Text: Message of Syed Ali Shah Geelani to OIC
Message of Syed Ali Shah Geelani to 38th session of the Organization of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers in Astana, Kazakhstan
Bismillahi Arrahmani Arrahim
His Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,
Secretary General Organization of Islamic Conference
Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamu Alaikum wa-Rahmatu Allahi wa-Barakatuhu,
It is of immense pleasure to me that the 38th session of the Organization of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers is being held in Astana, Kazakhstan in the neighborhood of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Excellencies, you are barely an hour’s flight away from an occupied land, – a land occupied by India through its military might on 27th of October 1947. Sixty three years on, under the hubris of military might and arrogance of power it has been suppressing and subjugating over ten million people living in one of the world’s beautiful place- that was rightly called by the European Union as world’s most ‘beautiful prison’ or by Washington Post a ‘cage’ called paradise.
During past six decades over half a million people have been killed by these occupying forces. And with every passing year under the façade of ‘largest democracy in the world’, India has been intensifying its repression. The tales of macabre, intimidation, terror, torture and torment are legibly written in carmine on walls all over the state. More than hundred thousand non-combatants have been killed during past two decades, thousands have been killed in custody and there have been over eight thousand enforced disappearances. The reports about mass graves made public by an international organization tell horrendous stories about India showing total disrespect for human rights as contained in charter of the Unite Nations. During 2010, another 121 students, children and youth were killed by trigger happy soldiers enjoying impunity under the most inhuman law the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that was recently denounced by the Amnesty International as a “lawless law”. This law as very aptly said by the Amnesty International is being used as “a revolving door to keep people they can’t or won’t convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way.”
Majority of the delegates in this conference know the history about the birth of this tragedy. I need not to reiterate that it is the longest unresolved dispute on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council and this august body that has passed eighteen resolutions guaranteeing right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and holding of a plebiscite under its aegis has so far not succeeded in getting its own resolutions executed.
I also need not to restate that it is story of India betraying its commitments to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to Indian Parliament and to the International community. However to refresh the memory of Indian leadership through this august house let me pick a few quotes from Indian leadership.
Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal in a telegram wrote to Prime Minister of Pakistan:
“Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view.” (Telegram 402 Primin-2227 dated 27th October, 1947 to PM of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to PM of UK).
In another broadcast to Indian nation on 3rd November, 1947, Pandit Nehru said:
“We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world also. We will not and cannot back out of it.”
In his letter No. 368 Primin dated 21 November, 1947 addressed to the PM of Pakistan, Pandit Nehru said:
“I have repeatedly stated that as soon as peace and order have been established, Kashmir should decide of accession by Plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as those of United Nations.
In his statement in the Indian Constituent Assembly on 25th November, 1947, Pandit Nehru said:
“In order to establish our bona fide, we have suggested that when the people are given the chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations Organization. The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people.”
In his statement in the Indian Parliament on 7th August, 1952, Pandit Nehru said:
“Let me say clearly that we accept the basic proposition that the future of Kashmir is going to be decided finally by the goodwill and pleasure of her people. …. If, however, the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means. We will not keep them against their will, however painful it may be to us. I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the United Nations and to the people of Kashmir, it is our conviction and one that is borne out by the policy that we have pursued, not only in Kashmir but everywhere. Though these five years have meant a lot of trouble and expense and in spite of all we have done, we would willingly leave if it was made clear to us that the people of Kashmir wanted us to go. However sad we may feel about leaving we are not going to stay against the wishes of the people. We are not going to impose ourselves on them on the point of the bayonet.”
The people of Jammu and Kashmir living amidst stark naked bayonets for over past sixty three years have been persistently and persuasively reminding the international community and United Nations about the promise of right to self-determination and India unashamedly having backtracked from these commitments. They have been demanding the intervention of global fraternity for asking India to keep its promises.
There has been hardly any year during past six decades when people of this occupied land have not peacefully called upon the big powers, the Muslim brotherhood, the OIC and the United Nations to impress upon India to end its occupation of the state but the role that international community was expected to play has not been there so far. There can be no denying that many important countries in the world that include United States, European Countries, China and the Muslim nations have been unequivocally supporting the cause just demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but what has been unfortunately missing is these nations coercing India to have respect for charter of the United Nations.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been amply making it clear to the world community that they want to end the ‘forced marriage and end occupation’. They made it sufficiently clear through peaceful movements during past three years 2008, 2009, 2010, when millions converged on roads all over the state with one voice: ‘We want freedom’, Go! Go! Go back- India Go Back.
The reports that were carried in the international press from Washington Post to the Arab News about these movements that lasted for months should be with majority of delegates in this conference as fresh as morning breeze. These movements not only belied Indian claim over Jammu and Kashmir but made the world community to recognize the movements as peaceful, non-violent and indigenous.
The people of this land are indebted to the OIC for having granted observer’s status to Jammu and Kashmir, for appointing a special envoy for Kashmir, for appointing a contact group and raising issue of human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir in every forum and for religiously adopting every year a resolution in the annual meetings supporting the just cause of 15 million people.
Excellencies, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are kith and kin of yours; they are kith and kin of over a billion people living in 56 member countries of OIC. I am sure the people living in these Muslim countries are feeling our suffering as intensely as we have been feeling pain of our brethren in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and other places under occupation of alien forces.
The birth of the Organization of Islamic Conference was seen by many a Muslim scholars as a manifestation of Islamic renaissance as dreamt by people like Jamal-u-Din Afghani and Muhammad Abdu in Arabia. Some scholars quoting from the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, by Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal have been asserting that, “Iqbal’s thought was unwittingly the fore-runner of idea behind Organization of Islamic Conference as an inter-governmental organization”. Scholars regarded this as the first ever common platform since rival Caliphates in Baghdad and Qurtuba: 750 AD opted for separate development.’
The Organization of the Islamic Conference undoubtedly provides the leaders of the Muslim nations around the world a common platform for ‘inter-governmental dialogue and action.’ But what is coming in its way for playing an effective role has been its failing to find a common voice.
Excellencies, we understand that the organization with all its inherent difficulties has been ‘projecting a Muslim world view.’ It has been articulating its views on Kashmir and these views by all standards are the views of the Muslim world on Kashmir.
I must endorse that the Organization of Islamic Conference for the past 20 years has been meeting on Kashmir. Like the UN this organization of 57 countries also does not “recognize the finality of the accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir with Union of India.” It also believes that that “India’s non-cooperation and the passage of time do not erode UN obligation”. The organization has time and again been reaffirming that ‘the Kashmiri right of self-determination is an inalienable right which has been acknowledged by UN Security Council resolutions. As such, it constitutes an obligation for all members of the UN, and in particular, the designated parties to the dispute, India and Pakistan. Obligations stemming from UN Security Council resolutions are binding.”
The Organization of Islamic Countries is a very potent body, powerful enough to influence the global decisions and enforce its own agenda but what has been preventing it to perform the role history has cast for it. Why it has not so for succeeded in persuading India for living by its promise and conceding right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The reason as I see has been that majority of member countries of OIC have not been living by the resolutions adopted on Kashmir in its meetings and summits in their relations with India. Kashmir is yet become a determinant in the relations of OIC member countries with India. And it is this policy of the Muslim World in particular and world in general that has encouraged perpetually denying right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and perusing its policy of persecution and subjugation against Kashmiris.
I humbly request all the member countries of OIC more particularly Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt to make resolution of Kashmir as an important determinant and guiding principle in their relations with India.
With these words I thank you,
Syed Ali Geelani
Chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference