Kashmir and Palestine need “unity of purpose” among themselves to succeed in their common struggle, experts and advocates speaking at a video conference said on Wednesday.
At the conference titled, A conversation on Kashmir and Palestine and the Struggle for Freedom, President of Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan said the movements of both freedom movements should cooperate and collaborate at international forums.
“The issues have come out of the nationalism borders because of civilizational fault lines,” he said.
The conference was jointly hosted by Istanbul-based think tank Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and Kashmir Civitas, an international advocacy group.
Kashmir and Palestine: two peas in a pod
“India is using the cover of COVID-19 to ethnically cleanse Kashmiris […] They are being persecuted because they are Muslims,” Khan said.
Khan said: “The Israeli state is doing the same to the Palestinians what Nazis did in the 1930s and India has taken a leaf from the Israeli playbook […] it is adopting the so-called Nuremberg laws in Indian-occupied Kashmir which are aimed at forcing people to migrate.”
CIGA Director Sami Al-Arian, himself a Palestinian, drew similarities between the issues of Kashmir and Palestine, saying both were born out of British imperialism.
“The Kashmir dispute and Palestinian issue are so similar that both the nations have been promised the right to self-determination, which have not been fulfilled,” said Al-Arian.
Al-Arian argued that India and Israel were “increasingly cooperating, in order to coordinate their tactics of occupation.”
“The prime ministers of both the countries are hostile to the indigenous faith of the people, especially Islam,” said Al-Arian, who is also a Public Affairs Professor at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University.
Need for coordinated response on Kashmir and Palestine
Asserting that Kashmiris and Palestinians needed “strong leadership and unity of purpose,” al-Arian said: “We need to bring people together as a common goal for the two movements.”
“All those who believe in justice and truth must emphasize that from Kashmir to Palestine, occupation is a crime.”
Al-Arian, who lived in the US for four decades until 2015, said: “There is a need to start and coordinating the BDS [Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, it needs to be embraced, go beyond Israel.”
“There are millions of Indians who live in Muslim lands, in the Gulf, taking billions of dollars home […] these are small steps, but over the time, it will accumulate,” he added.
Khan, in turn, said Pakistan and Kashmir were always on the side of Palestinians.
“The two nations are facing an existential threat and if the international community does not act, these entities, their cultures, populations will be wiped out,” he said.
He urged the making of coalitions “not just in the Muslim world but across the continents, religious and political spectrum.”
Clouds of Indo-Pak war on the horizon
Sardar Khan added that there were “signs of renaissance in the Muslim world.” “I’ve toured Turkey, Malaysia and other countries, despite conflicts in the Muslims world, there is an opportunity for coalition building.”
For his part, President Khan warned that the situation in Kashmir could “lead to war” between Pakistan and India.
“There can be a rise in armed resistance in Kashmir [against India] […] one cannot suppress 14 million like this,” he added.
High time to hold India accountable
“Now is the high time for the international community particularly the Muslim world to revisit its diplomatic and economic relations with India and hold it accountable for committing heinous crimes against humanity in the occupied territory.”
Saying that the OIC by rejecting the domicile laws in IOJK represented the real sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the President added that Kashmiris expect concrete steps from the collective platform of 57 Muslim nations.
— Indian Muslims (@_IndianMuslims) May 21, 2020
The AJK president said that the Modi-led BJP government had come up with a systematic plan to carry forward the Hindutva doctrine and to change demography of the held territory, and the motive behind it is very clear.
Under the garb of new domicile laws, the Indian rulers want to settle non-state subjects in occupied Kashmir and to turn the Muslim majority into a minority to accomplish their nefarious agenda, he said adding that the Kashmiri people were determined not to let the Indian sordid plans succeed.
Sardar Masood Khan said that taking advantage of the focus of the whole world on combating Covid-19, India is attempting to perpetuate its illegitimate and unlawful occupation of Kashmir through the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri people and change of laws. The Kashmiri youth are being declared militants and killed in fake encounters, he added.
A history of Kashmir
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by 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 for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 20, 2020
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk