Statement by Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, at the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir
New York; 25 September 2019
Honourable Secretary General,
Honourable Foreign Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
At this forum, I speak on behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Last time I spoke at this forum in Jeddah on February 26, India had launched an air attack on Pakistan’s territory. Last month, on August 5, India invaded the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir with full force. It added 180,000 troops to the already deployed 700,000 troops to lay a blanket siege on the occupied territory and impose a security lockdown and communication blockade.
Today is the 52nd day of siege and telecommunications blackout in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Gun-toting soldiers patrol deserted streets. People have been deprived of food, water and medicine. Families are encaged in their houses. Children cannot go to schools. That’s not all. Peaceful demonstrations against Indian actions are being quelled with the use of live ammunition and pellet-firing shotguns. Young men are being blinded. Thousands of Kashmiri lawmakers, political activists, businessmen, lawyers, students and teachers have been detained and tortured. Children as young as 12, 13 and 14 have also been picked up. Worst forms of torture – waterboarding, electric shocks, beatings with cables and rods, feeding feces – are being used against the detainees. The bulk of the detainees have been shifted to the most notorious Indian prisons and most of the detainees are incommunicado; and their relatives are running from pillar to post to track their whereabouts spending huge, unaffordable sums. In midnight raids Indian soldiers attack residents of the houses, kick and insult the elderly and threaten women with rape and molestation. They have objectified women and are telling them that they are spoils of war after India’s victory over Kashmir. There is a human rights and humanitarian crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is not what I am saying. All this has been documented and substantiated by leading media networks and human rights organizations, despite all restrictions. What we are hearing is the tip of the iceberg. The reality is much uglier and much more sinister.
Violating international law, on August 5, India committed aggression against the people of the occupied Kashmir, bifurcated the territory and forcibly annexed it to the Indian state, against the will of the Kashmiris. In doing so, India has also violated the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and international humanitarian law. Contravening the Fourth Geneva Convention, India has announced that it would transfer Hindu population from India to Jammu and Kashmir to alter the demography of the territory. ICC Statute calls this a war crime.
What’s more, Indian leaders have threatened to attack Azad Kashmir and disintegrate Pakistan. In recent months, India’s shelling across the Line of Control has killed 35 civilians and critically injured 166. It has violations ceasefire agreement 2 249 times.
In IOK, anybody who resists Indian aggression is called a terrorist. Anybody who demands self-determination is called a traitor. India is pushing the region to the brink of war and is threatening Pakistan with the use of nuclear weapons. The stakes are very high for the region and the world at large.
All this aggression and state-terror is being driven by the fascist Hindutva doctrine, which has vowed that it would wipe out Muslims from South Asia. Hindu violent extremist organizations are cheering and applauding these anti-Muslim campaigns, while many segments of the Indian society have dissociated themselves from such criminal acts.
Today it is the civilized world’s responsibility to stop this rise of fascism which threatens not only South Asia but the entire human civilization.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been demanding their right to self-determination for the past 72 years but the international community has left them, so culpably, at the mercy of the Indian occupiers and tormentors for whom killing Kashmiris is fair game. And the world chooses to look the other way. For the past 72 years, we have knocked on every door and informed how the people of Kashmir are being killed, blinded, tortured, maimed, disappeared and incarcerated. The numbers are staggering. With nearly half a million killed, more than 11, 000 women raped, thousands of disappearances, and 6,000 unmarked mass graves, Kashmir is a human rights wasteland. The figures are piling up.
Over the years, we have appealed to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to come to our rescue and we have been appealing to the UN Security Council, year after year after year, to stop the genocide, carnage and ethnic cleansing happening before their eyes. Genocide Watch has already confirmed the threat. But nobody has come to our rescue. Kashmiris have been robbed of their right to self-defense. Kashmir’s entire civilian population is waging a peaceful struggle against 900,000 heavily armed occupation troops.
Where is the conscience of world and where is the law of the world? Why is the Security Council not stepping forward to intervene in the Jammu and Kashmir territory to implement its own resolutions and give justice to its people when it has been so active in East Timor, South Sudan, Yemen, Mali, Central African Republic and Crimea? Why these double standards? How long will this charade of Indian killing sprees, Kashmiris’ protests and the international community’s apathy will remain a fixture of global politics? While powerful nations explore lucrative markets and economic opportunities in India, the Kashmiris continue to be subjected to India’s terrorism and the Indian Prime Minister continues to be rewarded for his crimes against humanity. Is this not complicity? Is the world order crumbling?
Let me be clear: there are three parties to the dispute – Pakistan, India and Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan and Kashmiris would not take this lying down. We will react. It is our firm belief that our moral high ground on dialogue and diplomacy would defeat Indian state-terrorism in IOK. Rest assured the Kashmiris would not be passive spectators to their own demise and extinction. We, the Kashmiris, have waged this struggle for freedom, liberty and self-determination for the past 200 years. Though unarmed, the valiant and resilient people of Jammu and Kashmir have vowed that they would oppose India and liberate their people and land from its occupation.
Through this OIC Contact Group we make the following demands to the international community:
The UN Security Council should immediately convene its meetings and continue to meet regularly until it decides to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir under Chapters VI and VII of the UN Charter to stop Indian aggression and to firmly reject India’s colonial rule and foreign occupation in one part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Security Council should activate a process to find a final and just solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance to its own resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
The Security Council should take cognizance of the aggressive statements made by India, the region and avert a devastating war that could escalate to a nuclear level.
We advise the UN Secretary General to not equivocate but to make a clear call for an end to curfews and communication blockades in IOK, restoration of civil liberties and fundamental freedoms, and release of political prisoners and human rights activists.
We also call upon the UN Secretary General that, acting under Article 99, he may appoint a Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir who could assist the Security Council in creating an environment for bringing an end to repression in IOK and open doors for multilateral diplomacy to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
We call upon the Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to monitor and report on the Indian human rights violations in IOK and to regularity update the Council
We also request the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs to make an appeal to the world for launching a humanitarian corridor to address the humanitarian catastrophe in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir through rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.
With 44 experts on Mission, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan is one of the smallest UN peacekeeping missions. Its mandate should be revisited to strengthen it; and number of peacekeepers should be increased in view of the deteriorating peace and security situation.
We request the OIC leadership to project the voice of Kashmiris to the UN Secretary General and UN Secretary Council and urge them for immediate interventions in order to avert a bigger crisis not just for the Kashmiris and South Asia but for the entire globe.
In accordance with its own Human Rights Commission’s recommendations, the OIC should lead a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against India.
For the Kashmiris it is now or never. They have to act now or face their own annihilation. The Indian government has made its intentions clear. It wants to eliminate the Kashmiris through a slow moving genocide. The world has a stark moral choice; to stand idly by as 9 million Kashmiri Muslims are systematically butchered to repeat the holocaust of the last century; or to stand up with the people of Kashmir to save them and save humanity. My appeal to you: Save Kashmiris, Save Kashmir, and Save the world from the scourge of war.