Kashmir solidarity day 2019: International dimension
As the Kashmir solidarity day was observed the World over, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that all those who love freedom throughout the world must stand with the people of Kashmir. And President Arif Alvi demanded of Indian government to uphold the rights of the Kashmiri people instead of “justifying its terrorism” against innocent citizens.This year, the day was observed in Pakistan, both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and other parts of the world at a time when Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir have reached a new level of oppression and human rights’ denial to crush the indigenous freedom movement against the subjugating forces. Alongside Kashmiris, government of Pakistan had planned a number of activities to mark the day and expose massive human rights violations and brutality being committed by the Indian forces in the occupied Kashmir.
International Conference on Kashmir in the UK Parliament was the hall mark of this year’s solidarity day celebrations. Rehman Chisti, currently, chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan (APPG-Pakistan), was the main organiser of the Conference. This conference was attended by all political parties from Pakistan and UK. AJK President and more than three dozen Pakistani parliamentarians were in attendance including opposition leaders. Dozens of Kashmiris representative groups also participated in the event. While addressing the conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said we are here to express support to Kashmiris and all those who love freedom: “Humanity is bleeding in Kashmir, people are distressed, life is extremely difficult with each passing day. Rape, murder and killings and grievous injuries are daily occurrences.” He emphasized that the right to self-determination was a basic right of the Kashmiri people. “In Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir, humanity is bleeding, No doctrine of state security or sovereignty can justify such heinous acts of violence”. Qureshi tweeted.
India had asked the UK to stop Kashmir event in London, however the UK government declined. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) source said, “Members of Parliament are independent of the government; it is for individual members to decide who they meet and for what purpose.” MP’s from Conservatives, Labour and Liberals were present in the gathering. Notable were the shadow foreign secretary of the Labour Party, Emily Thornberry and MP Debbie Abrahams. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who served in former PM David Cameron’s cabinet as Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office also attended the conference. The first Sikh MP of Indian origin Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was also present.
Conference resolution presented by Lord Qurban Hussain was unanimously approved by the international conference. It condemned the atrocities committed by Indian military on Kashmiris. The forum demanded world bodies to stop human rights violations in the Indian occupied territory. It also extended support to Kashmiris in their just struggle. Addressing the conference member British House of Lords, Sayeeda Warsi said “sexual violence in Kashmir as a tool of war is most horrific and India is failing to fulfil its responsibility”. Debbie Abrahams said international community needs to wake up to take interest in the issue of Kashmir and their right of self-determination. Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said there is a special role for the UK government in terms of the historic role that it has to play for resolving the Kashmir dispute. Labour MP Sharron Debbie said Kashmir has become a horror story but peace can never be achieved by violent means. Ex-Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevick said Kashmir is the longest lasting conflict where people are suffering and “huge abuses have created refugee problem”.
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan said let’s hope this conference will bring worldwide realisation about Kashmir issue. He said, “International media has exposed massive human rights violations in Kashmir. There is global awareness but governments are tight lipped.”
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said, “Right to self-determination is the fundamental right of the people of Kashmir”. Senator Sherry Rehman said, “Over the time we have seen three generations of Kashmiris under a reign of unchecked terror. Sadly the world conscience has not spoken up enough to end this impunity.”
The meeting voiced that sufferings of Kashmiri people have increased while the dispute has not been addressed and it has negative implications for regional peace and security. The resolution stressed on the need of providing immediate medical assistance to the people of Kashmir who were shot by pellet guns.
A seminar to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day was organized at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington DC. The event began with screening of a special video message by President Azad Jammu and Kashmir which emphasized the importance of a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions. Speaking at the occasion, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan urged the international community, specifically the United States, to play its due role in resolving this longstanding dispute. A special documentary portraying the unabated and undeterred resilience of the Kashmiri people was also screened.
This year the day was observed in the backdrop of intensified atrocities by Indian occupation forces that are systematically eliminating Kashmiris physically as well as economically as part of India’s campaign of ethnic cleansing; their political rights are also being stampeded. Indian leadership is engaged in all sorts of manipulations aimed at bringing about a demographic change to the disadvantage of Muslim population of Kashmir. Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights has effectively exposed the human rights abuses and brutalities by Indian occupation forces against Kashmiris in its report. Constitution of Commission of Inquiry by the UNSG is now overdue; UNSG needs to perform this duty without further delay.