NEW YORK, Feb 03 (APP): Pakistan is committed to continuing its support to the people of occupied Jammu & Kashmir until they achieve their legitimate rights, freedom and liberty, Ambassador Munir Akram reaffirmed Friday at a webinar in which nine distinguished speakers joined in calling for knocking at the world’s conscience to push for the immediate resolution of the decades-old Kashmir dispute.
“The struggle of the Kashmiri people for freedom and self-determination is legitimate, under the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and international laws,” he said in his opening remarks at the webinar, which was organized by the Pakistan Mission to the UN, to commemorate Kashmir Solidarity Day on Feb 5.
Former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua delivered the keynote address from Islamabad in which she called for “concrete and meaningful” steps for the full implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.
“History tells us that struggles for freedom cannot be vanquished,” Ms. Janjua said, adding that the valiant Kashmiri people are bound to realize their cherished goal of freedom.
Other participants included the Ambassador to the UN of Turkiye, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia as well as Ghulam Nabi Mir, Chairman of the Kashmir Diaspora Coalition & President of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum(WKAF); Victoria Schofield, a noted British author and activist; Abdel Hamid Siyam, Professor of Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; Mushaal Hussein Malik, an advocate of rights of women and children in war/conflict zones; Salman Khan, a human rights activist; and Hashir Ali Awan, a youth activist.
At the start of the webinar, Ambassador Akram said that India’s occupation of Jammu & Kashmir is illegal, contrary to the UN Charter and the resolutions of the Security Council.
India had violated the human rights of Kashmiris for over 70 years, he said that this repression has intensified in the aftermath of the unilateral measures initiated by India since 5 August 2019, noting that Indian campaign of oppression has not succeeded in extinguishing the desire and demand of the Kashmiri people for freedom and self-determination.
“Their freedom struggle continues and will continue,” the Pakistan envoy added.
Turkiye’s UN Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu said that India’s August 2019 unilateral decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 had complicated the longstanding dispute. The People of Jammu and Kashmir continue to suffer from excessive use of force, curfews, and arbitrary arrests, he said.
Ambassador Sinirlioglu said that the preservation of the ethnic and demographic structure of the region was a key element in the UN and OIC resolutions.
He said the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric and manifestations of Islamophobia deepen the problem. “Racism, xenophobia, hate speech, and intolerance are a threat to our common democratic values, as well as harming peace and harmony of our societies.”
Azerbaijan’s UN Ambassador Yashar Aliyev said, “As a responsible member of the international community, Azerbaijan supports the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions…
“The peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues related to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is of particular importance also in terms of ensuring peace and security in the wider South Asian region,”
Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdulaziz l-Alwasil urged parties to the Kashmir dispute to engage in a constructive negotiation with a spirit of wisdom and dialogue and to avoid escalation leading to tensions.
Saudi Arabia, he said, was ready to work with the two neighboring countries to launch a discussion on this matter with the goal of achieving a sustainable political solution.
WKAF’s Ghulam Nabi Mir denounced India’s human rights violations in Kashmir, saying since the advent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, there have been no legislative assembly elections in the occupied territory. And since 2020, the occupation authorities have started bringing in more Hindus to the Muslim-majority state.
“They (the Indians)n are using very harsh inhumane tactics, including attacks on Muslims sacred spaces and repression and the closure of educational institutions, religious endowments, and places of worship strikingly resembling Israel’s actions in Palestine,” he added.
British Author Victoria Schofield called for building international pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
“I am a non-Kashmiri, but I have been following the issue for decades. The people should not have to live the lives of trauma that they do live in and therefore, it’s imperative that there is some form of resolution.” she said.
In a passionate address, Kashmiri activist Mushaal Hussein Malik vividly described the trauma of the Kashmiri people under the brutal Indian occupation, and gave a clarion call to the world community to take urgent steps to enable them to exercise their right to self-determination.
“We have seen that Indian forces have never been held accountable on any war crimes,” she said, pointing out that India has been consistently violating international law, and the occupation forces must be persecuted under international law.
Prof. Abdelhamid Siyam said, “I am a Palestinian and I know what it means to be under occupation. I know what it means to be exiled from your homeland and continue to see your people suffering day and day out.
He added, “I see so many similarities between the Palestinian and Kashmir issue — from the very beginning when you see that both issue were the direct result of United Kingdom’s colonialism.”
Prof. Siyam called for activating all means available to the Kashmir people around the world and keep awareness of the issue alive.
“We live in the age of connectivity and globalism, so every issue of the Kashmiri people, should be known to the world, to pressure big countries into doing something,” h added.
Kashmiri activist Salman Khan and Hashir Ali Awan also spoke, calling for an early resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
“We need to make sure that we have one slogan and leader, to ensure that it is followed,” Khan said.