Islamabad, he added is using religion to fan terrorism in both Kashmir and Afghanistan

China has to be stopped from backing Pakistan. And India can play a vital role when it joins other local superpowers in doing so. Only when China-Pakistan nexus is broken can the issue of Kashmir between India and Pakistan solved, according to a senior Uyghur leader, currently in self-imposed exile in the United States. He also went on to call Pakistan “a fake democracy, living in the Middle Ages”. Islamabad, he added is using religion to fan terrorism in both Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Releasing a 48-page Report on ‘Comparative Study of Human Development and Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan’ done by Delhi-headquartered think-tank Law and Society Alliance, Ilshat Hassan Kokbore, Director of the Chinese Affairs Department of the World Uyghur Congress, echoed similar emotions.

“If we can stop China backing Pakistan, then the question of Jammu and Kashmir can be peacefully solved,” Kokbore, Director of the Chinese Affairs Department of the World Uyghur Congress said.

“For finding a solution for Uighur and Jammu and Kashmir issues, we need to stop China. The route is in China and this is the number one threat to humanity,” Kokbore added, while sharing his thoughts at a webinar, speaking through video conferencing from Washington DC.

“I don’t think without China’s support, Pakistan can continue its terrorism. If we counter China, Pakistan will come to the table to find a solution to the Jammu and Kashmir question.”

Other speakers at the webinar included Kashmiri-origin senior journalist Aarti Tikoo, social activist and political analyst Yana Mirchandani, and Chairman of Sunrise in Kashmir Faaiz Dijoo.

For countering counter China, the Uighur leader said India must support the cause of democracy in China, particularly the movements in Hong Kong, Tibet, and East Turkestan. “We shall find a solution to the Uyghur issue if China becomes a democracy. And India could find a solution to the border issue.”

Criticizing Muslim-majority nations for their silence on the persecution of Uyghur’s, Kokbore said that the world has resorted to appeasement of China. “Countries like the US, Europe are speaking, India has started to speak, we have not heard anything from the Islamic and Turkic world. They are all silent and are going into bilateral agreements with China. We are left with no choice.”

In her comments, Aarti Tikoo quoted the Freedom House Index to highlight that people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan were not enjoying freedom at all, while the people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed much more freedom. Tikoo blamed Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir for the security-related curbs to freedoms that one witnesses today in the region that has completed one year as a union territory earlier this month.

Sharing her views on the human rights condition, Tikoo said India had given access to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and other prominent international human rights groups to study the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Contrarily, Pakistan has never given access to international human rights defenders to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

On the attempts of Pakistan to change the demography of PoK and G-B, she highlighted, “Pakistan has ensured a rapid demographic change in PoK and G-B through laws and by settling down populations from other parts of Pakistan. In the last 70 years, India ensured that there is no demographic change in the population in J&K and it continues to maintain a Muslim-majority character. The only community that was ethnically cleansed were Kashmiri Hindus. Hence, Pakistan was able to ensure a demographic change in PoK & G-B, and the Indian side of J&K as well.”

Dijoo, in his remarks argued in favour of relaxing the communication curbs that include lack of 4G mobile phone connectivity, and for reopening of schools and colleges that have remained closed since the Article 370 of the Indian constitution was rendered ineffective by the Indian parliament in August last year. And has suggested the Indian government needs to create avenues to produce revenues. “The entire Kashmir is being trapped in drugs abuse now. We need to engage and address the youth. That is how we are going to make a change.”

Yana Mirchandani argued that in the earlier regimes in Jammu and Kashmir, funds allocated by the Indian government were gobbled up by corrupt politicians in the erstwhile state. “The politicians of the erstwhile state and Article 370 of the Indian constitution did not allow the people of Kashmir to bond with the Indian state. That was the reason the Indian parliament had to do away with Article 370 and the discriminatory Article 35A.”

She noted that the Indian Army that was deployed to protect the local population from terror attacks are being stone-pelted by vested interests in the state. “Personal vendettas between two locals that result in crimes are blamed on the Indian Army and the force that is there to protect us is being painted as the villain,” she said.