World needs to say India Enough is Enough on Kashmir: PM Nawaz
The two-day International Parliamentary Seminar on Kashmir organized by Young Parliamentarians’ Forum of Pakistan’s National Assembly urged the UN to fulfill responsibility of holding plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to enable the Kashmiri people decide their political future by themselves. The forum was attended over 400 delegates, which included legislators as well as experts from the European Parliament, UK, Canada and North America.
The unique features of this seminar/conference were that young members of the Pakistani Parliament were in the forefront of organizing it and that a very large number of young people, mainly students, attended it. Two parliamentarians in particular, both females—Shaza Fatima Khawaja and Rumina Khursheed Allam—were in the forefront of the organizing effort.
Two members of the British House of Lords, Lord Nazir Ahmed and Lord Qurban Husain, both originally from Azad Kashmir, participated in the Seminar delivering passionate speeches on the Kashmir dispute.
Three members of the European Parliament, Ms Julie Ward, a long-time peace activist, Amjad Bashir and Muhammad Afzal Khan, all based in Britain, also attended. President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan and Speaker of the AJK Shah Ghulam Qadir Khan as well as a number of Pakistani parliamentarians also delivered speeches.
Two panelists in particular—Mushaal Hussain Malik (wife of detained Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik) and Suhail A Shah (a young journalist from Indian Occupied Kashmir)—made a great impact. They brought firsthand accounts of the suffering of the people in the Valley.
The participants from Canada, the UK, EU, and Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan carried a detailed resolution on the second day of the conference and called on India to cease forthwith all human rights violations against and stop bloodshed of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
While inaugurating the seminar Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the world needed to tell India “enough is enough” with regard to its policy towards the freedom movement in held Kashmir.
Seventy years of brutal repression and Kashmiri struggle in the face of that oppression have shown cries of freedom cannot be stifled by sounds of bullets, the PM added, calling for an end to the “continued suffering” of generations in IHK.
Referring to Burhan Wani as a “vibrant and charismatic leader”, the premier said that his “martyrdom has become a rallying point for the freedom loving people of the territory”.
The oppressors’ efforts “to silent that one voice have unleashed a thousand more”, he said that a promise was made to Kashmir 70 years ago, not only by Pakistan and the United Nations, but also by India to recognise the people’s right to self-determination.
PM Nawaz spoke about the efforts made to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people at international fora and told the conference that Pakistan would continue to support the struggle of the people in the region.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz addressing the seminar said that Jammu and Kashmir dispute is a stigma on the international conscience. The heart of this dispute is the aspiration of (nearly 20 million) Kashmiri people for a life of peace, freedom and dignity.
“The presence of more than 700,000 occupation forces for around 12 million people in the IOK is a clear manifestation of the Indian policy to use state-terrorism as a tool to suppress the just struggle of the Kashmiri people. The ratio of civilian to armed forces personnel is the highest in the world” he added.
“8 July 2016, which marks the extra judicial murder of young Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani at the hands of Indian occupying forces has proven to be a pivotal turning point for the Kashmir freedom movement. 200,000 people who attended his funeral inspired the entire population of IOK to recalibrate their march towards Azadi, despite a reign of terror unleashed by Indian occupation forces” Sartaj Aziz noted.
“Pakistan is utilizing all possible avenues to project the cause of Kashmir and to find its lasting settlement in accordance with the wishes of the people. Let there be no doubt that Pakistan will continue to extend its steadfast support to the Kashmiri people ” he concluded.
Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in his address said that Parliament of Pakistan stood committed to provide all moral and principled support to Kashmiris in their rightful struggle for self-determination.
He said that total percentage of Muslim population has gone down from over 79% in 1947 to 68% now. This systematic cleansing is part of many other measures to alter the demography in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which successive governments in India have been undertaking. Till-to-date, he said that another 1 million have been murdered in perpetual genocide. Between 1990 and 2016, Indian forces committed more than 18 recorded massacres, each time killing Kashmiris in hundreds. Tens of thousands men taken into custody over these years have disappeared into thin air. Their fate remained unknown until a few of many thousand unmarked and unnamed mass graves were discovered with 6,700 tortured, murdered and buried corpses of Kashmiris during 2009.
The concluding session of the Seminar on Friday January 6, was addressed by Chairman of the Pakistan Senate, Senator Raza Rabbani who in his wide-ranging remarks took to task both the United Nations as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for their failure to address in meaningful way the long-festering problem of Kashmir.
Senator Rabbani emphasized that it was not merely a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan but at its core, it was about the fundamental right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination.
Earlier, the speakers in their addresses strongly condemned the use of pellet guns by Indian forces to willfully blind the people, mostly youth, in thousands. They said that the UN had a responsibility towards stopping Kashmiris’ systematic genocide by the Indian forces. The speakers reminded India of the repeated pledges made by its leaders at the UN and the Indian Parliament to allow the Kashmiris to decide their future through a plebiscite. The speakers also expressed concern over the escalating tensions between Pakistan and India on the Line of Control and killing of Kashmiri civilians.