Displaying items by tag: kashmir struggle

Friday, 21 February 2020 15:29

The uneven field of international relations

When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad commented on the Kashmir issue and the Indian Citizenship Act, the response was swift. India deemed it an act of injustice to its interest, regardless of the moral, ethical and human rights questions. It went to the extent of applying a sanction on our palm oil exports to the country.

This puts our international relations in jeopardy and at the same time undermines the country’s economy. Such is the present interdependent world, where nations, especially the big and powerful ones, can inflict harm on the weak and poorer ones for speaking the truth.

Had it been one of the superpowers that commented on this injustice, India would be reluctant to affect any retaliation except to issue a diplomatic note of protest. In this interconnected world, no nation can stand alone for each is linked with the others

through bilateral or multilateral engagement of trade, commerce, defence and education.

In addition, there is the linkage through political alignment as equal or subservient partners. Such alignments are usually clustered around rich and powerful nations. Thus, countries need to manoeuvre through these forms of linkages without disrupting

the interests of other countries, especially the superpowers who dictate the terms of international relations.

These powerful countries dominate the world by imposing their brand of submissive democracy. International relations are based not so much on mutual respect and understanding, but on an uneven field of diplomacy of intimidation and coercion to favour the rich and powerful nations.

Thus, smaller nations must negotiate the labyrinthine hypocrisy and diplomatic rigmarole and submit to the concept of justice and injustice as determined by the superpowers, such as the United States, China, Russia and Britain.

But the US is most blatant in this respect. Its arbitrary stance in this matter is seen in its justification of Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinian people. It deems these as not acts of injustice but of self-defence, even though they involved the killing of innocent women and children.

Further, it supports Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank and legitimises Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, as well as recognises Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. All of these were done unilaterally without the involvement of the Palestinians. This is the highest level of hypocrisy in international relations.

The US uses its economic and military clout to bring in line countries that oppose its hegemonic agenda through regime change, such as Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, by way of covert and overt military intervention. It also employs sanctions against such countries, notwithstanding the sufferings inflicted on innocent citizens.

A case in point is the assassination of Iran’s military commander, General Qassem

Soleimani, by President Donald Trump on the pretext of curbing terrorism. And the circumspect Iranian response is an example of the intimidating factor of the big powers.

However, countries that match their economic and military might and do not subscribe to their hegemonic agenda will be subverted through proxies or covert operations as they cannot afford open confrontations with such countries for fear of retaliation.

For example, North Korea has been a thorn in their side. Despite sanctions, military threats and coercion, North Korea has remained undeterred as it has the military capability to respond to such threats. America will conduct open military confrontation only with countries that do not have the military capability to retaliate.

International relations are fraught with hypocrisy and deception. They will never be based on justice and fairness because powerful and rich nations will impose their values and norms to serve their interests. International bodies set up to ensure justice and fairness in international engagements are usually toothless, only good for rhetoric and often subservient to the powerful and rich nations.

Military might and economic power will reign supreme in determining the world order. Justice in international relations is a prismatic deception favouring the rich and powerful nations. Most leaders of small nations are reluctant to speak the truth for fear of incurring their ire.

Nevertheless, someone must stand up and point out the injustice and Dr Mahathir did just that.

The writer is a lecturer at the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang

Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 20 February 2020

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/02/567159/uneven-field-international-relations

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LETTERS: Joint declaration on Kashmir and Palestine for freedom and self determination

COGNIZANT of the fact that Kashmiris and Palestinians have had to endure more than 70 years of occupation, oppression and denial of human rights by the occupiers – India and Israel; and the close collaboration developing between them to the level of military cooperation,

And knowing well that this cooperation is also tied to their mutually shared extremist, militant ideologies of Hindutva and Zionism which in turn are geared towards the destruction of Kashmiri and Palestinian religion and culture

Fully aware that the UN has passed resolutions that affirm the status of both Kashmir and Palestine as occupied and disputed lands, hence the Kashmiri and Palestinian struggles against occupation are legitimate and supported by the international community as evidenced by the growing solidarity expressed from many countries and communities around the world

Reasserting the Kashmiri right to self-determination and the Palestinians’ right to their own state, despite the growing India-Israel alliance to continue occupying the territories where such occupations have been always extremely brutal and have brought untold suffering to the Kashmiris as it has to the Palestinians,

We therefore

On Kashmir:

Demand that all Indian troops withdraw from Kashmir and return the territory to normalcy and reinstate Article 370; end the security lockdown and restore the right to free movement.

Condemn the savage response of the Indian state to the popular people's movement by using pellet guns, banned in other countries that has blinded and maimed hundreds, from a year-old child to the elderly, while the numbers of the dead and injured continue to rise on a daily basis.

Strongly demand that India immediately end the torture, rape, sexual violence, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial killings in Kashmir.

Demand all political detainees including 13,000 youth be released immediately.

Salute and stand in solidarity with Kashmiris in their protest against the Indian state, and we fully recognize the political sovereignty and call for Azadi (freedom) for Kashmiris.

On Palestine, we:

Demand that the right of return for all Palestinians be rendered unconditionally and all Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails be released.

Demand that the Zionist settlements on all Palestinian lands be dismantled and the lands returned to the Palestinians as well as all destroyed properties compensated.

Insist that after decades of oppression under former Israeli leaders and now Benjamin Netanyahu, be held responsible and accountable for the destruction of Gaza, the oppression in the occupied West Bank , intrusions and violence on the Al Aqsa mosque and for the atrocities committed on the Palestinians.

Strongly resist and condemn the agenda to Judaize Baitul Maqdis and Masjid Al Aqsa by Zionist Israel, and we call upon all Muslim countries to unite to oppose this agenda. All Israeli troops in the Al Aqsa mosque compound and in East Jerusalem must be withdrawn immediately.

Denounce the Deal of the Century by the US as a peace deal for the Palestinians. There can be no compromise on the right of return for Palestinians.

Demand that East Jerusalem be declared the capital of a future Palestinian state and no foreign mission to the Israeli regime be established in Jerusalem as confirmed by UN resolutions.

Demand specifically, the siege on Gaza be immediately removed and the necessary resources including financial needs to rehabilitate and rebuild Gaza guaranteed.

Recommend that the UN Inquiry team firmly lay the charge of war crimes on Israel in line with the laws on human rights and crimes against humanity.

Endorsed by:

Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organization

Alliance of World Mosques In Defence of Al Aqsa

Secretariate for the Assembly of Ulama Asia

Palestine Cultural Organization of Malaysia

Malaysian Kashmir Youth Forum

Muslim Minority Affairs Center

SEJAGAT Malaysia

Justice and Development Organization of Cambodia

Al Aqsa Working Group Indonesia

Council for Humanitarian Network Syekhul Islam Thailand

SALIMAH Malaysia

IReach Malaysia

Oct 14, 2019

Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 24 October 2019

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/10/532829/joint-declaration-kashmir-palestine-freedom-self-determination



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Thursday, 24 October 2019 08:58

Malaysia to continue to speak out on Jammu, Kashmir

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will continue to speak out on Jammu and Kashmir to ensure all parties abide by the United Nations (UN) resolution to resolve its conflict, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said he would not retract his statement made on the matter at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York last month.

“We will speak our minds. We will not retract or change what we’ve said.

“We felt that the people of Kashmir had benefited from the UN resolution, and all countries should abide by it, not just India or Pakistan but even the United States.

“Otherwise, what’s the use of having the UN?” Dr Mahathir said this to reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

The Prime Minister had spoken at the UN General Assembly about the need to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir conflict, urging for the problems to be solved peacefully.

He said: "Now, despite UN (United Nations) resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied. There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. The problem must be solved by peaceful means. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the Rule of Law.”

His remarks however caused backlash, and started a #BoycottMalaysia campaign on social media.

On Monday, India’s top vegetable oil trade body Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEAI) had asked its members to stop buying palm oil from Malaysia, as a ”punishment” for criticising India over its policy toward Kashmir.

Following this, Dr Mahathir said the government would study the impact of the boycott on palm oil shipments.

“We’ll study the effect of their boycott but the Indian government has not said anything. So we’ll see what their government policy is going to be like.”

Dr Mahathir had stressed that Malaysia was a trading nation and needed to be nice to people, but also stressed that it was important to speak up.

“Sometimes what we say is liked by some and disliked by others,” he said, adding that he would not be reporting India to the World Trade Organisation yet.

Published in: The New Straits Times, Wednesday 23 October 2019

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/532293/malaysia-continue-speak-out-jammu-kashmir



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Thursday, 17 October 2019 17:02

Speak about oppression, Muslims urged

Kuala Lumpur: Ascertaining the cause is one thing but finding the solution is quite another for panellists and participants at The Palestine-Kashmir Forum: The Struggle for Freedom & Self Determination, as the question that hit hardest and most lingered on was ‘What more can we do?’

It was posed during a question-and-answer session by a participant who acknowledged all the points raised and debated by the panellists but was unconvinced on the plan forward in terms of protecting the rights of Palestinians and Kashmiris for self-determination in the face of hostile forces.

In her keynote address at the forum held at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) on Monday, Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Amna Baloch, described the Indian government’s action on Kashmir as crossing all lines of cruelty after sending thousands of troops there upon withdrawing Kashmir’s special status.

“Kashmir is burning,” she said, referring to a communication shutdown that brought daily life to a standstill and contributed to a shortage of commodities. Soldiers targeted Kashmiri youths, sending those arrested to distant locations outside the territory despite protests from some of India’s well-known opposition leaders and non-governmental organisations.

To recap, the government of India revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 5 this year. Article 370 conferred power on Jammu and Kashmir to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state.

Now no longer bound by the article, Kashmir is ruled directly from New Delhi. However, some including Amna’s deputy, Atif Sharif Mian, believe that India was planning to annex the territory by revoking Kashmir’s special status.

However, revoking the special status would permit outsiders to reside in the territory which could reduce and replace the Muslims as the majority populace there. With such a demographic change, Kashmir would no longer be a majority Muslim state which may be the intent.

As for Palestine, Director for Palestine Cultural Organisation Malaysia, Muslim Imran, said that US President Donald Trump’s adminisration has only worsened the situation for Palestinians by declaring Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel while the Jewish nation continued to usurp Palestinian land.

Trump also became the first US president to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

Other developments that hamper the Palestinian cause come from Arab countries themselves attempting to normalise relations with Israel and the failure among Palestinian factions to establish a unified platform.

Despite that, Palestinian resistance endures because the Palestinians themselves are fighting Israel’s subjugation and oppression while the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement has so far been more and more successful.

Talking among the panellists, the president of the Malaysian Consultative Council For Islamic Organisation, Azmi Abdul Hamid, made a stark observation — that 1.8 billion Muslims can make a difference but are hesitant due to the narrative that Muslims can’t do much.

“Muslims have the will to not go down (easily). They must speak about oppression like we are doing through this forum. Don’t wait for government to act,” he said

Back to the question of “what more can we do?” Being united as an ummah is one, continuing to support BDS and trying to seek ways to reconcile one another’s interest despite differing opinions and methods is another.

To that is another question — do Muslims have the will to do so?

Published in: The New Straits Times, Wednesday 16 October 2019

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/530446/speak-about-oppression-muslims-urged

The event was held at IAIS Malaysia on 14 October 2019, click here for more information about the event.