewhere on the Kashmir issue. He said Indian state’s attempts to dialogue with Kashmiris is always based on the premise that Kashmir is an integral part of India. And the appointment of India’s current interlocutor in Kashmir according to Prof Anand, is an example of this Indian approach or the mind-set. He said it is the mandarins in Delhi who make the policy on Kashmir. He argued that Pakistani state would have a similar aggressive attitude if Kashmiris were agitating as forcefully against its rule as they are in Indian administered Kashmir. However Professor Anand pointed out that Pakistan could let Azad Jammu Kashmir become azad (free) and turn the region into a model of positive political development with a democratic constitution. Professor Anand pointed out that azadi does not mean only political freedom, but it should mean justice for all. He pointed out that he supported the JKLF’s position on the rights of minorities and diverse opinions in Jammu Kashmir.
Kashmiri origin British Peer Lord Qurban Hussain argued that Pakistan recognises Kashmir as a dispute, whereas India considers it as its internal affair. He said that India is not willing to listen on Kashmir. Lord Qurban Hussain pointed out that Kashmiris have not given up on their right to freedom. He said that there can be no peace without a resolution of the Kashmir issue, and said that there should be simultaneous withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani military from Kashmir.
Mr Graham Wilson Chairman of Nations without States in his address argued that a scientific approach needs to be adopted on resistance and against oppression. He said that the UN in Kashmir has failed because of the US influence. He pointed out that the occupation of Kashmir should be resisted through people’s power. He said if Scotland can be allowed by the UK to have a referendum on independence, the people of Jammu Kashmir should be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination too.
Mr Ershad Malik Europe Spokesman for the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Party said that there is no peace in Kashmir, and only the Kashmiris feel the pain of the oppression. He reminded the participants that Kashmiris gave up the gun but there has not been a positive response to the people. He pointed out that as a parent organisation of the freedom struggle, JKLF and the people of Kashmir should be prepared for a long struggle.
At the end of formal presentations members of the JKLF and other invited guest joined in the discussion on various aspects of the Kashmir issue that were raised in the seminar. Members of JKLF’s diplomatic council Mr Tanvir Chaudhry ( President Europe Zone) from Finland, Sardar Nasim Iqbal from Belgium, Mr Sabir Gul ( President UK zone ) and Syed Tehsin Gilani ( Gen Sec of UK zone), and members of JKLF’s Diplomatic Bureau Mr Mahmoud Hussain, Mr Tariq Sharif, as well as the veteran JKLF leader Mr Latif Malik took part in the discussion. Mahmoud Faiz, Sanawar Hussain, Talat Butt from JKTV and representative of the Latvian Embassy, a number of parliamentary interns and students also attended the seminar.
Following resolutions were proposed and adopted by the participants
1…That the way forward for a peaceful and just solution of the long standing Kashmir issue can only be found through a meaningful dialogue between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris; and that the international community, and in particular the United Kingdom, the USA, the European Union, and the UNSC must endeavour to facilitate, for a conducive diplomatic environment so that a meaningful dialogue process for a peaceful solution can begin.
2… In view of the increased and almost continuous exchanges of fire across the ceasefire-line in Jammu Kashmir between the Indian and Pakistani forces, and the heavy loss of life and property as well as general disruption caused to the daily routines of inhabitants on both sides of the ceasefire line, this meeting calls upon the governments of India and Pakistan to abide by the ceasefire agreement of 2003 between them with immediate effect. And calls upon the UNSC to empower the UNMGIP to enforce the ceasefire and report to the UNSC violations across the ceasefire-line.
3… The meeting calls upon the governments of India and Pakistan to speed up the process in documentation, and safeguard the safety and ensure the visits of separated families on both Indian and Pakistani held areas of the state of Jammu Kashmir to meet with greater frequency, safety and dignity.
The meeting calls upon the UNSC and especially the UK and the US to impress upon India and Pakistan to address the matter of family reunions in Kashmir on apriority humanitarian basis.
For and on behalf of the Diplomatic Bureau
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front
119-123Cannon Street Road, Basement North
London E1 2LX
Monday, 17 July 2017
London-17 July 2017: Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF- has called on the world community to play its role and, intercede for an equitable and peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue. In a letter to UN member states, JKLF’s head of Diplomatic Bureau Prof Zafar Khan, urged the governments of these states to engage constructively with India, Pakistan, and the pro freedom leadership in Kashmir, for a peaceful resolution of the conflict over Kashmir’s future status.
The letter addressed to respective governments through their diplomatic missions in London, stated that Kashmir issue is quite erroneously perceived by vested interests, as a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Jammu Kashmir’s future status is fundamentally, linked with the unfettered right to self-determination of 20 million people across both sides of the cease-fire line (or the Line of Control-LoC) that forcibly divides the region, and its people between India and Pakistan.
The letter called upon the UN member states to exert, and assert their powerful voice for a just resolution of the conflict, based on the legitimate and internationally recognised rights of the Kashmiris. And exhorted these countries to engage within the international fora, such as the United Nations General assembly, the United Nations Human Rights Council-UNHRC, with both India and Pakistan as well as multilateral organisations, for the noble objective of a peaceful and equitable solution of the issue.
In the letter the JKLF strongly reiterated its basic position that the issue of Kashmir’s future status must not be seen within the context of a dispute between India and Pakistan, as Indo-Pak dimensions over the issue since 1947, have rendered the most affected and aggrieved party- the people of Jammu Kashmir- politically and diplomatically invisible within the conflict. The letter added that Kashmiris’ quest for freedom in their own country, has also been inflicted a grievous harm through aggressive diplomacy and economic influence of India, and double standards of powers with vested interests.
In the letter the JKLF went on to add that irrespective of entrenched Indo-Pak positions on the status and reunification of Kashmir, the solution of the issue remains vested in the democratic will of Jammu Kashmir’s 20 million people. And further added that the locus- standai of the people, as the central party in the issue, is not only recognised by the United Nations, but has also been accepted by both India and Pakistan.
The JKLF in its letter included one such example of India’s recognition on the status of Kashmir and, the rights of its people, when on 1st January 1948 at the UNSC… India’s representative declared: “that the question of Kashmir’s future status vis-a vis its neighbours and the world at large, and the question on whether Kashmir 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” UNSC document -Agenda 227.
The JKLF reminded these governments that successive Indian leaders, have reneged on their country’s solemn pledges on Kashmir. The current government in Delhi refuses even to recognise that a popular struggle for justice, democracy and freedom exists, in Jammu Kashmir. Modi government, stated the letter, has spared no effort to malign a peaceful and popular political struggle for freedom. The letter added that in reality, Kashmiris on both sides of the Cease-fire line seek a peaceful solution and wish to see their country become a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan rather than remain a perpetual bone of contention. Kashmiris however, do not have partners in their quest for a negotiated solution on the status of their country.
In its letter the JKLF reminded these countries that Kashmir is one of the most militarised regions of the world. India alone has around 700,000 troops deployed in the territory that it occupies. More than 100,000- civilians have perished at the hands of Indian forces. Indian military operates under an umbrella of laws that provide it with complete impunity. Over the past year alone, Indian army has killed over a hundred civilians, while thousands have been wounded. Use of pellet guns has either totally or partially blinded many hundreds. Innocent and peaceful civilians are used as human shields.
The letter added that the BJP government of Prime Minister Modi has given the Indian army and the Home Minister full authority to crush political dissent in Kashmir within two months.
The letter informed these governments that India and Pakistan have heavy deployment of their forces across the cease-fire line since 1947. As a consequence civilians cannot lead a normal life along the ceasefire line because of danger to their life and livelihood from the opposing forces. Both countries are nuclear powers, and have fought three full scale wars since 1947. Their aggressive deployment creates an environment full of incalculable and catastrophic consequences. A nuclear flare up in the sub-continent could kill as many as two billion people, and devastate the entire region with a nuclear winter that could last for many generations to come.
The letter reminded these countries about the agony endured by separated families who are unable to share joy and grief with loved ones since 1947. Those lucky enough to obtain visas in an intolerable situation, navigate an unbearable bureaucratic security environment that militates against these families. The JKLF letter added that such a situation would not be tolerated in a civilised society. This is exactly why the ‘Iron Curtain’ collapsed in the west. The JKLF in its letter added that Kashmiris seek the same through peaceful means, and want the forcibly imposed border in Jammu Kashmir to end.
The letter reminded governments of these countries that the JKLF leadership is committed to turning Kashmir from a bone of contention to a bridge of peace in South Asia as a considered policy, and a long standing national objective, and stated that a free, sovereign and reunified Jammu Kashmir will truly become a bridge that is vital for peace in the region.
Acting Secretary to the Diplomatic Bureau
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF
119-123 Cannon Street Road
London E1 2LX
Thursday, 29 June 2017
London 29 June 2017:
A delegation of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front’s Diplomatic Bureau, met with officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office-FCO- The delegation led by the head of the Bureau Prof Zafar Khan, included JKLF’s senior leaders Bureau members, Mr Mahmoud Hussain, Mr Tariq Sharif, and General Secretary of JKLF’s British Chapter Sayed Tehsin Gilani. The two hour long meeting involved detailed discussion around the current situation in Indian held Jammu Kashmir, and in particular the ever growing repressive aggression unleashed by the Indian state, and its armed forces against the peaceful dissent of Kashmiri people.
Each of the following points were fully analysed by the head of the delegation who asked the British government to adopt a people centric approach to the Kashmir issue and support the unfettered right of 20 million people of Jammu Kashmir to freedom.
The following are the points that were fully discussed and explained at the meeting with the British FCO.
Historic context of the Kashmir issue- (January 1948)
Kashmir is recognised by the United Nations as an issue whose political status is yet to be determined by its inhabitants on both sides of the cease-fire line (LoC). India and its leadership is in denial of this historic fact. India denies the existence of the Kashmir issue, and claims it to be an integral part of India. India denies the existence of over a dozen UN resolutions on the issue. India refuses to ratify article 1 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and political rights.
Article 1of the ICCPR states that: “All peoples have right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. People of Kashmir feel aggrieved that the United Kingdom supports India’s demand for a permanent seat on the UNSC.
Indian attitude toward Kashmiri dissent is violent and aggressive: PM Modi has given the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Indian army Chief of staff General Bipin Rawat a free hand, to end the Kashmiri dissent in two months. India’s COAS considers hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri dissenters as ‘militants’ and has expressed his desire to use military methods against their peaceful resistance, and dissent against his military’s violence.
Repression by Indian state has become systematic. India is at war with the people of Kashmir. There are hundreds of half widows. There are many thousands of orphans. Thousands of mass graves. There are hundreds of blind and half blind children as a consequence of the use of pellet guns. Indian state wages an undeclared war on the youth of Kashmir.
There is a mass involvement of the people in the movement for freedom. Fourth generation of the Kashmiris is now involved in the struggle for a right to decide the nation’s destiny. India wants to defeat the Kashmiri nation by force. Kashmir is the most militarised country in the world. India has by all accounts well in excess of 700,000 military and paramilitary forces who have a free hand to act in Kashmir. It seems India wants to subdue the will of Kashmir and its people, through the use of brute and unbridle military power.
Harassment of ordinary people through search operations has reached new heights. Demonstrators’ homes are raided at night. Young people in particular are taken away. Kashmiris are being used as human shields by the Indian army. Many recent reports have testified on the excesses and violations committed against the civilians by the Indian state and its forces in Jammu Kashmir.
Among these include, amnesty International 2017, 2015, Human Rights Watch 2016, and others including the State Dept. 2015, International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir 2015 and the Association of Parents of the Disappeared Persons (APDP) and many other international- including British- press and media organisations, regularly report on excesses committed by Indian forces in Kashmir. We expect therefore, that British authorities are informed about India’s unprecedented aggressive attitude towards Kashmiris’ peaceful resistance and their legitimate dissent.
Indian Democracy? India is famed for being world’s largest democracy. Nothing like democracy exists in Indian held Jammu Kashmir. Political leadership is denied its fundamental right to free speech and assembly. Collective resistance Leaders, are subjected to house arrests, and are either lodged in police custody, or as in the case of Mr Yasin Malik, regularly incarcerated at Srinagar Central Jail. Mr Malik was not allowed to offer even Eid prayers on 26 of June. India deliberately stifles a peaceful political movement by not allowing the leadership free expression and movement to engage with the public.
India is embarked upon destroying a popular struggle which was transformed from militancy to a political movement as part of a considered policy by our leadership in the 1990s. Our friends in Britain, and elsewhere had also encouraged us to do so. We expect our British friends therefore, to ensure that Indian repression in the territory does not exceed India’s historic international responsibility in Jammu Kashmir- namely assisting the United Nations- during holding of a plebiscite/ referendum, to decide on the political status of Jammu Kashmir. Indian army therefore, represents a colonial power in Jammu Kashmir today and has surpassed in its oppression of the Kashmiris by any colonial power in history.
The inability and unwillingness of the Modi government to recognise, and accept the legitimate Kashmiri right to political dissent, is inevitably causing frustration with in the youth of Kashmir today. We do not consider it in our interest that our peaceful, and indigenous political movement should once again become a militant one. Indian ‘democracy’ however, exacerbates the situation by giving its forces a licence to kill over and above the existing impunity of action that they already exercise in Jammu Kashmir.
Indian media: The Indian media is so biased, one sided and partisan, that like the Indian government and the military, it also sees in every Kashmiri dissenter, stone pelter, political activist, and resistant leader, a Pakistani. This is a gravest injustice to a nation that has continuously striven to determine its destiny for almost 70 years. The Indian media fails to see that over a hundred thousand civilians have been killed by India’s armed forces since 1988, and the disappeared, the half widows, the orphans, the maimed and the blinded by India’s military forces.
Fact Finding: India has refused access to the U N Human Rights Council to visit Indian held Kashmir, and see for itself the excesses committed against peaceful protesters. Needless. We would expect the British government to support such a fact finding visit of the UNHRC and other humanitarian organisations. We would like to ask HMG to send a fact finding delegation of its own to visit both sides of the cease-fire line (LoC), to determine voracity of our very serious concerns.
Cease-fire line (Line of Control-LoC): Regular incidents, and violations, across the cease-fire line (LoC) take place almost daily between the Indian and Pakistani armies that are deployed eye-ball to eye-ball across hundreds of miles long de-facto line of control. Thousands of Kashmiris along both sides of the cease-fire line have a fundamental right to safety and life. Dozens of fatalities, hundreds of injuries and immense losses to livestock and property take place regularly.
The cease fire line should have no detrimental impact on the free movement of people on both Indian and Pakistani controlled sides of Jammu Kashmir under UN resolution of 21 April 1948. People of Jammu Kashmir can assert this right of movement should they wish to do so and the Indian state has no legal international basis to stop them.
We expect that British High Commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad respectively keep abreast of the dire and repressive situation, not only inside Indian held Kashmir but also of the suffering of civilian population along the cease-fire line (LoC) that forcibly divides 20 million people of Jammu Kashmir.
Head of Diplomatic Bureau
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.