Kashmir issue to continue haunting conscience of humanity: Envoy

860
Pakistan envoy presents credentials to Kosovo President

ISLAMABAD, Oct 28 (APP): Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey Sohail Mahmood said that Kashmir would continue to haunt the conscience of humanity unless the continuing unspeakable atrocities in Occupied Kashmir are immediately stopped and until a just and durable solution to the long-standing Kashmir dispute is found.
In his article published in Turkish newspapers, the envoy highlighted the miseries of Kashmiri people and drew attention of the world community to play their due role to help resolve Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security resolutions.
The ambassador quoted a New York Times report narrating the ordeal of an eight-year Kashmiri boy Asif Sheikh who underwent third eye surgery in a Srinagar hospital.
Asif Sheikh is one of the hundreds of victims of indiscriminate use of pellet gunshots, employed by military forces in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to quell the latest intifada, which intensified on July 8 with the extra-judicial killing of a Kashmiri youth leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
Defying the curfew, hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris poured into the streets after his funeral in a spontaneous outburst of anger against the cold-blooded methods being used by the occupying forces. The response to this Kashmiri outburst of anger, grief and frustration was, again, characteristic of what they have faced under occupation for decades.
Live ammunition, pellet gunshots and tear gas were directed indiscriminately at protestors, and for that matter anyone in the vicinity, including by-standers and on-lookers, like young Asif Sheikh. They were baton-charged and dragged on the streets.
Ambulances transporting those injured were stopped and attacked. Hospital and clinics providing medical aid were raided and medical staff and doctors harassed. Kashmiri leaders were arrested or put under detention. Media and independent human rights observers were denied access to the region. For months, Jammu & Kashmir has remained a virtual black hole under a crippling curfew.
Meanwhile, India’s relentless drive to quash the will of the Kashmiri people since July 8 has resulted in the death of over 150 Kashmiris and injuries to a staggering 15,000 others.
There have been over 700 victims of severe eye injuries from the use of pellet guns alone, many of them as young as Asif Sheikh.
Most of these victims will never see the light of day again, being permanently blinded. Others will spend their remaining lives living under the shadows of impaired vision and psychological trauma.
On Sept. 17, 11-year-old Nasir Shafi’s pellet-ridden body was found in Harwan. Nasir Shafi had gone missing a day earlier when protestors from his village were chased by Indian security forces.
After witnessing the tell-tale signs of yet another unspeakable atrocity, thousands of Kashmiris again took to the streets for the young boy’s funeral, despite the curfew.
The pictures of crimson-colored, blood-drenched eyes of victims and wailing mothers over the coffins of their young sons are enough to send shudders down one’s spine.
Yet, this is a mere glimpse of what Kashmiris have endured under occupation for almost 70 years now, merely for asking for what they had been promised not only by the United Nations Security Council but also by India itself – the right to self-determination.
Since 1990, an estimated 94,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives in their just struggle, many in the custody of the occupying forces. Thousands of mass graves have been discovered. More than 10,000 women have been raped and molested.
Still, according to Amnesty International, not a single member of the security forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir over the past 25 years has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court. The “draconian” laws enforced by the occupying authorities provide complete impunity to the perpetrators.
On Oct. 27, Kashmiris in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir as well as millions across the world observe “Black Day” – to mark that infamous day in 1947, when the overwhelmingly Muslim Jammu and Kashmir was forcibly and illegally occupied by India, against the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiris.
On this day, Kashmiris across the globe appealed the international community to fulfill its moral responsibility to help bring an end to the gross violations of human rights in Jammu & Kashmir. They called for the implementation of the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif demanded an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings in Jammu and Kashmir and a UN fact-finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the occupying forces.
He also demanded the immediate release of all Kashmiri political prisoners, an end to the curfew, freedom for the Kashmiris to demonstrate peacefully, urgent medical help for the injured, abrogation of draconian laws and removal of the foreign travel ban on Kashmiri leaders.
Above all, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions that provide for the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of Jammu & Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite under U.N. auspices.
Hopefully, the international community will not fail the Kashmiri people again.
And, hopefully, when the bandages are removed from the eyes of little
Asif Sheikh, he will not only be able to see the faces of his loved ones around him, but also his generation will one day see the colors of freedom.