Article: Three years after relegation of statehood of IIOJK

Dr Muhammad Khan

Relegation of Kashmir’s statehood on 05 August 2019 was a worse event than Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir on 27 October 1947.

Lowering the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) into union territories and their annexation with India was illegal, immoral and a blatant violation of international law, UN resolutions and constitution of IIOJK.

Special status of IIOJK under Article 370 of Indian Constitution was a temporary, transitional and provisional arrangement, asserting that Kashmir was not part of India.

This position was to remain effective until people of Kashmir determine their future status through a free and fair plebiscite as per UN resolutions.

In the last over seven decades, the plebiscite could not be held in Jammu and Kashmir only because of Indian perpetual reluctance through a strategy of prolonging the dispute and buying time for changing the nature of dispute.

Relegating the statehood and its annexation into the Indian Union was a clear violation of international covenants and UN resolutions, especially two UNSC resolutions over Kashmir; Resolution No 91 and Resolution No.122.

It is pertinent to mention that Article 370 was to remain valid until conduct of the plebiscite in the state as per UN resolutions.

This article got a conditional acceptance from the Constituent Assembly of IIOJK after which the Assembly was dissolved in 1956/57.

Undoing this Article was to be done by the Constituent Assembly or at least Legislative Assembly of IIOJK which was not done, since India imposed President’s Rule to implement its illegal annexation of the state through unconstitutional ways and means.

By relegating the statehood of IIOJK into union territories, India humiliated the entire Kashmiri nation, Pakistan and UN.

Subsequent to this illegal act, on 01 April 2020, India introduced yet another law for the grant of Kashmiri citizenship to non-Kashmiris, the Indian nationals; a plan to make massive demographic changes in IOJK.

Article 49 of the Fourth (4th) Geneva Convention-1949 provides adequate protection to the local civil population of any occupying territory with respect to the right over their land and security against making any demographic changes in the composition of the original population.

Article 49 (6) of the 4th Geneva Convention exclusively deals with the protection of civil population in the time of war.

Since 1990, the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir has been a war zone with an overwhelming military presence of over 900,000 Indian troops.

Indian security forces have been involved in massive killing of Kashmiri masses with total impunity under repressive Indian laws.

Indeed, IIOJK has the highest troops concentration level in the world with the status of an active war zone.

Article 49 (6) of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer by an occupying power of its own civilian population in the area it occupies or colonizes.

The Article stipulates that the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

By any definition, Indian occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir became an ‘occupied territory’ on the day; Indian Army invaded it on 27 October 1947.

India is a signatory state of the Geneva Convention-1949, therefore bound to observe and follow the Convention in its essence.

Shifting its own population in occupied parts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir clearly aims at making the demographic changes by India.

Indeed, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act-2019 and Adaptation of State Laws Order-2020 are meant to make demographic changes in IIOJK.

The Jammu and Kashmir is an international dispute with over 20 UN resolutions, demanding its solution through a free and fair plebiscite.

How can India devise these strategies in occupied Jammu and Kashmir which is not its part?

Once Article 49(6) clearly prohibits any measure meant for demographic manipulation by any state or an occupying power, how India is manipulating all this in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir while degrading its centuries old status of a state.

From the perspective of international law, Geneva Convention, international covenants, UN Charter and UN resolutions and other human rights laws, Indian occupation of IIOJK and converting and annexing it into Indian Union is illegal and a wilful violation of the international treaties.

From the legal perspective, India cannot change the status of a state under its occupation and whose resolution is pending at the UN.

As an international body, the United Nations has not played an effective and cogent role towards resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

In the post August 5, 2019 developments in IIOJK, UNSC held three closed-door meetings over Kashmir.

Unfortunately, not a single condemnation statement came out from these closed-door meetings against the Indian illegal act.

The permanent five members of UNSC, making the elite club have been found seriously wanting over post 05 August 2019 developments in IIOJK.

International community and UNO are mysteriously quiet over the massive human rights violations taking place in IIOJK.

The UN and elite club could have realized their global responsibilities in the light of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) since India is a violator of human rights and occupying state in IIOJK.

Away from rhetoric, the Government of Pakistan could have approached the United Nations; Human Rights Council, International Court of Justice, ICC and other international forums against illegal acts of India in IIOJK over the relegation of special status of the state, massive human rights violations and demographic changes taking place in occupied parts of the state.

Indeed, in the absence of any worthwhile response from Pakistan, India felt total freedom to terrorize the Kashmiris and further consolidate its illegal occupation over IIOJK.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

Courtesy Pakistan Observer