On August 5, 2019, the Government of India, in one of the most illegal and fascist actions taken by a government in recent history, revoked the special status and autonomy that was granted by its own constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. When it committed this action, it also imposed several totalitarian restrictions, including cutting off communication lines in the Kashmir Valley, taking several leading Kashmiri politicians into custody and effectively forcing the Kashmiri people into silence and isolation from the world.
One year later, the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir are still under this oppressive isolation. Yet the struggle for independence still goes on; and it is Pakistan which has taken on the mantle to speak on behalf of the voiceless, the people who have been forced into silence by India through the barrel of guns, cutting off of communication lines and an indefinite harsh lockdown.
Throughout this one year, Pakistan had consistently raised its voice on the international stage for the rights of the Kashmiri people who are trapped by an occupying force. Now that the pandemic is slowly being controlled across the world, it is time for Pakistan to increase diplomatic pressure. August 5th makes a poignant day to bring light to this issue—Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has announced that Pakistan will observe ‘Youm-e-Istehsal’ on this day to show solidarity with the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. A memorandum will be presented to the United Nations Observer Mission, and Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the Azad Kashmir assembly on the day in solidarity with the people of Kashmir—to let them know they are not alone in their just right of freedom from the illegal occupation of India.
The objective is to consistently and unapologetically hammer the idea of India’s illegal occupation and imposition of apartheid in Kashmir—until other countries have no choice but to remark on India’s fascist actions. International politics will always be based more on realism and interest than principles—and until Pakistan does not consistently put pressure and bring light to the Kashmiri people’s suffering, the international community will continue to turn a blind eye.