By Maria Khan.
Just before the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, was about to address to the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly, India had smelled trouble. The Kashmir conflict, like always, was on the agenda and the Prime Minister was all set to present the facts and highlight human rights violations being carried out in Indian Occupied Kashmir. When the Indian side got to know that, a cliché response appeared on the papers uttered by Syed Akbaruddin, India’s permanent representative to the UN, saying that Pakistan ‘will waste time’ with this. (Alright! when you expose their true face and bring forth their atrocities, you are wasting your time because they do not consider people living in the Occupied valley as living beings rather as their slaves and feel they have every right to victimize and torture them).
“Pakistan proposed that United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights send an Inquiry Commission to Occupied Kashmir to verify the nature and extent of India’s human rights violations”
So, the day came when the Prime Minister made his debut address to the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly. Pakistan spoke to the assembly on the 21st of September, 2017. The narrative on Kashmir was presented in a quite convincing manner. Pakistan made a reference to the legitimate struggle for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and laid out an itemised charge sheet against India. The most sensitive and grave items in the charge sheet were use of rape as a state policy, war crimes and violation of Geneva conventions. Pakistan called for an international investigation into India’s crimes in Occupied Kashmir. It proposed that United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights send an inquiry Commission to Occupied Kashmir to verify the nature and extent of India’s human rights violations, secure the punishment of those responsible, and provide justice and relief to the victims. The PM added that “Pakistan remains open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Kashmir, and discuss measures to maintain peace and security”. He called for expeditious steps towards implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir with the appointment of a special envoy to promote a just and peaceful settlement of the festering dispute and “to prevent the situation from a dangerous escalation”.
The Pakistani Prime Minister’s debate was countered by India’s Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj. In her address to the United Nations General Assembly, she kept on beating around the bush. The only point around which her reply was constructed was that Pakistan is sponsoring and exporting terrorism. The country, which has suffered huge losses in war on terror is being accused of sponsoring and exporting terrorism! Hah! Strange. Sushma Swaraj’s speech only reflected hatred towards Pakistan, with an arrogant assumption that the world community accepts India’s diagnosis that Pakistan is a terrorist state. She didn’t mention any justification of Indian atrocities in Kashmir or the Indian disregard of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir and didn’t respond to Pakistan’s offer to hold a dialogue over Kashmir. She only focused on declaring Pakistan a terrorist state in a horrendous manner. But Oh Dear Sushma! The world does not move on your ‘desired’ commands. The world knows and acknowledges Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terrorism and efforts for promoting peace in the region.
“Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi termed India as ‘The Mother of Terrorism in South Asia’ and exposing the Indian brutalities in Occupied Kashmir”
Recently, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi has been criticized for showing the picture of a Gaza girl, Rawia Abu Joma’a, a 17-year-old girl injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza city in 2014, in place of Kashmiri victim of pellet gun while terming India as ‘The Mother of Terrorism in South Asia’ and exposing the Indian brutalities in Occupied Kashmir. The Indian media went nuts on the Gaza girl’s picture. So what? If the picture was not of Insha Malik – a 14-year-old student from Sedow Shopian who lost her sight in both eyes due to Pellet Gun firing by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir on July 12, 2016 but of Rawia Abu Joma’a, who was being injuired by Israeli airstrikes? The agony is the same. The trauma is no different. The suffering is similar. Both Insha and Rawia have been victims of the brutality of an external force. A force that has occupied ‘their’ land and is illegally taking hold of it by the use of coercive powers. Both India and Israel are the two sides of the same coin. Their barbarity and blood-thirstiness in the lands they have occupied is alike.
Although Pakistan presented the case of Kashmir in the United Nations in a quite convincing manner that pleased national sentiment but India, as always, has come up with accusatory remarks, taunts and allegations on Pakistan thus trying to project a negative image of Pakistan globally. The thing is that our narrative on Kashmir is quite a stronger one but we should be aware that the war of words over Kashmir will not do much good to the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir. Practical measures should be taken to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan will always give prominence to the Kashmir conflict so that it remains alive but, the United Nations need to play its part in resolution of the longest – unresolved – pending issue on its papers.
If it’s not in news, that doesn’t mean that things in Indian Occupied Kashmir are moving towards normalcy. The situation is grave and the war of words over Kashmir will only add fuel to fire. Let us all pray that the United Nations and other flag bearers of humanity wake up from their deep slumber and take constructive measures to end Indian oppression in Occupied Kashmir and let the people of Kashmir decide their future.
Student of Media and Communication Studies and Lobbyist at Youth Forum for Kashmir. firstname.lastname@example.org