Years and decades have passed, but the resolve of the people of Kashmir remains unbreakable. By demanding the right to self-determination, Kashmiris have suffered the worst kind of human rights violations from Indian Occupation Forces for more than 7 decades. These violations include rapes and killings, well documented by the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Around the world, 13 July is observed as the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day in memory of the peaceful Kashmiris who were killed on 13 July 1931 for protesting against persecution of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. The massacre started when one of the protestors began Azan (call) for Zuhr prayer. The police fired bullets at the man, who died instantly. Another man attempted to finish the Azan and was also shot dead on the spot, after which police fired indiscriminately, killing 22 protestors. The courage of those martyrs put in motion an unparalleled struggle for self-determination that continues to date.
The list of Kashmiri martyrs is long and includes children and women. On 8th July, Kashmiris observed the 6th anniversary of one such martyr Burhan Wani, the 22-year boy who galvanized youth against Indian brutalities through social media. Wani was martyred by Indian Occupation Forces, but he continues to inspire the new generation Kashmiris.
India’s illegal and unilateral act on 5 August 2019 to revoke the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), has further deteriorated the humanitarian and human rights situation in the internationally recognized disputed territory of IIOJK. Following the revocation, India has: (i) orchestrated demographic changes in IIOJK; (ii) made a sham delimitation exercise to disenfranchise the Kashmiris; (iii) continued to incarcerate Kashmiri leadership on trumped-up charges, including the sham trial of Yasin Malik and his unjustified sentencing; and, (iv) attempted to project a false sense of ‘normalcy’ in the occupied territory.
India’s disregard for international law and norms is partly due to international community’s silence on India’s human rights violations, guided by their geo-political and geo-economic interests. Like the Palestinians, Kashmiris are suffering from the world’s apathy. India has been using Israeli playbook to unabashedly subjugate Kashmiris and deprive them of their civil, political and human rights.
Pakistan urges the international community to play its due role for a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Mr. Sajid Bilal is the Ambassador of Pakistan to Egypt