May 22, 2023
By Maryam Missal
China and Egypt have withdrawn from the G20 tourism moot organized by India in Srinagar, Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IIOJK). China has confirmed its absence from the summit alongside Egypt, whereas Turkiye, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are yet to confirm their plans.
G20 is scheduled for May 22 (today) till May 24 in Srinagar in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Out of 20 invited countries, China and Egypt have declined to attend while some have not even registered for the summit. Diplomats from attending countries will travel from New Delhi to Srinagar.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed China’s strong opposition to hosting any G20 meetings in disputed territories, adding that it would not participate in such gatherings. Both China and Pakistan have criticized India for organizing the event in IIOJK.
Voicepk.net contacted Rafiq Dar, the spokesperson for the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) who said that India was following its ‘own design’ for this summit.
“India’s goal is to show the international community evidence of “peace” in IIOJK when in fact it is only staged peace in the region – ironically imposed through force,” he said.
UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, also opposed India’s decision to hold the summit in Kashmir.
Referring to the grave violations of human rights and the abolition of Kashmir’s special status in 2019, he said, “The Government of India is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalizing a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval’.”
Human rights abuses in IIOJK, AJK
In 2019, India revoked Articles 370 and 35-A of its Constitution, thereby allowing Indians to buy property in Kashmir in what has been termed by Pakistan an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
The issue of human rights violations in Kashmir has been a matter of concern for international bodies.
In IIOJK, excessive use of force by the Indian Army, paramilitary forces, and the Jammu and Kashmir Police restrict freedom of assembly and right to association. Frequent imposition of communication blackouts and internet shutdowns have restricted the flow of information from the region.
Locals allege arbitrary detentions and arrests, including through the use of the Public Safety Act (PSA) to detain individuals without trial.
Dissent is repeatedly snubbed in IIOJK – Yasin Malik, a Kashmiri separatist, is facing two life sentences and 10 years of jail time after he was tried under terrorism charges in Indian courts.
“India has deployed more than one million military and paramilitary in the state to control the civilian riots against their human rights violations,” said Rafiq Dar while speaking to Voicepk.
Similarly, in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), there are restrictions on press freedom and freedom of speech in the region. Intimidation, harassment, and threats have been directed at journalists and activists who support independence or self-determination or criticize the administration.
Allegations of political repression and limitations on political dissents, such as the outlawing of political parties and limitations on the right to peaceful assembly, have been made.
JKLF representatives oppose Pakistan’s provision of state-subject rule in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and the 15th amendment in the interim Constitution of 1974 of AJK.
Furthermore, JKLF shows concerns about India setting a precedent for Pakistan to take measures against human rights in AJK without being questioned.
Religious minorities in AJK have experienced persecution and limitations on their freedom of religion.
There have been reports of unfair trials and abuses of due process rights due to concerns voiced regarding the lack of independence of the judicial system in AJK.