22nd February pledge Retrieve POJK

Ronik Sharma
The Home Minister of India gave a historic speech in the Indian parliament on the occasion of “operations” on and use of Article 370 for abrogation of Art 35A, in which he stated that his government is committed to reclaiming all the areas that were part of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir at the time of accession, including Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, Gilgit-Baltistan etc. Despite Pakistan’s unlawful annexation of the Jammu and Kashmir territories, India has never given up its claim to the region.
The entire territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are, and will continue to be an essential part of India, according to our Government’s consistent and principled view, which was enshrined in a Parliament resolution unanimously endorsed by both Houses on February 22, 1994. The time has come to restate that pledge for execution on the ground and establish a process to recover through diplomatic means or even forcibly acquired territories of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan since the 22nd February 1994 resolution is now three decades old. India has never relinquished its claim to the territory.
On February 22nd, 1994, the Indian Parliament reiterated that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and shall be an integral part of India and that any attempt to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means.India has the will and capability to firmly oppose all attempts to undermine its unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.All attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met with resolutely resolved demands that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir which they have occupied through aggression. Human rights violations are common in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) areas because Pakistan’s despotic rulers have kept them hidden behind an iron veil. People’s voices are muffled there. The poor people of the region living back there too were subjected to a slew of brutalities, including rapes and arsons in 1947 and thereafter. The Indian government must take steps to free the innocent and disadvantaged people of PoJK from the tyranny of Pakistan’s army and its primary intelligence organisation, ISI. The crackdown on the media, civil society, and political opponents became even more severe after 2020 in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Enforced disappearances are still occurring on a regular basis, and no one is held accountable there. Occasionally, mob violence against religious minorities is reported in POJK. Even Ahmadia and Shia Muslim activists are reportedly being reported from occupied areas of Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, Gilgit-Baltistan, etc., where there is no freedom of expression and people are forced to exercise self-censorship. The failure of the government to investigate and prosecute attacks on human rights defenders and peaceful protesters has resulted in de facto restrictions on freedom of assembly and association, as well as the prohibition of anyone speaking out against the current regime’s brutalities in those illegally occupied areas.
In Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, changing culture, language, and demographics is a frequent practice. Everyone is aware that the Pakistani army, with the help of other agencies such as the ISI, may apprehend, torture, and even murder anyone who speaks out against human rights crimes. Genocide against innocent people is at an all-time high. People living in the POJK areas too are hoping and fully waiting for the day India executes the 22nd of February 1994 resolution on the ground. Apart from these atrocities, the Pakistani establishment and other ancillary agencies are actively engaged in the building of terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists of all stripes are trained by the Pakistani army and given logistical support before being despatched to Jammu and Kashmir and other areas of the world to wreak havoc by killing and destroying peace-loving civilians. The time has come to put into action the commitment made in India’s Parliament not once, but twice, since 1994 to get the areas vacated by Pakistan and China. People on both sides of the line of control are waiting and anticipating concrete measures from the Indian government. Let us wait and see how the wind blows and whether the Indian government acts on this commitment.
(The author is Advocate Convenor,Roots in POJK)