Pakistan rejected the granting of domicile certificates to thousands of Indian nationals Saturday in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, characterizing it as an attempt to change the demographic structure of the disputed region.
As many as 25,000 people have been granted domicile certificates in the territory since New Delhi introduced a controversial law in May.
Citizenship law granting domiciles to Indians in Kashmir
Eligible non-locals, along with those who have lived in 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.
“Pakistan categorically rejects the grant of domicile certificates of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) by the Indian authorities to reportedly 25,000 Indian nationals,” said a statement by Pakistan’s foreign ministry.
Kashmiris, it said, also reject the “bogus domicile certificates.”
Islamabad described Indian government officials moves as “illegal, void and in complete violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and International law including the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
“The latest action is a vindication of Pakistan’s consistent stance that the major intention behind the Indian Government’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 was to change the demographic structure of IOJ&K and turn Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. This has long been part of the RSS-BJP’s ‘Hindutva’ agenda,” the statement said.
By changing demographic structure of IOJ&K, Indian govt
intends to undermine exercise by Kashmiri people of their right to self-determination through a free&impartial plebiscite under auspices of UN as per relevant UNSC Resolutions@ForeignOfficePk https://t.co/x0oO9VAcDN
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) June 27, 2020
Attempts to change Kashmiri demographic structure
By changing the demographic structure of the region, it said India intended to undermine the exercise by Kashmiri people of their right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nation as per the relevant UNSC resolutions.
As many as 25,000 people have been granted domicile certificates in Muslim-majority Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir since May 18, which local politicians believe is the beginning of disturbing demographic profile of the region. The awarding of domicile certificates to majority Hindus in Occupied Kashmir will lead to sever demographic changes in the region, which is hitherto majority Muslim.
Last year on Aug. 5, when India revoked the semi-autonomous status of the region, it also scrapped the local special citizenship law, guaranteed under Article 35 (A) of the Indian Constitution.
The law was barring outsiders including Indian nationals from settling and claiming government jobs, to maintain the demographic balance.
On Friday, a picture of the domicile certificate issued to Navin Kumar Choudhary, a bureaucrat originally from the Indian state of Bihar, went viral on social media.
Urging the UN and the international community to intervene to stop India from changing the disputed valley’s demographic structure, it said “India must be urged to immediately cancel all the domicile certificates of IOJ&K issued illegally, revoke unlawful rules aimed at further disempowering and disenfranchising the Kashmiris by effecting a demographic change, and comply with its international legal obligations through implementation of the relevant UNSC resolutions.”
“The recipients of the domicile certificates must know that India has no legal authority to bring in and settle people from outside IOJ&K. The international law bars India from such illegal actions,” it added.
India Pakistan dispute
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.
The human rights body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) wants a halt to Kashmir abuse by India. It demanded Tuesday that India be compelled to “halt rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir.
Read more: OIC wants halt to Kashmir abuse by India
In a statement on Twitter, the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) “urged the OIC to compel India to halt its gross and systematic human rights violations; refrain from altering the geographic and demographic status of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir; provide access to UN/OIC fact-finding missions and let Kashmiris exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.”
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk
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