The freedom struggle of 9 million Kashmiris against occupiers is a great example of perseverance and unyielding courage, Pakistan’s ambassador to Türkiye said Monday.
Speaking at a panel in the Turkish capital Ankara, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Türkiye, Mohammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, said “the Kashmiri freedom struggle is a classic example of unprecedented oppression by the world’s second largest state on one side and unyielding courage, resolve, determination and perseverance by over 9 million innocent people on the other.”
The Ankara-based think-tank the Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) organized a panel titled “Kashmir with its legal dimension from past to present.”
“Kashmir remains one of the longest lasting situations of foreign occupation, like Palestine, and the longest unresolved issue on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council,” he said.
Touching on the roots of the conflict, which has lasted more than seven decades, Qazi said the dispute has its origins in “the partition of British India in 1947 into Pakistan and present-day India.”
The British Raj, which ruled the Indian sub-continent from 1858 to 1947, came up with the idea of a partition based on faith and territory.
“As per the partition formula, geographically contiguous Muslim majority areas were to form an independent country, Pakistan, and Hindu majority areas to remain with India,” he said.
Qazi further said that despite the fact that Kashmir was “overwhelmingly Muslim and shared a much longer boundary with Pakistan than India, the unelected absolute ruler of Kashmir decided to accede to India by concluding an ‘instrument of accession’ of patent illegality and dubious provenance.”
The then-ruler’s decision to accede to India, which was “against the wishes of people,” led to violent protests across Jamu and Kashmir, he said.
-UN resolutions on long-lasting conflict
The UN Security Council has adopted several resolutions to resolve the Kashmir dispute peacefully.
While with the first resolution, which was adopted on Jan. 17, 1948, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) was established, the second Security Council resolution offered a UN supervised plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to let the people determine their fate.
On the matter, Qazi said “sham elections were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir and the Constituent Assembly was established in 1951 to create a constitution for Kashmir.”
Referring to UN Resolution 122 adopted on Jan. 24, 1957, Qazi said the UN passed it “to counter further Indian tricks to give legal cover to the illegal accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.”
“Despite repeated attempts, no meaningful progress was made by the international community towards the implementation of these resolutions, leading India to exploit this collective failure and resort to state terrorism to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people,” he added.
-‘640 Kashmiris martyred’ in three years
Another defining moment for the Kashmiri struggle was on Aug. 5, 2019, when India’s parliament passed a resolution to revoke the autonomous status with special rights and privileges of India-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Commenting on India’s decision to revoke Articles 35A and 370, Qazi said “the move was not only in contravention to the Indian Constitution but also reflected a renunciation of the democratic, federalist and secular ideals that India has projected itself with for so long.”
He said since India’s move in August 2019, “640 Kashmiris have been martyred by Indian occupation forces in fake encounters and extra-judicial operations.”
Pointing out that India seeks a “strategy of military occupation and demographic change of the region by land confiscation,” Qazi further noted that “so far, India has issued more than 4.2 million illegal domicile certificates to non-Kashmiri settlers to obliterate the Kashmiri identity.”
These moves are in violation of the UN Charter, the Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 49) and UNSC resolutions, according to Qazi.
He thanked the Turkish government and people of Türkiye for the support and solidarity they give to Kashmiris.
For his part, Dr. Guray Alpar, president of the Institute of Strategic Thinking, said “Kashmir is a problem for all of us as people. As long as the problem is not resolved according to the decision made by international law, the people will continue to suffer.”
Alpar said Türkiye stands with those who are right, adding “we can’t just see people in pain and pretend nothing happened.”
“We need to understand Kashmir and tell it to everyone. Only then will the doors of a better world be opened to all of us.”