Friday, December 01, 2006

EU Parliament supports India on Kashmir

The EU Parliament has recognized and supported India's stand that there is no longer any need for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

The plebiscite was proposed by India herself in 1948, in the United Nations. The United Nations resolution on this subject in 1948 called for a complete withdrawal by Pakistan from the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, and only after that India was supposed to organize a plebiscite to let the people choose whether they wanted to join India or Pakistan. [This was after the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh had already signed the Instrument of Accession under which Jammu and Kashmir joined the Indian Union, and the popular representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Chief of the Kashmiri political party the National Conference -- Sheikh Abdullah -- had also reiterated the preference of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to join secular India, not hardline Sunni Muslim fundamentalist Pakistan, where Kashmiri Sufi Muslims and Hindus would both be persecuted. So, both legally and morally, Jammu and Kashmir was already part of India. And India still proposed the plebiscite herself.]

Pakistan had just invaded Jammu and Kashmir in 1948; invading Pakistani tribals and the Pakistan Army had raped Kashmiri women, killed Kashmiri men and stolen Kashmiri property. Pakistan was massively unpopular all over Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan knew that it would lose the plebiscite and the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir would go to India.

So it never withdrew from the parts of Kashmir it had illegally occupied in 1948. It even gave up 5000 square kilometres of Kashmiri land to China. That shows how little regard it has for the welfare of the Kashmiri people.

On top of all this, Pakistan has sent Sunni Muslim hardline fundamentalist terrorists trained to kill the Hindus and Sufi Muslims of Kashmir. Sufi shrines have been destroyed and hundreds of thousand of Sufi Muslims have been killed.

In parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, Sufism and the original culture of Kashmiris has been completely wiped out and replaced by Pakistani/Saudi Salafist/Wahabi Sunni hardline Muslim fundamentalist (like "Taliban") culture. Women are treated like slaves. Men must follow strict Islamic dress codes, like wearing foot-long beards. They must pray 5 times a day. Muslim clerics hold the power of life and death over everybody else. All decisions are taken in accordance with the backward and uncivilized Islamic Law. The Kashmiris living under Pakistani occupation are living in the Middle Ages.

Which is a towering shame, because the Kashmiris have always been the most enlightened people in the entire Indian sub-continent: most of the most enlightened saints of both Hinduism and Sufism either came from, or did their meditation in, Kashmir.

In contrast, India has allowed Kashmir maintain its own identity. Indians from other parts of India are not allowed to buy property or settle down in Kashmir. Under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir has powers that no other state in the Indian Union does.

Kashmiris, on the other hand, can live, buy property in, whichever part of India they choose.

Pakistan has integrated most of Kashmir under its occupation with the tribal areas of North-West Frontier Province. Only a small part of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir is called "Azad Kashmir" (Independent Kashmir) but it is independent only in name. Pakistan has no democracy. Kashmiris living under Pakistani rule have no control on their own destiny.

In contrast, India has given the people Jammu and Kashmir all the rights citizens of a modern secular liberal democratic society get. The people of Jammu and Kashmir in turn have participated in State Assembly and Parliamentary elections in spite of threats from Pakistani terrorists. The Pakistani terrorists don't want the people to participate in elections because such participation would demonstrate to the International Community that they want to be a part of the secular democratic liberal society of India, and do not want to join the medieval uncivilized society of Pakistan.

In 2000 the Pakistani terrorists bombed the State Assembly of Pakistan. In 2001 they attacked the Parliament of India in Delhi and got through enough rings of security to get uncomfortably close to gunning down Indian leaders.

In spite of these threats, elections in Jammu and Kashmir see turn-outs in the range of 40 per cent. In 2000 US Presidential elections, where no terrorists were threatening the Americans against voting, the turn-out was less.

Thus, it is clear that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want to be a part of India.

The EU Parliament has finally understood this truth.

The Times of India reports:

'No need for plebiscite in Kashmir'
Indrani Bagchi
[1 Dec, 2006 2355hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

NEW DELHI: A draft EU parliament report on Kashmir says a plebiscite in the state is unnecessary and irrelevant and hardened Indian resolve to keep its attention trained on the parlous state of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The report, by EP member Baroness Emma Nicholson who visited India and Pakistan over the summer, raps Pakistan for its undemocratic rule over PoK. "Pakistan has consistently failed to fulfill its obligations to introduce meaningful and representative democratic structures in AJK (the Pakistani administered Kashmir)."

But the report also makes the more important point that calls for a plebiscite on the final status of J&K were "wholly out of step with the needs of the local people and thus damaging to their interests".

Pakistan has already objected to the report. According to sources, it is trying to bring about an amendment in the final report that criticises India and deletes critical references to Pakistan.

While New Delhi will not comment, the government is determined to continue its focus on the entire state of J&K. That is why the residents of Gilgit and Baltistan have been included as legitimate passengers for the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service.

Articulating the government's approach to Kashmir, the Prime Minister's special envoy, Shyam Saran, said recently at a book launch, "It's important to avoid, even by implication, that the J&K issue involves only the Valley on our side of the LoC and the sliver of territory that is described as AJK on the other side."

Saran pointed out that while there are elected bodies in Indian Kashmir, there are no such institutions on the other side.

"If Pakistan is really serious about promoting the concept of self-governance, then it needs to take measures to create truly representative institutions on its side of the LoC, not only in PoK but in Gilgit and Baltistan."


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