“August 5, 2019 was not only an assault on Kashmiri identity but also an assault on UN Security Council resolutions to which India too is a party, bilateral agreement where it was decided between India and Pakistan that issue of Kashmir will be resolved through peaceful means, and also an assault on human rights recognised by international law and UN charter”. This was stated by Senator MushahidHussain Syed during the seminar titled “August 5, 2019 – An Assault on Kashmiri identity” organised by India Study Centre at Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI)to mark the events of August 5, 2019 when India unilaterally revoked Article 370 and 35 A of Indian constitution.
Senator Mushahid elaborated that India has adopted 3D approach towards Pakistan i.e. damage, demonize and destabilise Pakistan. Bashing Muslims inside India and Pakistan in international forums is India’s policy. He saluted the resilience shown by the Kashmiris for the past more than seven decades. He expressed his disappointment that the option of Lawfare has not been utilized. He also cautioned against starting trade with India as that country does not mean well for Pakistan which is evident from the fact that every terrorist act meant to sabotage CPEC and China -Pakistan relations has its roots in cross border terrorism sponsored by RAW.
Earlier, in his introductory remarks, Director India Study Centre Dr. Arshad Ali said that for the past seventy-five years, India has resorted to ruthless oppression and grave human rights violations with impunity against the Kashmiri people, to deny them their right to self-determination. The human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmirhas further deteriorated after August 5, 2019.Since then, the brutality of Indian forces has resulted in the killing of more than 640 innocent Kashmiris, including over 120 through extrajudicial killings this year alone. Prominent Kashmiri leaders have been detained in Indian jails or are under house arrest.
Director General ISSI Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry while welcoming the guests said Kashmiris had been resisting first Dogra rule and later Indian rule. But on August 5, 2019, India made a very sinister move. The very identity of Kashmiri people was assaulted which had never happened before. The current disposition in India went against the promises made by not only Nehru but AtalBihari Vajpayee who raised the slogan of Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat (humanity) and Jamhuriyat (democracy). He stressed the fact that Pakistan has always stood with its Kashmiri brethren and will continue to do so.
Dr.KaleemAbbasi, Vice Chancellor, University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir was of the view that August 5, 2019 was the darkest day in the history of Kashmir. By revoking Article 370 and 35 A, India has put the entire region in turmoil. By revoking Article 35 A and subsequently introducing domicile law, India wishes to bring about a demographic change in Kashmir. The whole exercise of delimitation was also carried out with the intention of reducing Muslim representation and increasing Hindu representation. He warned that the silence in Indian occupied Kashmir should not be mistaken as acceptance by the Kashmiri people. He also expressed his disappointment that current economic and political unrest in Pakistan is detrimental to the Kashmir cause.
Dr. Waleed Rasul, Director General, Institute of Multi-Track Dialogue said that there is a game between hope and despair as Kashmiris have survived their struggle despite all odds. He expressed his concern that by 2027, Indian population will surpass China and at that time, it would be difficult for international community to not include India as a permanent member of United Nations Security Council. India is also one of the biggest buyer of weapons and by 2032, India will be the fourth biggest economy of the world. All these facts are to be kept in mind by policy makers.
Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, former Chief Justice of the Gambia and elected International Judge of the United Nation said that war is no more option and therefore, fighting a legal battle is the alternative. Mass atrocities, that include rape, genocide, ethnic cleansing in Kashmir are a matter of routine. The state of Pakistan has the option to take the issue to ICJ. Another possibility is invoking “Responsibility to Protect”. Referring to the constitution of Azad Jammu and Kashmir which states to agitate the issue and consolidate the gains made so far, Justice Chowhan suggested that government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir should take the issue to international forums.
The event was attended by large audience that included people from different walks of life. The most prominent among the audience were the young students from different universities eager to know more about Kashmir dispute and its implications for the regional peace.