Pakistan brought the Indian atrocities into the limelight

As part of Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to draw the attention of the international community to the alarming situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK), Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has addressed a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, on 31 May 2022.

The letter apprises the Secretary-General of the circumstances of Mr. Yasin Malik’s conviction in a manifestly dubious and politically motivated case filed by the Indian National Investigation Agency, his chronic ailments, and the ruthless treatment meted out to him in Indian jails. It also highlights that the incarceration of Mr. Yasin Malik, his sham trial on concocted charges, his malicious conviction, and the attempt to portray the legitimate freedom struggle of the Kashmiris as terrorism, illustrates India’s blatant disregard of its international legal obligations.

The Foreign Minister underscored that the malicious trial and conviction of Mr. Yasin Malik was a part of the Indian government’s ongoing attempts to persecute and repress the Kashmiris and their leadership and to implicate them in fictitious and motivated cases.

He noted that by denying a fair trial to Mr. Malik, arbitrarily detaining him, and meting inhumane treatment to him in jail since 2019, India is in contravention of international human rights law, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

He also cautioned that in line with the well-documented pattern of Indian behavior, there was a credible risk of “custodial murder” in the case of Mr. Yasin Malik.

The Foreign Minister urged the Secretary-General to play his role in promoting a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions; and called upon the international community to:

i. Take immediate cognizance of India’s outrageous targeting of indigenous Kashmiri leadership through motivated cases;

ii. Prevail upon India to dismiss all the baseless charges against Mr. Yasin Malik and ensure his immediate release from prison;

iii. Urge India to release all other Kashmiri leaders incarcerated on trumped-up charges and allow the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own future through a free and impartial UN-sponsored plebiscite as prescribed in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions;

iv. Compel and counsel India to end its egregious violations of human rights against the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and implement the recommendations of the two OHCHR Kashmir Reports;

v. Prevail upon India to repeal draconian laws including UAPA, accept an UN-supervised investigation into the human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, allow access to independent monitors for assessment of the ground situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and to allow the Kashmiris to determine their own future through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

In fact, MAY 25, 2022 will be written as a Black Day in the history of the International Human Rights and Justice System, when a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in the Indian capital New Delhi announced a verdict on an iconic Kashmiri pro-independence leader Yasin Malik to life imprisonment in a ‘terror’ funding case.

Though the Hindutva supporters pressurized the court to hang him till death since he was not guilty they couldn’t do it.

The charges against him included sections 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organization) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC.

But how long Hindutva can sit on the existing verdict. Yasin Malik told the court that he was not contesting the charges leveled against him because he never accepted his crime and still stands by his words such as “I was arrested within 30 minutes of Burhan Wani’s encounter and Atal Bihari Vajpayee allotted me a passport and allowed me to make a statement because I was not a criminal”.

Yasin further stated that if seeking Azadi [freedom] is a crime, then I am ready to accept this crime and its consequences.

His wife Mushaal Hussein Malik tweeted that “they can give all the verdicts they want. It won’t stop us from fighting for our Azadi, our freedom.

I’ll continue this struggle till my last breath and then my daughter will continue this fight. And we will fight for generations till we are given our rights”.

But here the question is what happened that Yasin Malik ended up in the Indian jail and how he was held accountable for something he never was involved in.

In 2017, National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case of terror funding against various separatist leaders including Yasin Malik and in April 2019, NIA arrested Yasin.

In March 2020, he was charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), the Arms Act 1959, and Ranbir Penal Code for the attack on 40 Indian Air Force personnel in Rawalpora, Srinagar on January 25, 1990.

In March 2022, a Delhi court reviewed the evidence and ordered the framing of charges against him under the stringent UAPA and Indian Penal Code.

But this is not the first time India is arresting and detained innocent Kashmiris that have been demanding their right to self-determination since 1947, as mandated by a number of UN Security Council resolutions.

According to credible media as well as human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and People’s Unions for Civil Liberties reports, an estimated 4,000 – 13,000 people have been detained since 5 August 2019 in addition to those who have been languishing in jail for years for expressing their dissent to India’s occupation.

The recent amendments on 5 August 2019 when India de-operationalized the “special status” of Jammu and Kashmir that was enshrined in Article 370 of the Indian constitution, provided a futile ground to the Modi regime to harass and punish Kashmiris openly and legally with zero pressure from the international community and UN.

Kashmiris have termed this ‘unilateral action’ as an attempt by the Hindu-nationalist government of PM Narendra Modi to change the legal status of a territory that remains disputed in the international arena and to bring about demographic changes in the region.

This demographic change would involve making the Muslim-majority region into a Hindu-majority, to render any possible solution to the dispute obsolete.

This decision of the Indian government violates various regional and international treaties and constitutional agreements.

With this India is in violation of its obligations under the Geneva Convention. The detention of Yasin Malik violates India’s international legal obligations, customary international law, and jus cogent norms.

During detention, his wife and child are not allowed to meet him – this is again against the set judicial norms and fundamental rights.

A simple demarche along with strong condemnation by the Foreign Office of Pakistan such as demanding “the Government of India for acquittal of Malik from all “baseless” charges and immediate release from prison so that he can be reunited with his family, recuperate his health and return to normal life” is not sufficient.

It is urged that the case be discussed in the UN and International Court of Justice – bring it into the limelight of the Muslim World forum and appeal for Yasin Malik’s release and other innocent Kashmiris without any condition.

Are they children of lesser gods? Why is blatant human rights violation in Palestine and Kashmir acceptable to the champions of human rights? Their inaction highlights that human rights organizations are also infected with racial discrimination. When poor Palestinians and Kashmiris are looking toward the champions of human rights but where are they looking?

The world has turned merciless under the umbrella of human rights champions to decide whose life is important or whose not. Very unfortunate!

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