World’s attention drawn towards HR abuses in IOK » Kashmir Media Service

Islamabad, July 15 (KMS): Speakers at a webinar drew the attention of the global community towards the illegality of Indian military presence in occupied Kashmir and stressed the need to stimulate the implementation of the UN-advocated solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The conference organized by Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) addressed the dire need to identify collective efforts by all international actors to highlight the human rights abuses the Muslims are suffering from in occupied Kashmir.

The conference commenced with the welcome remarks of Ms Amna Malik, President COPAIR, who thanked the worthy panelists and participants of the webinar.

Governor Punjab Chaudhary Sarwar, who was chief guest of the occasion stated that the principle of self-determination is a fundamental principle of international law and the case of Kashmir is no different to it. He specified that after the independence of Pakistan, the Princely State of Kashmir was strong-armed and coerced by India and the Hindu Maharaja overlooking the principle of partition decided to fall in line. “A settled principle, the principle of partition that division will be according to the religious demography and majority in a territory was violated by India. Till today, more than three-quarters of Srinagar’s population is Muslim, still demanding their basic right,” he said.

He further stated that India cannot deny the mediation of the UN and international actors in the matter and opt for an ad hominem approach. “India cannot label our country as a terrorist sanctuary and terrorize the Kashmiris. The majority of those malicious agendas of India to allege Pakistan in heinous activities were proven wrong through investigations carried out by local or international authorities over the period,” he said.

Over time, the violator of international norms has also arrived on the scene and it is time to realize those forgotten promises the global community made with the Kashmiris, he added. In the end, he thanked the COPAIR for organizing this conference and advocating the rights of the Kashmiri people.

The Keynote speaker of the conference, Barrister Sultan Mehmood (former PM AJK and current President PTI AJK Chapter) stated that UNSC resolutions recognized Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory. According to the UN advocated solutions, he said, the permanent status of Jammu and Kashmir was to be decided by a plebiscite but the Indian armed forces’ occupied the territory illegally and imposed their draconian laws on harmless Muslims. He added that the Shimla Agreement also ruled out the possibility of unilateral actions by any party to alter ‘special status’ of Jammu and Kashmir, but on August 5, 2019, the BJP leadership counteracted again by rescinding the Article 370.

Mr Khalid Mahmood – Member of UK Parliament, articulated about ‘our lack of diplomatic manoeuvring on the subject and grave human rights abuses our fellow Muslims are suffering from’. He said India is not going to act and comply until and unless the United Nations and international community put constraints on it and make it oblige to the UN resolutions. The British Parliamentarian of Pakistani origin also commented on the efficacy of the UN, as the sole statuary body and their devotedness to the cause of Kashmir. Khalid Mahmood added that the global community should empathize with the Kashmiri population and the deprivations of their basic human rights. He also added that “the OIC is making strides but to put an end to the suffrage of Kashmiris, we have to redouble the diplomatic pressure on Indian and British governments”.

Lord Nazir Ahmad stated that for last two decades the presence of Indian forces has been increasing and now the revocation of Article 370 hints of Indian expansionism and unheeded cries of Kashmiris. He reiterated the fact that diplomatic efforts should be amplified as the initiative of OIC members and actions should be taken similar to the Rohingya where the leader was summoned by International Criminal Court to explain the human rights violations. The Kashmiris are being abused similarly for the past over 70 years by the fascist regime of BJP and RSS, he added.

Ms Kate Hollern, Member of the UK Parliament, said that the British government should endorse the issue at international forums like the UN and the quandary can only be resolved if the international community takes up the task. I urge the British government to play its role in this regard. She mentioned that she was a Shadow Minister of Justice previously and human rights violations in Kashmir are frightening. She called for a collective action.

Mr Imran Hussain, Member of UK Parliament, was of the view that the current assessment of the developments in Kashmir exhibits the violations of international norms and bilateral agreements. “Whether Article 370, 35-A or Domicile law all the developments are violations of international law. India is unilaterally changing the demography of Kashmir and putting an end to Kashmir struggle and these belligerent actions are unheeded by the international community. One has to stop asking the question of the effectiveness of the UN now, after the recent blockade and Muslim clampdown after August 5, 2019, by Modi government. Now after COVID-19 emergency the situation is dire because the destitute health conditions compounded with human right abuses,” he said.

Professor Zafar Nawaz Jaspal from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, was also among the panelists and he reflected on the international norm of self-determination vis-à-vis the plight of the Kashmiri Muslim. He highlighted the UNSC in this context and said that after the revocation of the special status of the disputed territory of Kashmir, the presence of Indian armed forces in the territory is illegal and hostile in the light of Article 42 of the Hague Regulations of 1907. While answering a question of a panelist, Dr Jaspal reiterated that India is projecting its power in the region and beyond since last few years and it is aligned with its partnership with the US and Pakistan’s strategic alignment with China. He added that CPEC is an example of the natural alignment of China and Pakistan strategic needs but Pakistan should not engage itself in regional strife.

Ambassador (retd) Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), also delivered his speech on the territorial integrity and the applicability of the right to self-determination in the modern world. He was of the view that the obstruction or violation of this principle, particularly using force, constitutes a very serious violation of international law. He shed light on the criteria of self-determination and the cases in which people have been successful in attaining freedom through the very same principle which is applied differently to the case of Kashmir. He added that to this date, the Kashmiris have been faced with numerous human rights violations committed by India and Kashmiri people have yet to gain complete autonomy which they have been seeking through self-determination. He said that there are numerous pacific settlement mechanisms, if one is unable to deliver the peace in Kashmir we may employ others. He said, the steering problem is the human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and we call for collective and swift action by the global community for resolving the prolonged crisis. He quoted a British paper headline that “it appears as if the pandemic of blinds from pellet guns have spread in Kashmir”. He concluded that “it is an indigenous struggle of people of Kashmir and we have to build pressure on India either through UN or through regional organizations. We have to mobilize the international community to liberate the people of occupied Kashmir from the brutality of Indian forces.”

Ms Amna Malik, President Center of Pakistan and International Relations, Islamabad, concluded the session and shared her vote of thanks to all the panelists and attendees for contributing to the cause. She was of the view that a paradigm shift is need of the hour, as India is actively destabilizing the fragile peace currently in place by further deteriorating the status of the people in Jammu and Kashmir despite all its obligations under the UN Charter and numerous declarations and resolutions. She also endorsed the recommendations provided by the distinguished speakers, such as the amplification of diplomatic outreach on the subject at regional and international platforms to put constraints on India for its bellicose actions. She also called for a dialogue comprising of all the regional and global powers with a pacific approach. Ms Amna also pledged to keep on advocating for the basic rights of Kashmiri people.

Approximately 500 people from Pakistan and abroad, including representatives of the public and private sector and students attended the conference.

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