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Change of IOJK demography may ignite a destructive war: AJK president

ISLAMABAD, March 19: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has warned that brazen demographic change by India in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is creating tensions that could push the region to a disastrous war.

He came up with the warning while addressing a virtual conference on “BJP’s Demographic Re-branding of IOJK: A critical Review Under Contemporary International Law” which was organized by the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) here on Friday.

The conference was also addressed by Security Analyst, Lt General (Retd) Amjad Shoaib, Professor Dr Mushtaq Ahmed, Professor Department of Law, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Mr Nasir Qadri, Human Rights Lawyer in IIOJK and Ms Sabah Aslam, Executive Director IICR.

In his address, the AJK president said that what India is doing in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is not just rebranding but a complete transformation of the demography and this demographic change is unprecedented in the 21st century.

He maintained that since the New Domicile Rules were adopted in April last year, more than 3.2 million Indian citizens have been issued domicile certificates in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state, and this has been confirmed by Indian Minister for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy the other day.

“These demographic changes prepare the ground for settlements on the pattern of the Israeli settlements on Palestine land,” he said adding that massive investment is being diverted to entrepreneurs to make them a part of this settlement process. He said special colonies have been established in IOJK for army personnel, pundits and former Indian civil servants.

The state president said two Human Rights experts of the UN Human Rights Council have also expressed grave concern over the demographic changes being made by the BJP-RSS regime in occupied Kashmir.

He recalled that Fernand de Verennes and Ahmed Shaheed of UNHRC have said in a joint statement that “The number of successful applicants for domicile certificates that appear to be from outside Jammu and Kashmir raises concerns that demographic change on a linguistic, religious and ethnic basis is already underway,” and adding “these legislative changes may have the potential to pave the way for people from outside the former state of Jammu and Kashmir to settle in the region, alter the demographics of the region and undermine the minorities’ ability to exercise effectively their human rights.”

Agreeing with the observations of the UNHRC experts, the AJK president said that Kashmiris are not a minority in the Indian state as this region is disputed and is not a part of India. These crimes by India violate Article 2 of the Genocide Convention and Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits occupying forces to “transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

These also violate 85(4) (a) Additional Protocol I, ICC Statutes Article 8(2) (b) (viii) and 22 (3) (b) of the International Law Commission’s Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind.
Above all, he asserted that the Indian actions in Kashmir violate the UN Security Council resolutions No 446, 452, 465, 476 and 677. He went on to say that the UN Security Council, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Council, International Law Commission and HRC are the proper and relevant forums to raise these issues.
Sardar Masood Khan stressed to engage legal experts and academic institutions in Pakistan and from abroad to compile the human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

He said that communication should be made with the world leaders, and parliaments all over the world should also be engaged. Besides, civil society organizations, human rights organizations and media outlets can be engaged to compile these human rights violations in IOJK.

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