Kashmir as a Humanitarian Issue

Kashmir is suffering through brutal fight of terror since 1990, but India has failed to crush the right of self-determination of Kashmir. Kashmir valley is filled with thousands of Indian forces that are trying to control the mounting sentiments of public against India by the use of force. India has imposed many inhuman laws to legitimize the use of force and repress Kashmir’s.

Without any doubt, everyone knows that the cruelty and brutality of Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir is to create fear and to suppress the Kashmiris. India has failed to suppress Kashmiris by Indian laws, which only resulted in massive violation of human rights. A lot of work has been done on the issue of Kashmir, but most work is on historical and ideological perspectives of Kashmir issue, violence caused by accession to India. There is not much work specifically on the international human right violation, which is caused by different Indian laws. To understand the specific laws, which are meant to create peace in Kashmir but unfortunately cause more destruction, and violence, which has resulted in more important step, which should be taken by the World, not for the Kashmiris struggle but for their fundamental rights to life and liberty as well.

Iffat Malik’s book “Kashmir ethnic conflict International Dispute” analyzed that Kashmir issue as an ethnic conflict and as an international dispute is closely interlinked. To resolve the Kashmir issue, it is important to understand the importance of ethnic conflict between two main groups, i.e. Muslims and Pundits. Pandits are more conscious of being Hindu whereas Kashmiri Muslims of being Muslims, both ethnic groups are strong rooted with their religion. Differences also lie in the attitudes of both these groups to India, Muslims have drawn further away from India, and Pandits have drawn closer to it. The Kashmir conflict forced Pandit to increase their fear as a minority within Kashmir, which resulted in Hindus more conscious and closer to India. An increasing number of Kashmiri Muslims want Independence. The ethnic conflict in the valley thus remains distinct from the international dispute between India and Pakistan. Pakistan is backing the Kashmiri Muslims with the intention that the state accede to it; Pakistan and the Kashmiri Muslims have a common goal of ending Indian rule in Kashmir. In Kashmir, people have real grievances against New Delhi but Indian government blame for the ethnic conflict on 11 Pakistan. Kashmir issue has been dragged so much that now both countries need strong government to handle this border dispute. Now there are three parties, Pakistan, India and Kashmir involved in this international dispute as internal politics of Kashmir has harden the situation too.

It’s very unfortunate that India who is framed to be World’s Largest Democracy not respect the freedom of expression in media. Democratic Nations should stay committed to the values of human rights moreover they should show tolerance even in the toughest and challenging times. However “Right to freedom of expression” is an inseparable element of “Democracy” and it is essential to guarantee and respect the fundamental rights of every individual which are even protected in the constitution and international instruments for the survival of democracy.

 Since World War II, international political system has been dominated by the super powers and there has been great influence of United States of America and Soviet Union on South Asia, which has been a major barrier in reaching on a decision of Kashmir issue. Another reason behind the failure of United Nation has been Indian government, the non-corporative attitude, the way Indian government avoided plebiscite, because they knew that Kashmir, which is highly populated by Muslim majority, would vote in favor of Pakistan. Indian representatives never took interest in Security Council debates, as it was quite clear that India wanted to buy more time. Nehru backed out of his words of plebiscite since 1955 and reportedly offered for status quo settlement subject only to minor boundary adjustments. Actually Indian government wanted a conclusion from United Nations against Pakistan, but United Nations refused, on which Nehru refused to hold plebiscite.

Realist and Liberalist Perspective on Human Right Violation in Kashmir

Realism talks about power, main aim of state is to maximize their power. Keeping in mind state seeks power; India has the same objective in Kashmir. There are many reasons that India wants to maintain its dominance in Kashmir through its security forces. Realism is about national interest for survival, and as in anarchic environment state is the only one who has to compete for its survival. “Concept of Security” defines expertly the relation between national security and human security, as they both are interlinked, with time connection of national and human security.

Perspectives have been observed which can be understood by an example of outwardly aggressive and inwardly repressive regimes can be a major source of human insecurity. Major reason stated for promoting a human security perspective is that of an “enlightened self-interest”. A state for survival has to respect the security of its citizens, and the security of citizens of other states. This demonstrates one possible connection between human security especially aspects of livelihood security and how these interact with national security issues. Kashmir is fighting for the right of self-determination, which India is not ready to give. India for its national interest and power, is keeping dominance in Kashmir through its security force and terror of its laws to maintain its power in South Asia region. India can only keep its control on the resources of Jammu & Kashmir by power, otherwise once Kashmir freedom movement succeeds, Indian economy and agriculture will be influenced. Kashmir has a great strategic, political and economic significance, which are imperative for India and Pakistan. Water is the central and an important need of any country’s survival. It is water that India is determined or won’t be wrong to say obdurate to keep Kashmir in its territory, without the willingness of the people of Kashmir. There are six rivers under Indus Basin Rivers in which the Indus itself, Chenab, Jhelum, Beas, Sutlej and Ravi, which originate in the Jammu & Kashmir. India is very much dependent on these rivers, as well Pakistan. There is common dependency of these two countries, which is agriculture, which relies on waters of Indus Basin Rivers. Pakistan is more dependent on river waters than India. India has some other sources of water too. Indian agricultural reliance on Indus Basin River is similar and equal to Pakistan.

Production of agriculture from Kashmir, contributes large portion to the India economy, which include apple, timber and saffron. Due to India’s occupation of Kashmir, it is geography of the rivers, which gives strategic dominance to India in the issue of water. India is dependent for agriculture, generation of hydropower and irrigation on the river waters in Kashmir. In 1957, Mr. Patel, Indian irrigation minister said, that India would not wait for more than 5 years before withdrawing waters from the three eastern rivers irrespective of the resolution of the water dispute. Another on December 2001, on the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, India increased the possibility of withdrawing the 1960 Treaty, as part of a strategy of coercive diplomacy with Pakistan. Morgenthau believed that environment plays an important role in shaping the interests to determine political action. Keeping in mind realist perspective, India has same intentions on Kashmir, which is national interest for survival, because of Indus Basin Rivers, which is very important for India’s agriculture, as it supports the Indian economy. However, Liberalism talks about human rights, freedom from authority, equal rights and opportunities, and same laws for everyone. India is one of the largest democratic countries in the world. One of the important characteristics of a democratic country is to protect the basic human rights like give freedom of speech and religion to individual, equal opportunities for everyone under law and an equal chance to everyone to participate politically and economically in a society. Considering the liberalist, India, as a democratic country should provide equal opportunities to everyone, even in Jammu & Kashmir. India claims to have given democratic rights to the people of Kashmir, but by keeping their own national interests. People of Kashmir have been given right to elect the government, but since too long India has been governing in Kashmir through its security forces and have forced people to elect the pro-Indian representatives. In the same way, India has been violating human rights under the umbrella of special laws, these special laws that are implemented by the state. Under these special laws and democracy thousands of innocent people get killed and tortured. India is using Kashmir for its national interest of survival to utilize resources of Kashmir and to boost Indian economy, by claiming democracy and by giving equality under special laws.


Kashmir issue has always been in the highlight of the World, because of its freedom struggle which they are fighting since the ages, but now there is more important issue which not only needs World attention, but it desperately need immediate action by the international community. Democratic Countries are always recognized for their morals and principles, from which India has been contradicting since the partition till now by oppressing Kashmiris in every inhuman way. Unfortunately the role of international community has been seen just in speeches and only in visits. No prominent action has been taken by United Nation against India on violation of International humanitarian law. The poorer condition of human rights in Jammu & Kashmir has resulted disappointment and frustration in Kashmiri youth, but they are still honest with their cause without any fear and terror of Indian security forces and special laws. They believe in peaceful fight and know how to make their voice loud and clear for the World. India must have realized by now, that Kashmiris will never give up from their right of self-determination. Its better if India accept the reality that India will never going to get the vote of confidence from Kashmiris not even by making this chaos with the lives of Kashmiris.

Muskan Moazzam
Muskan Moazzam
Student of National Defense University, Islamabad , Pakistan.