In message to mark anniversary of global body promising plebiscite for disputed region, P.M. reiterates Delhi’s human rights abuses
The date of Jan. 5 serves as an annual reminder for the international community to honor the U.N.’s commitment of a free and impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir and allow them the right to self-determination, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday.
In a message issued to mark Right to Self-Determination Day, Khan said Pakistan was ready to play its role in ensuring the undertaking of a plebiscite in line with U.N. commitments. On Jan. 5, 1949, the U.N. passed a resolution recognizing the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the global body. Each year, residents on both sides of the Line of Control mark this day as the Right to Self-Determination Day.
Khan said the importance of the inalienable right to self-determination has been acknowledged in all important human rights covenants and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. Due to Indian intransigence, the U.N. Security Council has failed to fulfill its pledge to the Kashmiri people, he added.
The prime minister said India-held Jammu and Kashmir had been under illegal occupation for over 72 years, with Delhi’s brutality intensifying after it scrapped the disputed region’s special autonomy on Aug. 5, 2019. “Around 900,000 occupation forces have converted the region into the largest prison in the world. Post-Aug. 5, 2019, India has unleashed a new reign of terror in IOJ&K, locking the region down and abusing human rights of the innocent people especially women, children and the elderly with impunity,” he added.
Reiterating his criticism of ongoing human rights abuses in India-held Kashmir, the prime minister vowed that Pakistan would never stop highlighting the plight of Kashmiris. “Our strong and steadfast moral, political and diplomatic support for the Kashmiri people will continue till the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination,” he added.
Separately, President Arif Alvi also called on the U.N. to honor its commitments to the Kashmiri people. In his message, he said the right to self-determination was a vital component of human dignity. “Today’s commemoration is aimed at reminding the global community that they cannot shy away from their responsibility toward the Kashmiri people. The United Nations must honor its commitments that were made 71 years ago,” he said.
For over 150 days, said Alvi, the residents of India-held Kashmir were under lockdown, with limited freedoms. India’s actions in the region since Aug. 5, 2019, he added, had been widely rejected by the international community.
According to the Kashmir Media Service, Kashmiris across the world marked the Right to Self-Determination Day with a pledge to continue their struggle until the Kashmir dispute had been resolved through a free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.
In a statement, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference of Srinagar said that the resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council on Jammu and Kashmir had legitimized the struggle of the Kashmiri people to achieve their right to self-determination. “These resolutions are testimony to the fact that the Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir was unjustified, illegal and against all norms and standards of international law,” it added.
The APHC appealed to the international community, particularly the United Nations, to conduct an impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir so that the Kashmiris can decide their future themselves. The APHC also condemned the continued lockdown of the territory by the Indian government.