WEB DESK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the National Security Council’s long overdue meeting on Friday. Although initially scheduled to discuss the border tensions with Afghanistan and some internal security issues, sudden escalation of violence in the Indian Occupied Kashmir dominated deliberations of the meeting attended by the top brass and the PM’s senior advisers and cabinet colleagues.
Various steps taken by the government to draw the world attention to the situation were endorsed and the UN urged to fulfil its commitments towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, July 20 was observed as the Black Day to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people facing incessant state violence. Unfortunately, however, the controversial leader of the Jamaat ud Dawa, Hafiz Saeed, who is on the US’ wanted list, was allowed along with some others, to mark the day by leading a Lahore to Islamabad rally. That did more harm than good to the Kashmir cause, providing an opportunity to New Delhi to try and accuse Pakistan of instigating trouble in the Valley.
What is going on in the Occupied Kashmir clearly is an indigenous movement. The July 8 killing by the Indian security forces of a young resistance fighter, Burhan Wani, has triggered an uprising that even some in India had predicted was waiting to happen. Despite a two-week long curfew, wide-scale protests against Indian rule continue at least 48 people, mostly young men and teen-aged boys, have been killed and over 300 injured in clashes with security forces. Meanwhile, suppression methods have included the lethal use of pellet guns.
Over the past fortnight, as many as 70 people are reported to have become blind and many others lost sight in one eye due to pellet injuries. Sadly, the Facebook, in a blatant attempt not to upset New Delhi, has decided to compromise its much-touted openness and impartiality standards by blocking posts featuring Indian brutalities. According to AFP, a number of Facebook users, including academics, in Held Kashmir, the US, Britain, Pakistan as well as India have complained that their postings on the situation have been removed or their profiles permanently deleted citing “violation of community standards.” Some of the affectees have moved a petition pointing out that “none of the posts removed has violated the Facebook’s community standards of hate speech or incitement to violence, but have only portrayed violence perpetrated against the Kashmiri people.”
Pakistan has a moral obligation, as a party to the Kashmir dispute, to raise its voice against the brutal suppression. The Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has written letters to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the president of the UN Security Council, and Secretary-General of the OIC, drawing attention to the suffering of the Kashmiri people and violation of their fundamental human rights.
He has also asked the UN Human Rights Council to send its investigation team to Held Kashmir and also stop India from using pellet guns against the protesters. As always, Ban Ki-moon has offered to mediate provided the two countries ask for it. India, insistent that Kashmir is an internal matter, of course, is not going to do that. The US has expressed concern over the developments, but is not expected to publicly pressure its ‘strategic partner’ to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of its people.
Still, Washington will not like to see the situation get out of control. The best and effective option for Islamabad to pursue is to stay focused on highlighting the gravity of human rights situation.
Source: Business Recorder