LONDON: The High Commission for Pakistan here organized a seminar on 5 February 2020 to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed by the Government and people of Pakistan across the globe. In a show of solidarity, members of the British Parliament, eminent scholars, and academics, legal experts, members of the civil society and British friends of Kashmir participated in the Seminar.
The speakers included President AJ&K, Sardar Masood Khan, High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Lord Qurban Hussain, Debbie Abrahams MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Afzal Khan MP, Naz Shah MP, Muhammad Yasin MP, former UN’s Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC, former MEPs John Howarth and Phil Bennion, Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor Nazir Shawl and Cllr & NEC Member Yasmin Dar.
High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria said that the deliberations aimed at covering various aspects of the Kashmir dispute such as its genesis, documented accounts of crimes against humanity committed since 1947, perils of the dispute for the regional peace and stability, role of international community and the UN, legal dimensions of the issue, and its adverse impact on the socio-economic development of the entire region.
Mr Zakaria said the seminar and all such activities are an expression of our unequivocal support and reassurance to the Kashmiri people that entire Pakistan stands with them resolutely, come what may, and would not be deterred until the Kashmiris get their right to self-determination as promised by the UN in its Security Council’s resolutions.
Giving an overview of the situation, the High Commissioner said 08 million Kashmiris have been caged by India under the nose of the defenders of human rights and the relevant institutions that exist to defend the human rights. He mentioned that the Prime Minister Imran Khan at the 74 th UNGA questioned and condemned the siege of Kashmiris.
He also cautioned the world about the perils that the Kashmir dispute poses to the regional and global peace and stability. He added that there is misunderstanding about the Kashmir issue due to which some countries urge its bilaterally negotiated settlement – a call which India invariably keeps evading. Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute and is on the UNSC agenda with outstanding resolutions.
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan said that Indian government took illegal, outrageous and egregious steps since 05 August 2019 aiming at colonising IOK and effecting demographic change in the region in violation of UNSC Resolutions and relevant international conventions.
“Indian assertion that it changed the status of Kashmir for prosperity and development of the region has been termed outright lies by the international media and civil society organizations. Although debate on Kashmir in the UK Parliament helped internationalize the issue of Kashmir, the President maintained that much more was needed to be done by the international community”, he said.
Sardar Masood said that fascist government under Modi is committing crimes against humanity and the international community needs to make a moral choice. Sardar Masood Khan cautioned that it would not be a safer choice for the world to underwrite human rights violations for the sake of commercial interests. He also cautioned about impending genocide of the Kashmiris and mentioned Genocide Alert issued by Genocide Watch for Indian occupied Kashmir.
The British MPs urged their government to make a strong statement in support of the rights of the Kashmiri people. They also called upon it to help appoint a UN Special Envoy to work with India and Pakistan for a durable resolution of the dispute. The Parliamentarians said bilateralism is not working and an honest broker is needed to end the humanitarian crisis in J&K.
In this regard,
they suggested UK should use its political influence and diplomatic skills for
peaceful resolution of the dispute. The MPs also hoped that Indian High
Commissioner would facilitate their visit to Srinagar. They appreciated
facilitation by the High Commissioner for their visit to Pakistan. The MPs said
they standby Kashmiris in protecting their rights.
The MPs were of the opinion that the UN failure in case of Kashmir is a failure of entire civilized world and the credibility of the organization is at stake. Therefore, they urged the UN to fulfil its obligation towards the Kashmiri people.
Taking critical view of the media coverage of Kashmir, especially since 05 August 2019, a number of speakers called upon mainstream media for proper coverage of the issue. They questioned restrictions on media access in Kashmir under siege. A Declaration was agreed upon as an outcome document by the Speakers.
Participants of the seminar came together to review human rights abuses against Kashmiri people and discussed other aspects, such as the genesis of the dispute, women victims, on-going humanitarian crisis since 5 August 2019, documented accounts of crimes against humanity, role of international community, regional security and the issue’s socio-economic impact.