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Rao: They say 'never again' yet, mere conviction is not enough

Press release

SARAJEVO, August 4 (FENA) - There is an ancient Egyptian adage, "One foot isn’t enough to walk with". It seems to apply quite well to the margin between expressing conviction to deter a crime and then actually moving ahead with stopping it from happening. On the global political landscape, the mantra of 'Never Again' has become quite common to signify our common conviction that "Genocides" across the world would not be tolerated anymore, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Bosnia and Herzegovina Muhammad Khalid Rao said in a press statement on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Indian abolition of the special status of the occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the mass forcible imprisonment of Kashmiri people in their homes.

When thousands of innocent Muslims were massacred in Srebrenica in 1995, marking one of the most brutal episodes of our modern history, the world community came forth to condemn this crime against humanity in the strongest of terms. Yet after over two decades, such crimes against humanity continue to haunt us, one wonders as to what value mere conviction carries if not backed by action…

As the Ambassador stated, while the Balkans still shivers with the memories of loss of countless lives during 1990s, another story of Genocide, with viciousness of the perpetrators much more venomous and brutal, continues to unfold in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

"Yet it appears that the world is still waiting for the count of dead and massacred to become countless before hope and conviction of 'Never Again' is preached again while 'standing on the bones of the past'. On 05 August 2021, it would be two years since Kashmiris in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were caged in their own houses, in their own land and forced to live a life which is not as per their choice or will," states Rao, accusing the Indian government of trying to deprive the Kashmiris of their land and identity. 

On 05 August 2019, Indian Government removed even the façade of its so-called civility by abrogating Articles 370 as well as 35 (a) of its own Constitution whereby, not only that the special status granted to the occupied territory was removed but the non-residents from anywhere in India were also allowed to purchase any property in the occupied territory, thus clearing the path for sinister Indian design to change the existing demographic pattern in the IIOJK.

"India also went on to grant the right to settle to thousands of non-Kashmiris by issuing domiciles of Kashmir to them, a practice well categorized by Harvard Law Review as “India’s Settler Colonial Agenda in Kashmir”. All this was done with the clear intention of bringing a forced demographic change in the entire Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, thus turning Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. This constitutes a loss of identity for the poor Kashmiris, the last thing that they hoped to be left with! The gravity of the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir can be gauged from the fact that a global watchdog “Genocide Watch” has reported that 'the systemic state-sponsored discrimination against Kashmiri Muslims bears all the hallmarks of Genocide'. As per the Founding President of Genocide Watch Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, “Indian Government’s actions in Kashmir have been an extreme case of persecution and could very well lead to genocide," the Ambassador Rao said. 

He further stated that since the above illegal actions of 05 August 2019, Indian Government has launched a spree of human rights violations in IIOJK ranging from curfew/lockdown, imposition of harsh and discriminatory restrictions on Muslim-majority areas as well as restraints on the rights to free speech, blocking internet communications, denial of access to information and use of rape as a strategy.

At its end, Pakistan has continued to oppose India’s actions of 05 August 2019 and taken up the issue at all international fora, including the UN Security Council. Pakistan firmly opposes any Indian moves that seek bifurcating IIOJK or bringing any changes to its demographic structure with a view to further diluting the distinct identity of the Kashmiris; and perpetuating Indian occupation of IIOJK. Indian actions to impose a new demographic reality on IIOJK are a clear violation of international law including the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention. These measures have been vocally and vigorously rejected by the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as by the Government and people of Pakistan. India would also be naïve to assume that such demographic engineering would be acceptable for the UN or the world community either, as the UN Resolutions neither allow nor recognize any such attempts.  

Ambassador said that Kashmir, which was earlier a dispute between two nuclear armed countries (India & Pakistan), is now a dispute between three nuclear countries as Indian action of 05 August 2019 has brought in China as they also had claims on a part of area of IIOJK. 

"There is a need for the international community to make India realize that durable peace in South Asia can only be achieved by peacefully resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The unabated Indian repression over the past seven decades, has failed to break the will of the Kashmiri people and India’s futile actions aimed at creating delusions among the global community can never succeed," he said. 

If the world community continues to ignore what is unfolding in IIOJK right now, neither will the Kashmiris forget this behavior nor our future generations.

"Recently (30 July 2021), a group of 15 European Union Parliamentarians have written a letter to the European Commission’s President Ursula Von Der Leyen and Vice President Josep Borrell expressing concern over the gravity of the human rights situation in IIOJK as well as reminding them of the threat that the long-standing dispute of Jammu & Kashmir poses to regional peace and stability. These EU parliamentarians also called upon the European Union to take urgent action to address the above alarming situation. Earlier, the International Human Rights Watch World Report 2021 also brought to global attention; the miseries of innocent Kashmiris in IIOJK. However, mere condemnation is not enough to deal with the ongoing genocide in IIOJK," Ambassador said. 

He also added that in the ultimate analysis, conscience and consciousness has to rise above material benefits.

"There is therefore a dire need that rather than simply harping on the old tune of “Never Again”, the world community comes forward and practically stops India from its brutalities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiris deserve to be given the right to their self-determination. It is not a favor; it is their inalienable right and the sooner the comity of nations recognizes this, the better. The world cannot afford to be “finding forgiveness once again amidst a pile of bones," concludes Pakistani Ambassador to BiH Muhammad Khalid Rao in a press release.