Kashmiris are left with two choices – either to live as subjugated and oppressed people or legitimately resist the occupation even in its armed manifestation as a last resort, said experts at a webinar hosted by Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFOVK) on Thursday. London-based academic and legal expert Prof. Dr. Naiz A. Shah said India’s occupation of Kashmir has pushed Kashmiris to last resort i.e. to pick up arms. “As the rule of law has not been upheld in past over 70 years, Kashmiris cannot be blamed if they go for the last resort,” he said referring to armed resistance against Indian occupation. Dr Shah emphasized there are various options for the resolution of Kashmir dispute which include democratic method of free and impartial plebiscite but armed resistance is an option which is legal right of Kashmiris under Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. “Rule of law has never be upheld since 1947; India’s declaration after acceding to the twin human rights covenants of 1979 is in compatible with the right of self-determination principle as embodied in the preamble of Universal Declaration of Human Rights under para 3 of the covenants which prescribe positive obligations,” he explained.However, Dr. Shah said Pakistan “has not been consistent in cashing on those drawbacks of India” that India shall promote and safeguard right to self-determination. Pakistani diplomat Abdul Basit, who has served as Pakistan High Commissioner to India in the past, stated that India has left no scope for diplomacy after it illegally annexed Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. “We should not with engage India bilaterally at this time and we should insist on third party mediation,” he observed.Taking a dig at Pakistan foreign policy, Ambassador Basit said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was “not able to formalize UNSC meeting over Kashmir and OIC has not held any special session on Kashmir”. “50 years of bilateral talks have not produced any results; India is buying time and engaging Pakistan but has diverted the talks to other than Kashmir. And after 9/11, India has portrayed armed resistance in Kashmir as terrorism and after 2008 Mumbai episode, India is reluctant to even talk over Kashmir,” he said. “India has no desire to talk Kashmir, and international community has shown little interest while civil society of India has backed its government policy, Kashmiris have suffered heavily under draconian laws,” he said.Basit said time has reached that there is a need to juxtapose the political and military resistance in Kashmir. “I don’t see any other option than armed resistance to force India to come on table,” he maintained. Ambassador Basit and Dr Shah proposed a network of experts on political and legal fronts besides vying for a special envoy by Pakistan who will exclusively work on Kashmir.LFOVK is holding a series of webinars to trigger a debate over Kashmir’s international armed conflict character. Under “International armed conflict and Kashmir”, LFOVK draws various expert opinions from across the globe by inviting international law experts, diplomats, politicians and lawyers.