By Naeem Baig
July 12, 2016 – The killing of 31 unarmed civilians in Kashmir by Indian security forces is unjustifiable, inexcusable and indefensible. The senseless shoot at sight by Indian army on peaceful demonstration resulted over 1,200 protesters injured. These are new killing fields of Kashmir – the Valley that was known as ‘Valley of Saints’ and ‘Paradise on Earth.’ Today this Valley has become the valley of death.
Kashmir holds the infamy as the most dangerous place on the planet, according to former President Bill Clinton. The 69-year-old conflict in that disputed, divided, devastated, and illegally occupied territory in South Asia could trigger nuclear volleys between India and Pakistan; it has already occasioned two wars between the two estranged rivals.
He explained that the barbaric situation in Syria has outraged the world and caused regrets that the enormous toll of human lives was not averted by timely action at an earlier stage. The failure of the international community can be explained but not denied. Yet in another part of the globe ‑ the Indian‑Occupied Kashmir ‑ atrocities of a similar pattern have been, and are being, perpetrated with no fear of a corrective international response. To date, no one power or combination of powers has blown the whistle. Even the United Nations has voiced not a sybllable of reproach to India for its human rights crimes in Kashmir. The tacit message of world powers to India’s leaders: your economic attractiveness and hegemony in South Asia exculpate your human rights cruelties in Kashmir. Does that reflect a profile in courage? Mr. Baig questioned.
“India’s detentions of prominent Kashmiri leadership, including Syed Ali Geelani, Chairman, All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) besmirches India’s boast as the world’s most populous democracy and insistence that its military occupation of Kashmir is welcomed and endorsed by the Kashmiri people. To make the exercise of a fundamental human right –- such as political dissent, assembly, association and urge to hold a referendum to decide the future status of Kashmir — a crime as India has done in Kashmir makes a mockery of the entire international human rights enterprise and should provoke universal condemnation by the democratic community of nations, Naeem Baig added.
He declared that Kashmiris crave only what every American covets: human rights, democratic values, peace and justice. He appealed to the international community in general and the Obama Administration in particular, to intercede with India in the name of humanity, peace, and justice to recede from its intransigence and to begin negotiations over Kashmir with both Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership, with no pre-conditions from any party. The lives, human rights, and aspirations of hundreds of millions are at stake, far more so than what propelled the international community to action in Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor, Northern Ireland, and Southern Sudan.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.