Washington D.C, May 23 (KMS): Hundreds of Kashmiri Americans – men, women and children – from various states of the US staged a huge rally in front of the White House. They were demanding of the United Nations to take steps towards granting the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right to self-determination.
Raising slogans like “Kashmiri Lives Matter Too”, “Kashmir in Pain: India in Shame”, “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir”, “Demilitarize Kashmir”, “UN Implement Resolutions on Kashmir” and “Stop Forced Disappearances and Torture in Kashmir,” the marchers held candle light vigil on the sidewalk of the White House.
The Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Syed Ali Gilani, in his keynote address over phone from Srinagar called upon the world leaders to persuade India and Pakistan to initiate a meaningful dialogue and associate the Kashmiri leadership with it to settle the Kashmir dispute, once and for all. He maintained that it is better for Indian leadership to shun its stubborn approach and resolve this long pending dispute. “The Indian army has unleashed a new wave of terror, killing dozens and maiming hundreds of unarmed protesters, using bullets and lethal pellet-guns aimed to kill and maim,” Syed Ali Gilani pointed out. He said that peace prosperity and stability in the region was only possible when the Kashmir dispute was resolved to the satisfaction of the Kashmiri people.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, who was ‘Guest of Honor’, in his telephonic address from Srinagar thanked the audience for expressing their solidarity with the people of Kashmir. He said that Kashmir is facing the worst kind of oppression unleashed by Indian army. Innocent people are being killed, maimed, blinded, incarcerated, tortured and humiliated by the occupational forces. “India is using its military might to crush the peaceful resistance movement of Kashmir. And this all is being done with impunity,” he said. Yasin Malik deplored that no civilized nation, not even the US, seemed to be concerned about the human rights violations being committed in occupied Kashmir. “Not a single word has been uttered by them against human rights violations taking place in Kashmir,” he added.
Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhary, ‘Special Guest’ of the rally, warned that the Kashmiri youth, who had laid down their arms to pursue their struggle by peaceful means, were again becoming restive and the prevailing tension in occupied Kashmir might explode and lead to a conflict. He therefore urged the international community to resolve the Kashmir dispute for the sake of peace and stability in South Asia. Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhary highlighted that Indian army is conducting a campaign of slaughter in occupied Kashmir. Each day they shoot and kill civilians; detain and brutally torture innocent Kashmiri men, women and children, he lamented.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, ‘Main Organizer’ of the rally, said that it is one thing to deny a people their right to freedom of speech and the freedom to vote. It is another thing to deny them the right to live. He added that there is no freedom in Kashmir but only death, destruction and oppression. Dr Fai reiterated that the US paved the way for freedom around the world. The US can help the people of Kashmir achieve peace, freedom and self-determination, he added.
Dr Imtiaz Khan, President of Kashmiri American Council, supported dialogue between India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute, but emphasized that the leadership of the people of Kashmir must be made integral part of the talks process. He urged US President, Donald Trump to listen to former Indian Home Minister, P Chidambaram, who said on February 25, 2017 that India has lost Kashmir. Dr Khan said that Yashwant Sinha, former foreign minister of India, said on January 27, 2017 that India has failed Kashmiris and Kashmiris claim that they have lost faith in India.
Sardar Zulfikhar Khan moderated the event and Sardar Zarif Khan and Sardar Zubair Khan thanked the attendees for their participation.
Others who addressed the rally included Dr M A Dhar, Javaid Rathore, Sardar Taj Khan, Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalavi, Choudhry Shaban, Gulfaraz Inqilabi, Sardar Sajid Sawar, Raja Liaqat Kiyani, Malik Hamid, Zeeshan Haider, Choudhry Zahoor Akhtar, Sardar Zahid Khan, Asghar khan, Abdul Rashid, Raja Mukhtar, Wajid Ali Shah, Sardar Afzal Khan, Sabar Khan, Sardar Tahir Ghulam, Syed Mukhtar Shah, Amana Habib, Ms Farah Sawar, Ms Mumtaz Kosar and Ms Khalida Perveen.