October 27 -- A black day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir

October 27, 2007

The 27th of October is a Black Day not only for the people of Jammu and Kashmir but it also represents one of the darkest chapters in the history of South Asia. On this day 60 years ago, the Indian army marched into Kashmir and forcibly put down a popular uprising of the people of Kashmir against the autocratic and tyrannical Dogra ruler. The violent suppression of the aspiration of the Kashmiris led to an armed conflict between Pakistan and India. The Kashmir issue was taken to the Untied Nations Security Council, which constituted a special commission -- the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan -- with the mandate to independently investigate the matter and help the contending parties reach a negotiated settlement. The most important outcome of the deliberations of the commission were two resolutions passed by the Security Council on 13th August 1948 and 15th January 1949 respectively, calling upon the governments of India and Pakistan to hold a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices in order to enable the people of Kashmir to decide whether they wanted to join Pakistan or India. This was followed by commitments on the part of the Indian leadership to allow the Kashmiris to determine their destiny. In a statement to the Indian parliament on 12th February 1951, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said, “We had given our pledge to the people of Kashmir and subsequently to the United Nations. We stood by it and we stand by it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide”.

Yet, despite their pledge to the international community and their promise to the people of Kashmir to hold the plebiscite, India continues to defy international public opinion and deny Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination. The suppression of their aspirations has cost the Kashmiris dearly. Over the past 18 years, more than 80,000 Kashmiri men, women and children have given the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for the cause of freedom. Thousands more have been oppressed and incarcerated and their places of worship and cultural heritage destroyed.
The non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute has led to wars between Pakistan and India and to the diversion of billions of dollars into non-productive expenditure in a region which is host to 1/4th of the world’s poor. The atmosphere of tension between Pakistan and India has engendered instability and insecurity in South Asia. The fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear countries has made Kashmir a nuclear flashpoint and further increased the urgency to find a prompt resolution to the dispute.
Pakistan under President Musharraf has initiated the composite dialogue process to resolve all the outstanding problems with India, including the Kashmir dispute. There has been some progress in certain areas, but regrettably, movement to resolve the Kashmir dispute has been slow due to the inflexible attitude of India. We need visible progress on the Kashmir issue leading to a permanent solution which would establish durable peace in South Asia and ultimately bring socioeconomic development, progress and prosperity to the subcontinent.
It is time for the government of India to respond to the genuine demand of the people of Kashmir and initiate measures to end the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir by releasing political prisoners, reducing its forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir, repealing Kashmir-specific draconian laws and permitting genuine political activities.
Pakistan appreciates the position taken by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is sensitive to the pain and anguish suffered by the Muslim brethren in Kashmir and is desirous of an early end to their ordeal. Iranians share deep-rooted spiritual and cultural bonds with the people of Kashmir. In fact, Kashmir is known as Iran in miniature -- “Kashmir Iran-e-Saghir”. It is, therefore, imperative that the government of Iran uses its good offices to urge India to fulfill its commitment to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
(Press release, Pakistani Embassy in Tehran)