Exiled Kashmir leaders ask UN to intervene as tensions rise

1 week ago
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Kashmiri leaders are appealing for the United Nations to urgently intervene in the rising tensions over the future of the Himalayan territory.

One key leader told Sky News: “Even if the world doesn’t care about Kashmiris, then care about humanity because what happens in Kashmir will affect the whole world.”

Mushaal Hussein Mullick, who is in exile in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, said she was speaking for those, including her arrested husband, “who have no voice”.

Yaseen Malik (R) is awaiting trial in India
Image: Yaseen Malik (R) is awaiting trial in India

Her partner, Yaseen Malik, is considered the founder of the armed struggle in Kashmir and is one of the most popular separatist leaders.

He is the foremost advocate for the separation of Kashmir from both India and Pakistan but he’s currently in India’s Tihar jail awaiting trial on terror offences.

He denies the accusations.

Mr Malik leads the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and renounced violence in 1994, instead adopting peaceful methods to try to reach a settlement on Kashmir’s future.

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Before his recent arrest he had one-on-one meetings with the president of Pakistan, the prime minister of Pakistan, the prime minister of India and other world leaders.

Now though, his wife says his health has dramatically deteriorated in jail because of “torture” she claims he’s enduring.

She said he is “critically ill” and needs to be moved to an intensive care facility.

The couple have been married for ten years and have a young child but Mrs Malik said they’ve spent only 60 days together throughout their marriage because of her husband’s repeated arrests and prison terms.

Both India and Pakistan lay claim to Kashmir
Image: Both India and Pakistan lay claim to Kashmir

Hundreds of political leaders, activists and academics have been rounded up over the past few weeks and months in a widespread clampdown on Kashmir by India.

The tension escalated dramatically a week ago when the country’s prime minister revoked the territory’s special status which guaranteed it certain autonomy.

Communications in the territory have been mostly cut ever since with internet and phone lines shutdown – and a rolling curfew.

Both India and Pakistan lay claim to Kashmir but the Indian leader overturned a 70-year-old agreement guaranteeing autonomy to the territory when he revoked Article 370 last Monday.

The two nuclear-armed neighbours have already fought two wars over the legitimacy of Kashmir and the area has been a source of continued tension since independence in 1947.

A furious Pakistan has now cut trade ties and downgraded diplomatic relations with India in protest at the latest move by Delhi – with the Pakistan prime minister accusing his Indian counterpart of acting like Hitler.

But India has held fast, claiming it is restoring an historical wrong by bringing the territory under the control of the central government.

India has long accused Pakistan of fostering terrorism and mounting terror attacks from within the Himalayan territory.

People have been protesting in the region
Image: People have been protesting in the region

In an address to the nation earlier this week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the revocation of Article 370 would unleash a host of fresh jobs and business opportunities for the territory which he said had been left behind and deprived.

Reports from inside the territory are of food shortages and growing signs of desperation and anger as the isolation of Kashmir continues.

Thousands of Indian soldiers are patrolling the area and there are army checkpoints throughout the territory.

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