Pakistani-Americans slam India’s oppression in Kashmir; back freedom struggle

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 28 (APP): Speakers at a large gathering of Pakistani-Americans, held in New York on Thursday to mark the “Kashmir Black Day”, urged the United Nations and the international community to pressurize India into allowing the Kashmiri people to exercise their U.N.-pledged right of self-determination to pave the way for peace in the region.

They also denounced the brutal tactics employed by Indian security forces in attempts to crush the Kashmiri people’s freedom struggle and called for an end to the killings, while reaffirming full support for their cause, at the meeting which took place at the Pakistan Consulate General.

The “Kashmir Black Day” marks the anniversary of India’s massive invasion and occupation of the Himalayan state on 27 October 1947.

“This day, the entire Pakistani nation reaffirms its unwavering support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their just struggle for freedom,” Consul General Ayesha Ali told the meeting, which included a number of students.

“Our greatest asset is the national consensus on this core issue,” she said, adding that love for Kashmir and allegiance to this just cause remains an element of faith in every stratum of the society.

“This was the reason our beloved Quaid referred to Kashmir as Pakistan’s ‘Jugular vein’. It runs in our blood”.

Other speakers included community activists Dr. Asif Rehman, Taj Khan, Tashfeen Qayyum, Saghir Khan, Bazah Roohi and Raheela Fidous. Carin Jodha Fischer, an American human rights advocate who supports the Kashmir cause, joined the gathering via Zoom from Washington.

In her remarks, Consul General Ayesha Ali drew attention to Indian atrocities, saying many generations of innocent Kashmiri men, women and children have known nothing but Indian brutality, bloodshed and torture. The territory remains under Indian military siege, exacerbated by draconian curbs on people’s fundamental freedoms.

“The situation has worsened considerably over the last three years with India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019 which stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under the Indian constitution,” she said adding that these actions violate the UN Security Council resolutions.

“Today,” the consul general added, “Jammu & Kashmir has been subjected to unprecedented restrictions on freedom of speech, fake encounters, ‘cordon-and-search’ operations, custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances, incarceration of senior Kashmiri leadership and young boys, use of pellet guns especially targeting the Kashmiri youth, destruction, and burning of houses to inflict ‘collective punishment’ on the Kashmiris, and other methods of subjugation.”

Pakistan, she said, had remained faithful to its commitments to the Kashmiris and has also consistently raised its voice on the continuing grave human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

“The only solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute lies in ensuring that the Kashmiris are allowed to exercise their right of self-determination, through the democratic process of holding a UN-mandated free and impartial plebiscite, as espoused in the relevant UNSC resolutions and as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people, ” Ayesha Ali said, noting that three successive generations of Kashmiris have waited for the world and the United Nations to deliver.

Pakistan, she said, has called for practical steps to hold India accountable, and that the Indian Government must reverse the unilateral and illegal actions of 5th August 2019; stop its egregious human rights violations in Kashmir; repeal the draconian laws and implement the UNSC resolutions on the issue.

“Pakistan’s rock-solid support to the Kashmir cause remains as steadfast as ever,” the consul general said in conclusion.