International community urged to resolve Kashmir issue forthwith

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Nation special report

LONDON: “Kashmir is a core issue which is the only hurdle in normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan so it is vital that this imbroglio should be resolved according to UN approved resolutions. The international community must come forward and help in seeking a peaceful and just solution.”

This was an unanimous demand expressed at an International Conference on Jammu and Kashmir, held at the British Parliament on Monday, 04th February. Mr. Rehman Chishti MP and Chairperson All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pakistan hosted the Conference. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is currently in London for the Kashmir Solidarity Day, attended the Conference as the keynote speaker.

Other guest speakers included Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Debbie Abrahams MP and Chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG), Former Prime Minister of Norway, Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik and Former Australian Senator Ms. Lee Rhiannon. The event was also attended by members of Cross-party Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate of Pakistan, British Parliamentarians, Mayors, and Councillors, Kashmiri leaders, academics, participants from civil society organizations, media representatives, students, prominent members of the British Pakistani community, and the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK.

Foreign Minister Qureshi condemned the gross human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) and urged for an immediate cessation of atrocities. He called upon the international community, particularly the UK Government, in its capacity as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, where Jammu and Kashmir remains on the agenda, to play its role for ameliorating the sufferings of innocent civilians, especially women and children, which continue to this day and to bring to an end this longstanding international dispute, in accordance with the UNSC Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Foreign Minister reaffirmed the Government of Pakistan’s political, moral and diplomatic support for the oppressed people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee shed light on the importance of resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute that remains unresolved for decades. They spoke about the legality of the dispute, while former Norwegian Premier, Mr. Bondevik, former Australian Senator Ms. Rhiannon and APPKG Chair Debbie Abrahams discussed the way forward, in the light of the reports and resolutions by OHCHR, APPKG and OIC-IPHRC.

Prof. Dr. Raihanah  Binti Abdullah, OIC-IPHRC Vice Chairperson emphasised that the unabated gross human rights violations faced by the innocent Kashmiri Muslims make it one of the worst and prolonged human rights situations around the world. She called upon the international community to take concrete and practical measures to that end and prevail upon the Government of India to allow the visit of the Commission of Inquiry under UN auspices, to hold an independent investigation into all human rights violations, including killings, rape and unmarked mass graves, in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

In his remarks, President AJK, Sardar Masood Khan stressed the need to address the catastrophic situation that grips the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He called on the global powers to take notice of the fast-changing dynamics of the region and rapidly deteriorating situation in the IOK. President Khan demanded an immediate resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Keeping in view the excesses being committed in IOK, a Resolution was tabled to condemn human rights violations and loss of innocent lives through the use of pellet guns and disproportionate use of power. The Resolution was adopted unanimously.

Resolution approved

At this occasion a mission statement was endorsed by following Members of British Parliament. Rehman Chishti MP, Lord Qurban Hussain, Imran Hussain MP, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Afzal Khan MP, Khalid Mehmood MP, Naz Shah MP, Baroness Shas Sheehan, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Lord Nazir Ahmed, and Mohammed Yasin MP;

Taking note of United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner’s Report of 14 June 2018 on the grave human rights situation in Jammu & Kashmir;

Noting Amnesty International’s 2017 Report on the deliberate blinding of Kashmiri Youth, entitled: Losing Sight in Kashmir;

Noting the findings of the 2009 Report on the presence of unnamed and unmarked mass graves in various districts of Jammu & Kashmir, published by J&K NGO International People’s Tribunal (IPTK) entitled: Buried Evidence;

Noted that dozens of massacres of Kashmiris, including Gaw Kadal, Sopore, Handwara, Mashali Mohallah, Saderkoot Bala, Zakoora & By-pass, Hawal, Khanyaar, Lal Chowk, Bhibhera, Kupwara, Chittisinghpura, Pathribal and many others have been committed but justice has not been delivered to Kashmiris;

Having noted that Kunan Poshpora Mass Rape happened in 1991 and the justice is yet to be delivered despite a lapse of 28 years, as also mentioned in the OHCHR Report;

Understand from the available statistics that from 8 July 2016 to 30 September 2018, 753 Kashmiris have been killed, including 80 children, 18 women and 56 custodial killings, over 20,000 have been injured, thousands have been arrested arbitrarily and hundreds of women have been gang raped and molested;

Noting the findings in the Report of 27-29 March 2017 by the OIC Fact Finding Visit that echo the concerns raised in the other such Reports.

Noting the outcome of the fact-finding mission of All Parties Parliamentary Group of Kashmir (APPKG) and their report, thereof, containing recommendations, which reinforce the recommendations in OHCHR Report;

Noting that non-resolution of Kashmir dispute has resulted in the sufferings of Kashmiri people, threat to the regional security and has adverse bearing on the socio-economic situation of Kashmiri people and others;

Realizing that the UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir, which call for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination under a UN supervised plebiscite, remain unimplemented;

We, the participants of 4 February 2019 Conference on Human Rights situation in Jammu & Kashmir at the Palace of Westminster, are deeply concerned at the plight of Kashmiris; and

Urge the International Community, Members of the civil society, the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, relevant International Organizations, the OHCHR Geneva, and Parties to the Kashmir dispute to take immediate and effective measures to address the human rights situation in Kashmir;

Underline that pellet guns victims blinded should be examined and provided necessary medical assistance to alleviate their sufferings;

Urge immediate resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions of Kashmir.

Express solidarity with the Kashmiris; and Commit to the continued efforts for creating awareness and extend moral support to the Kashmiris.

The motion tabled for adoption of a Mission Statement by 11 Members of the British Parliament was also endorsed by the Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on his own behalf and on behalf of all the Members of his Delegation.