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AsiaCurrent

How We Can Help the Kashmiri People: A Look at What the President of Kashmir Has to Say

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AsiaCurrent

How We Can Help the Kashmiri People: A Look at What the President of Kashmir Has to Say

Kashmir needs to be turned into an international issue, in a similar vein as the anti-Apartheid, anti-Fascism, and the Palestine movements. The Kashmir movement needs to grow into a similarly broad-based, coherent, and compelling movement. This will take significant groundwork, and continuous coverage of Kashmir is required.

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Kashmir needs to be turned into an international issue, in a similar vein as the anti-Apartheid, anti-Fascism, and the Palestine movements. The Kashmir movement needs to grow into a similarly broad-based, coherent, and compelling movement. This will take significant groundwork, and continuous coverage of Kashmir is required.

The beautiful and soulful people of Jammu and Kashmir have been under curfew and lockdown since the tyrant Narendra Modi revoked Article 370 last August. Since then, the plight of the Kashmiri people has worsened substantially. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, major world powers offer little more than impotent and indifferent words of hollow consolation.

Who is the President of Jammu and Kashmir?

Speaking at an event organised by the Association of Muslim Lawyers, the President of Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, provided invaluable insight into the situation of his people. President Khan has substantial experience in international politics.

From 2003-05, he was the Spokesperson for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He went on to become Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN from 2005-08. Following this, he became Pakistan’s Ambassador to China from 2008-12. Thereafter, he continued on as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN. In 2016, he was elected as the President of Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to this, he has served as the President of the Conference on Disarmament, among many other international leadership positions.

Obstacles to Progress on Kashmir

Contrary to the claims of Modi and his acolytes, Kashmir is not a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India. President Khan clarified that it is indeed a quadrilateral issue. The four parties involved are; Kashmir, Pakistan, India, and indeed the UN. 

The situation becomes more complex because of the UN’s role. Four (out of five) permanent members of the UN are not willing to move forward with any change in Kashmir. They are the UK, US, France, and Russia. This makes it very difficult to make progress on Kashmir.

Toward a New Bloc of Muslim Countries?

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has generally been supportive of Kashmir. The OIC consists of 57 Muslim countries and claims to act as the collective voice of the Muslim world. Despite this claim, more recently, President Khan remarks that the posturing of the OIC regarding Kashmir has been disappointing.

The most powerful countries in the OIC have ties with India, mainly built upon commercial lines. For example, in 2019, the UAE awarded Modi with the ‘Order of Zayed’, the highest civilian award of the UAE. The UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest exporter of crude oil. For this reason, many of the most powerful countries of the OIC do not want to hold India to account. It is truly a tragedy that the ties of Islam have been usurped by the ephemeral economic gain. 

At the same time, these countries are also close allies of Pakistan. They have been requested, even behind the scenes, to speak to India and to halt the ongoing deliberate demographic transformation. However, they have not been responsive to these requests. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan has gradually moved towards becoming more confident in its foreign policy. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Recep Erdogan have been strengthening ties significantly, amusingly symbolised by the Urdu-dub of the popular TV series Ertugul. Malaysia and Iran are also part of these improving ties with Pakistan and Turkey.

The collaboration of these four countries is leading to discussions around a new bloc of Muslim countries emerging. President Khan thinks that such a bloc could potentially be divisive and disruptive, but they may be able to take a stronger position on Kashmir. 

How can we help?

President Khan was clear that there are no easy answers. This is a difficult situation. He provided some suggestions on how Muslims and indeed the supporters of human rights can help, however.

Kashmir needs to be turned into an international issue, in a similar vein as the anti-Apartheid, anti-Fascism, and the Palestine movements. The Kashmir movement needs to grow into a similarly broad-based, coherent, and compelling movement. This will take significant groundwork, and continuous coverage of Kashmir is required.

The egregious human rights violations being committed by Indian forces need to be continually highlighted in order to galvanise the campaigners. As difficult as this may sound, the existence of comparable movements is a good indicator of what can be achieved. 

Once this movement becomes large enough, the pressure will build on the UN, pushing them towards intervening on the ongoing genocide and land grab. Significant international pressure will be needed; the Kashmiri people are brave, valiant, and beloved to God. But they are unarmed and are being brutalised, tortured, and killed by the 900,000 troops of India. We cannot sit idly by as our brothers and sisters in Kashmir continue to suffer.


References found here on President of AJ&K.

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