New Domicile Law & Future of IOJK
August 05, 2020
The India Study Centre at Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Webinar on New Domicile Law & Future of IOJK on August 05, 2020. The webinar brought together distinguished speakers and experts on the issue. The panelists included: Sardar Masood Khan , President Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Dr. Sikander Shah, Professor at LUMS, Dr. Noman Hanif, University of London, Mirza Saaib Beg, Kashmiri Lawyer , Oxford University and Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Professor and Director Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Peshawar.
In his introductory remarks, Dr. Saif Malik, Director India Study Centre welcomed the guests and highlighted the significance of August 05 as it marks the completion of one year of illegal annexation of Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian government and revocation of Article 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General ISSI stated that the Kashmiri freedom struggle has continued in the last 72 years and has not been suppressed despite the use of force by India. He stressed that in the last one year, brutality has touched new heights after the annexation of IOK by the Indian forces, curfews and lockdowns have been imposed and in March the Domicile Law was introduced which revealed the mindset behind the August 05, 2019 actions – to change the demography of IOK and its Muslim majority status. He further added that the developments in IOK indicate that Modi seems to be borrowing a page from the Israeli book. Talking about regional developments, he stated that the regional dynamics do not seem to be working in favour of Modi.
The Chief Guest at the occasion, Ambassador Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir stated, “The imposition and enforcement of the New Domicile Law is a very sinister move and it will have dire consequences.” He stated that the facade of secularism has come off and the ugly face of Hindutva and religious fascism has reared its head. He believes that India’s intention is to saffornize Kashmir. He further added that RSS should be declared a global terrorist organization.
In his remarks, Dr. Sikander Shah stated that Kashmir is not just an Indian Muslim Majority state but in fact it is an occupied territory and people under belligerent occupation. He pointed out that Kashmiris are not terrorists rather fighting a war of self-determination; a right that has been guaranteed to them by the UNSC, UN General Assembly, International Law and Laws of War. Kashmir issue is a dispute that is unresolved and has to be resolved under the specific settlement of disputes mechanism and is a threat to international peace and security.
While expressing his views at the webinar Professor Dr. Noman Hanif stated that we must recognize this fact that we are dealing with a new regional situation. The 21st century politics is very clear that it is about intervention and not about International Law. In his remarks, Mirza Saaib Beg stated that a Hindu Bharat is getting united because of the fractures in other elements in India so while India has weakened in certain aspects such as economically, there are fractures within Indian society. Killings of Indian and Kashmiri Muslims have become a norm and the Hindutva elements in India are united today more than ever before under the leadership of Narendra Modi.
Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi pointed out that Kashmir is not only a territorial issue but is also an ideological issue. Muslims are being suppressed in IOK and hence the Muslim world needs to be sensitized.
Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, Chairman Board of Governors, ISSI, mentioned in his concluding remarks that at the international level there is now greater awareness and growing support for the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir to exercise their right to self determination. He stated that India now stands exposed due to its actions in Kashmir and rest of India.
The webinar also included an interactive question and answer session.