Article: Unacceptable annexation of Kashmir

On 5th August 2019, India revoked special status, or autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir—a region by India as a state which consists of the larger part of Kashmir but has been the subject of dispute among India, Pakistan and China since 1947. Jammu and Kashmir was being administered by India as a State from 17 November 1952 to 31 October 2019 and Article 370 of the Indian Constitution conferred on it the power to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy of internal administration.

Article 370 was drafted in Part XXI of the Indian constitution titled “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions”. It stated that the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir would be empowered to recommend the extent to which the Indian Constitution would apply to the State. The State Assembly could also abrogate Article 370 altogether, in which case all of the Indian Constitution would have applied to the state. After the State Constituent Assembly was convened, it recommended the provisions of the Indian Constitution that should apply to the state, based on which 1954 Presidential Order was issued. Since the State Constituent Assembly dissolved itself without recommending the abrogation of Article 370, the article was deemed to have become a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution.

On 5 August 2019, India issued a Presidential Order superseding the 1954 order and making all the provisions of the Indian Constitution applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. The order was based on the resolution passed in both houses of Indian Parliament with two-third majority. A further order on 6 August made all the clauses of Article 370 except clause 1 to be inoperative. Kashmiris believe that the BJP ultimately wants to change the demographic character of the Muslim-majority region by allowing non-Kashmiris to buy land there. The move also fits in with Modi’s desire to show that the BJP is tough on Kashmir and Pakistan.

The Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 was passed by the Indian Parliament, enacting the division of the state of Jammu & Kashmir into two union territories to be called Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. The reorganisation took place on 31st October 2019. A total of 23 petitions were presented to the Supreme Court of India, challenging the central government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, which has constituted a five judge bench for the same.

Youm-e-Istehsal is a day observed in Pakistan on the 5th of August every year as a reaction to the revocation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir. The Government of Pakistan subsequently designated 5 August to be observed as the Youm-e-Istehsal from 2020. In 2020, on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan observed 5 August 2020 as Youm-e-Istehsal (Day of Exploitation). Since then regarding revocation of Kashmir rallies, seminars and protests are arranged and observed to express solidarity with great Kashmiris.

On 4 August 2020, Pakistan released an updated political map which included Pakistan’s territorial claims on Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, the Siachen Glacier, the Eastern banks of Sir Creek, as well as Junagadh and Manavadar in India’s Gujarat region. The map also annotated Ladakh’s boundary with China as “frontier undefined”, whose status would be formalised by “the sovereign authorities concerned after the settlement of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.” The map was adopted for official use throughout Pakistan. After the annexation of Kashmir to India, the Imran Khan government renamed the Kashmir Highway, which runs through Islamabad, as Srinagar Highway.

Youm-e-Istehsal is observed by Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control, Pakistan and all over the world. The objective is to register their protest against Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government’s illegal action taken on this day in 2019. The Modi regime in gross violation of the UN Resolutions and international law scrapped Articles 370 and 35A. The articles are of Indian Constitution that granted special autonomous status to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and imposed military siege in the territory on the 5th of August 2019.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference every year calls for complete shutdown to mark it as a black day. Annexation of Kashmir by India on August 5, 2019 has sensitized the entire international community. India’s brutal repression is carried out by its more than one million occupation troops in the territory. The Kashmiris observe Black Day to convey a strong message to the world that Kashmiris do not accept India’s illegal occupation over Jammu & Kashmir. 5 August, is graded one of the most tragic, painful and darkest days of Kashmir. Kashmiris always observe it as exploitation day and a day of mourning. Pakistani nation reiterates Pakistan’s continued unflinching political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

Kashmiris have suffered the worst human rights violations by Indian occupation forces including military siege and unprecedented restrictions on fundamental freedoms of Kashmiris. Pakistan urges India to end the gross human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir and abide by the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council that called for the final disposition of the State of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance with the will of the people of Kashmir expressed through democratic means of a free and impartial plebiscite. Kashmiris and Pakistanis demand India to restore the earlier status of (IIOJK) and stop its human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Kashmiris and Pakistanis pay high homage to the Kashmiri freedom fighters and will never forget sacrifices of great leaders Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Afzal Guru.

—The writer is editor, book ambassador, political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad