Kashmir is a flashpoint, Mushaal reminds the global community

  0 comments   |     by Iftikhar A Khan

“People in Kashmir have been deprived of the right to live, the right to eat and the right to educate their children”.

MUSHAAL Hussein Mullick, chair person the of Pakistan Peace and Culture Orga n i sation (PPCO) and wife of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik who is currently languishing in a small cage-like death cell, while voicing serious concern over one of the worst humanitarian crises prevailing in Indian-occupied Kashmir, has urged the United Nations to immediately airdrop food stock and medicines in the under-siege territory. During an exclusive interview with Dawn Supplements here, she also observed that the UN should send a fact-fi nding mission to occupied Kashmir, deploy peace-keeping forces there and appoint an envoy on Kashmir. She said the United Nations should refer the matter to International Court of Justice (ICJ). She said Pakistan should also explore all legal options, including approaches to ICJ and the International Criminal Court. Referring to the lockdown of Kashmir after the controversial revocation of Article 370 by India, she said the situation was extremely alarming and it was time for the international community to act. About Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address at the United Nations, she said he made a powerful speech straight from the heart, but observed that the Prime Minister should have also given a timeline of 48 to 72 hours to the international community to act. She said an opportunity had arisen where Pakistan could have fl agged for the attention of General Assembly that the present action of Modi government in occupied Kashmir and the latest build-up of Indian army were a direct violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 91 of March 30, 1951, and UN Security Council Resolution 47 of April 21, 1948. She noted that the government of India through this military build-up had violated relevant parts of UNSC Resolution 47, setting out the number, behaviour and location of Indian army in the disputed part of Jammu and Kashmir. “The situation had opened a niche for Pakistan to push its proposal of January 16, 1957, of sending a UN force into Kashmir. Pakistan’s proposal had been backed by United States, Australia, Cuba, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in resolution S/3787 on February 14, 1957,” she said. She also said that it had been argued at the 773rd meeting of the UN Security Council on February 20, 1957, that sovereignty of India or of Pakistan is not involved in sending UN peace-keeping force to Jammu and Kashmir. Ms Mullick said UN Security Council Resolution 47 guaranteed “the freedom of lawful entry and exit” across the ceasefi re line of a Kashmiri citizen. Taking humanitarian assistance or crossing into occupied Kashmir to fi nd about the welfare of their families constitutes a ‘lawful entry and exit’. “Pakistan might have been better off testing and forcing the UN General Assembly to consider the rights guaranteed to Kashmiris under these UN Resolutions,” she remarked. She said over 2.2 million people want to cross the Line of Control (LoC). She noted that there was a big burden on the Government of Azad Kashmir because people were desperate to go to the other side to provide humanitarian assistance to their brothers and sisters on the other side of the divide. She pointed out that there were so many divided families. When asked to comment on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s advice to the people of Azad Kashmir not to cross the LoC, she said he is saying it because the sadist Indian leadership seeks pleasure in shooting defenceless unarmed people. “It’s going to be blood of Kashmiris on both sides. He rightly fears that. But I think he should demand the UN to send its peace-keeping troops,” she suggested. She said over a dozen UN resolutions were there. These had not expired and cannot be unilaterally set aside as India had done through a stroke of President’s pen. Mushaal Mullick said India appeared to be hell-bent on wiping out Kashmiri leadership. “God forbid, if the main leadership which calls the shots there is eliminated and then the world community decides to play an effective role in resolving the issue, do you think the people will put their trust in them,” she asked. She said India wanted its rudderless movement but stressed that the key to the resolution lies with the Kashmiri leadership. She said in such a situation it would become impossible to resolve the Kashmir issue ever. Ms Mullick said the immediate demand should be lifting of army curfew, de-militarisation and plebiscite or referendum — whatever the Kashmiris want — and UN peace-keeping forces for that. “Otherwise I see no hope. I see a war,” she remarked. She recalled that 60 years of negotiations and different forms of bilateral agreements between the two parties had never yielded any result. Terming Kashmir as a dangerous nuclear fl ashpoint, she said the world community must realise the gravity of the situation as a war, if it breaks out between two South Asian nuclear-armed rivals, would affect the world at large. When asked to comment on the demand of AJK Prime Minister and some leaders of politico-religious groups of Pakistan that Pakistan should send its troops to Indian-held Kashmir, she said: “I will be the last person to say that because I believe in peace and peaceful resolution.” She, however, regretted that peace has not been given a chance by the Indian state. She said it was India which started it. It was India which started a fullfl edged war in occupied Kashmir and was now overtly threatening to capture Azad Kashmir. “They have the goal of Akhand Bharat (Greater India),” she said. She also referred to the incident of February 26 when Pakistan had shot down an Indian plane and captured a Continued on Page III

Continued from Page I pilot, saying that it was clearly an act of war. “Pakistan at that time had a strong case to take to the United Nations,” she observed. She said the deadliest prolonged curfew had entered its third month and it was unimaginable to think how people were surviving. She said that due to the Indian behaviour in the past, the people of occupied Kashmir were in the habit of stockpiling dry food items and essential medicines. “But how long can these stocks last,” she wondered. She recalled that in 2010, when she was in Srinagar, India had closed down Jammu and Kashmir during Amarnath yatra row for over a month. She said there was a curfew and economic blockade. “I remember that suckling babies died because they could not get milk. The peaceful protestors had been attacked by Indian forces,” she recalled. She said things had gone from bad to worse since Modi had came to power. “Right now there is a blanket ban on political mobilisation,” Ms Mullick argued. She said: “People have been deprived of the right to live, the right to eat and the right to educate their children. There is a complete claustrophobia. You cannot even breathe because there is tear gas shelling going on all the time. People on dialysis, cardiac patients and others suffering from serious ailments cannot go to hospitals. There was a dearth of food and medicines. They are snatching away the licenses of all the Jammu and Kashmir lawyers in the occupied valley and have given them a maximum timeline of a year.” She said though the blackout made it impossible to get complete information of all that was happening in occ upied Kashmir, horrifying tales were still coming out. “I have heard people are starving to death. Human beings are perishable and cannot live without oxygen, food and water,” she rem arked. She said now Indian forces were entering the houses and forcing people to leave their homes. She said there was a complete ban on political freedom. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leadership had been locked up. She said her husband Yasin Malik, who is the chief of JKLF, was facing the worst wrath of Indian authorities as he had been put in solitary confi nement in a 5x7 feet death cell. She said that according to a delegation of lawyers that had met him, there was no mattress and he had to sleep on hard cemented fl oor.

She said he had develped ear infection and clots in his eyes because high voltage bulbs continued to dazzle over his head all the time to make sure he could not sleep. She said unhygienic food was being supplied to him. He is a chronic kidney patient, with stones in his kidney. She said doctors advise such patients to avoid eating pulses, but he gets pulses on a daily basis and that too with ‘sukhi roti’ and contaminated water. When asked if all the APHC leaders were being meted out the same treatment, she said none of others were in solitary confi nement or being tortured like that. She said Yasin Malik had also been tortured by the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIH) in April this year when he went on a 14-day hunger strike to protest against unlawful investigation and interrogation. She said he was facing the worst due to multiple factors, but the main reason was that he was the architect of Kashmiri leadership’s unity. She said he was the one who had launched quit Kashmir campaign during the fi rst tenure of Modi. Answering a question, she said the RSS should be banned for being a terrorist organisation. She said she had been attacked by RSS in Ajmair Sharif somewhere in 2010-11. When asked to comment on US President’s offer to mediate on Kash mir, she said the United States had an important role in P-5. She noted that all P-5 countries should be involved to get the relevant UN resolutions on Kashmir implemented.

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