Kashmir: morality and Indian denial

Published: August 23, 2016
The writer heads the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad and is author of Pakistan: Pivot of Hizbut Tahrir’s Global Caliphate

The writer heads the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad and is author of Pakistan: Pivot of Hizbut Tahrir’s Global Caliphate

The Maharaja of Kashmir imposed a 12 day curfew between 24 September-5 October in 1931. Two years earlier, the then Prime Minister of Kashmir Sir Albion Banerjee, a non- Kashmiri (non-Muslim) had resigned following disagreement with Maharaja of Kashmir and did not wish to be part of the system. He described the living conditions of Muslims as: “Jammu and Kashmir State is labouring under many disadvantages, with a large Mohammedan population absolutely illiterate, labouring under poverty and very low economic conditions of living in the villages, and particularly governed like dumb driven cattle. There is no touch between the Government and the people, no suitable opportunity for representing grievances… The administration has at present little or no sympathy with the people’s wants and grievances”.

And in 2016 — the elected Muslim Kashmiri representatives, led by Chief Minister, MS Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, helplessly watch their electorate endure curfew for 44 consecutive days, suffer fatal injuries from pellet guns which have killed, maimed and blinded many Kashmiris, including women and children.

Not a single soul had the courage or decency to resign in protest against the wave of violence.

Albion Banerjee resigned on moral grounds. Today this ground is part of international law and people have a Right to Object/refuse on the basis of conscience. Mohammad Ali refused to go to war in Vietnam and many young Israeli soldiers have refused to fire at innocent Palestinians to the chagrin of Israeli government.

To this context Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights wrote a letter to MS Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed Chief Minister on August 21, reminding her of obligations under oath to the people who voted her into power.

The letter reminds that the “Indian army had been granted a temporary admission by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir (based at Srinagar) to perform four duties. The Indian army was also placed under 3 restraints by UN Security Council Resolution of April 21, 1948. The temporary admission is pending adjudication under a UN-supervised plebiscite , also promised by premier Nehru. The temporary admission has “degenerated into an occupation and the army remains at variance to its role identified by late Sheikh Abdullah at the UN Security Council in February 1948,” the letter says.

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly (government), too, remains under the caution of UN Security Council Resolution of 30 March 1951 because it represents only one part of the territory, reaffirmed under the article 48 of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. “You continue to accrue the criminal liability for the erring behaviour of security forces and police,” the Council reminds Ms Saeed, underlining that “by virtue of the chain of command of the erring soldier and the erring integrated security” the Chief Minister is making herself liable for all the crimes and atrocities committed against the people on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir.

The letter goes to insist the Jammu and Kashmir has lost the moral authority to be in office any more and hence should resign and join in the protest of the common man and woman. It also demands to  terminate the bilateral agreement made with government of India, reinstate the visa requirement (Permit System) for  Indian citizens into the State.

Even though coming from reputed Kashmiri jurists, most Indians are likely to laugh these demands off, particularly when scores of them — led by premier Modi — have jumped to equate Balochistan with Kashmir, forgetting that the former is a fully integrated federal unit, with equal constitutional status, unlike Kashmir which remains on the UN agenda with aspecial status in the Indian constitution too union under Article 370.

But given the global geo-political interests, no amount of deaths and invalidities caused by state guns in the Indian Kashmir are likely to shake conscience, particularly when all Kashmiris are being branded as terrorists by all those who insist the state is an integral part of India. None of major powers have winked so far on the spate of violence, either out of apathy or commercial interests tied to India.

This situation serves as a reminder for Pakistan too to collectively work for alleviating grievances and engage with reconcilable Baloch groups. Only through engagement can Pakistan take the sting out of the campaign against state excesses. No harm in admitting mistakes and taking corrective measures in the larger national interest. Also, let the Kashmiris fight it out themselves and remind the world of legal instruments that support their cause. Don’t invoke any jaish or lashkars as they not only dilute the objectives but also discredit a legitimate nationalist movement. 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Raghavan
    Aug 24, 2016 - 12:27AM

    So Imitiaz Gul, For last 26 years, Militants from Pakistan and your intelligence agencies played big part in projecting india as monster and totally alientating kashmiri youth. Now you ask lashkar JeM to forget violence? So will world forget all these impunites committed by militants in last 26 years like Kashmiri pandit ethnic cleansing, some hindu massacres? Recommend

  • Ajeet
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:36AM

    Funny that Pakistanis didn’t have any moral dilemma when they were slaughtering East Pakistanis?Recommend

  • Kolsat
    Aug 24, 2016 - 3:20AM

    Pakistan is the last nation which should talk of morality. The world knows Pakistan as sponsoring terrorism and using it as foreign policy. If Pakistan puts perpetrators of Mumbai and Pathankot attacks in jail and hands over Dawood Ibrahim and stops supporting Islamists in Kashmir then Pakistan can talk of morality otherwise no. Recommend

  • Meri_bhi_sunlo
    Aug 24, 2016 - 3:24AM

    @ raghavan there is is no point ..these article writers are all paid stooges of the pak establishment. They have to write this way to save their own skin or else they will get bumped by the good taliban and good terrorists.
    The irony of pak amuses me to no extent ..a country which morally and physically protects UN designated terrorists and terrorist organisations is asking for the UN to intervene in J&K.omg ROFL.Recommend

  • Abhijeet
    Aug 24, 2016 - 6:58AM

    Ok, so this time around it is a legitimate struggle? What was it all these years since 1989? If Jaish and Lashkar delegitimized the struggle, who then becomes accountable for the over 60,000 Kashmiri lives that have been lost? Is it not Pakistan and it’s proxies then? Recommend

  • chinto
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:01PM

    a very good article. Thank you sir.Recommend

  • whatever
    Aug 24, 2016 - 3:14PM

    and how morality defined if some countries are bombing their own citizen. Are pellets stronger than bullets and bombs from a killer drone? Recommend

  • G. Din
    Aug 24, 2016 - 5:37PM

    Look who is talking about morality! Yes, the same one who double-crossed, double-dealt, double-charged its dear ally (and not being above thievery) while protecting its asset who was a sworn enemy of its ally until that ally went in itself and exposed the fraud that it was perpetrating on its ally. No, it was just waiting for the right price for its asset. Morality? My limping foot!Recommend

  • vinsin
    Aug 24, 2016 - 6:55PM

    So after partition, Muslims are still staying in India, is that moral? Nehru is death so do the people whom he promised. What about author writing article on withdrawal of Pakistan Army from J&K as per UN resolution, in the name of morality? None of the Kashmiri Muslims demanding human rights – they are not out for women rights, child rights, animal rights, religious building and clothing laws. They are also not demanding liberalism.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Aug 24, 2016 - 8:16PM

    I also would love to write a few letters, please tell me where to send them. No love letters, I promise !Recommend

  • cautious
    Aug 25, 2016 - 6:53PM

    Sometimes the correct message doesn’t have meaning because the messenger is considered tainted. India actions in Kashmir deserve scrutiny – but Pakistan isn’t the one that should be leading that charge. Recommend

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