The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been engaged in a peaceful indigenous struggle for the past over six decades to secure their inalienable right to self-determination promised to them by the international community and India through the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions. They have been rendering supreme sacrifices to take their righteous cause to its logical conclusion.

Ironically, India, the so-called largest democracy of the world, is resorting to the worst kind of state terrorism to continue its illegal hold on Kashmir and intimidate the Kashmiris into submission. But despite exhausting all its resources and applying brutal tactics during all these years, it has totally failed to succeed in its nefarious designs.

Indian troops, enjoying impunity under the protection of draconian laws, have been committing gross human rights violations in the occupied territory. Since 1989, when the Kashmiris intensified their liberation struggle, the troops have killed nearly one hundred thousand innocent Kashmiri youth besides subjecting thousands other to custodial disappearance. The continued Indian state terrorism has rendered nearly twenty-three thousand women widowed and more than one hundred thousand children orphaned during this period. The troops have also molested over ten thousand Kashmiri women during the last twenty-four years.

The deplorable aspect of the matter is that none of the Indian soldier or policeman involved in serious crimes in Kashmir has been prosecuted so far, as it requires prior sanction from the Indian government to initiate the process. The impunity prevalent in the occupied territory is quite evident from a recent report released by two prominent rights groups, the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Held Kashmir and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. The organizations analyzed 214 cases and, for the first time, named 500 personnel of army, paramilitary and police – including high rank officials – as well as government-backed militants and associates. The report, which was prepared after a painstaking work of two years using information gathered mostly from official documents, pointed out that no action was taken against these personnel rather many of them were given promotions and awards.

It is a well established fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory. Even New Delhi had acknowledged this disputed character of Kashmir before the UN Security Council over six decades ago and promised that the Kashmiris would be given an opportunity to decide their fate by themselves, but the commitment is yet to be fulfilled.

While Pakistan has always advocated a just and peaceful settlement of the dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiri people, India’s persistent intransigence has remained the main impediment in achieving this objective. Every year, Pakistanis express solidarity with the struggling people of the territory on 5th February and reassure that they are with their Kashmiri brethren in their struggle.

Unfortunately, the international community has failed to fulfill its obligations towards settling the Kashmir dispute, resulting in the continued sufferings of the Kashmiris. This attitude of the world has emboldened New Delhi to carry on its repressive policy in the occupied territory. Even the United Nations, which has played an important role in resolving many disputes across the globe, has not made any serious effort to get its resolutions on Kashmir implemented, putting a question mark on its credibility.

The global community should come forward in a big way and demonstrate its complete solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir by helping them in achieving their right to self-determination. This would ensure durable peace in South Asia, as unresolved Kashmir dispute could trigger a nuclear war between Pakistan and India that could be disastrous for the whole world.

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