Pakistan seeks halt to demographic changes in Kashmir

Chairman of parliament’s committee on Kashmir criticizes India for granting Kashmiri domicile to non-residents
Islamuddin Sajid – June 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Anadolu) – The Pakistani parliament’s special committee on Kashmir on Sunday rejected the Indian government move to granting domicile certificates to thousands of non-Kashmiri residents and urged the international community to stop New Delhi from making demographic changes in the Muslim’s majority region.

In a statement, Chairman of Parliament’s Special Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi strongly criticized the Indian government for its attempt to change the demographic structure of the disputed region.

Reacting to the release of new domiciles to non-Kashmiri Indian citizens in the Indian-administered Kashmir, Afridi said: “I strongly condemned the racist Hindutva Supre­macist Modi government’s continuing attempts to illegally alter the demography of IOJK [Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] in violation of all international laws & treaties as well as the 4th Geneva Convention”.

“This move to grant domiciles to non-Kashmiris is meant to change the demographic status of the occupied territory as non-Kashmiris will flood into the region to diminish the Muslim majority,” Afridi said, adding that since the matter was already in the UNSC for a plebiscite, no demographic change could be brought on the barrel of gun in the disputed territory.

He accused the Indian government for exploiting the international focus on the COVID-19 pandemic to push forward the Hindutva Supremacist agenda.

“It’s now proved that India was never a democracy. It’s a fascist colonizer using the notion of democracy. This isn’t only now killing and imprisoning Kashmiri Muslims in their own homes and land, but also wiping out in a genocide carried out via laws and economic and population measures. An entire population being decimated and replaced by bringing in outsiders from thousands of miles away to call them legal locals is a part of it,” Afridi said.

Afridi urged the world’s community to help and support the helpless Muslims from ongoing genocide in the single majority Muslim state in India.

“We are not living in medieval times where lands were conquered and people enslaved. But even worse is being done in 2020 in Kashmir,” he added.

He also urged the UN and the world leaders to pressurize India that it must agree to UN mandate of self determination in Kashmir under the UN resolutions as India itself had taken Kashmir issue to the UN and had promised a plebiscite to decide the dispute.

As many as 25,000 people have been granted domicile certificates in the territory since New Delhi introduced a controversial law in May.

Eligible non-locals, along with those who have lived in the Indian-administered Kashmir for 15 years, or studied for seven years and appeared in class 10th or 12th examinations in a local school, can apply for the certificate under the new law.

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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