Conference held on Indian demographic terrorism in IIOJK

Peshawar, August 11 (KMS): The Islamabad Institute of Conflict resolution (IICR) and (LFVOK) organized a conference titled “Kashmir Policy Dialogue: Two Years of Indian Demographic Terrorism in IIOJK” at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University on Wednesday.

The conference was aimed at highlighting the overall significance of the illegal occupation taken up by the Indian government within the occupied area of Kashmir and its strategy of demographic terrorism to increase support of its actions.

The eminent speakers in this conference were Ambassador Abdul Basit, former High Commissioner to India, Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, former diplomat, Mr Nasir Qadri, Director LFOVK and the Executive Director Ms Sabah Aslam. The seminar was moderated by Ms. Benish.

Opening remarks were given by Ms Sabah Aslam. She initially talked about the media blockades, restrictions and the other methods utilized by the Indian government to break the will of people in IIOJK. She called on the international community to act against the Indian government and pointed towards how the Hindutva ideology was unfolding. She further stated that Pakistan is and will always be with the people of IIOJK until such time that there is an action taken to resolve the issue in Kashmir.

After opening remarks, the floor was given to Ambassador Abdul Basit, who started off by thanking the panel and the organizers for having him. He stated that Kashmir is very close to the heart of Pakistan and that the main dispute between Pakistan and India is Kashmir. Further, he stated that his own assessment was that unless Kashmir dispute is resolved, there can be no cooperation between the two countries and hence no regional development. After giving a broad historical background of the Kashmir issue, he moved on to talk about the specifics of the resolutions that were passed in the UNSC and how these were brought out at the request of the Indian government. He further stated that it was the hope of the Indian government that the outcomes would be in their favor. However, this was not the outcome, rather, there was an unequivocal acceptance amongst the Kashmiri people that they did not want to become part of India.

After this, he moved on to talk about the legal procedures and how the Indian government had violated its own constitution to gain a foothold in Kashmir. He talked about how the occupation and every act after could not have been taken legally unless there was a new constituent committee of Kashmiris’ that recommended changes to be made in the laws. Moreover, he pointed out that for the first time in the political history of India, the state split into two union territories.

On the way forward, he stated that there is not much to be seen as minimal pressure on India was being placed by the international community. He further talked about how the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris remain with Pakistan even though the Indian government may force them to physically become part of India. It is essential for Pakistan to go back to the drawing board and figure out a plan to make sure that the international community puts in the effort to pressure the Indian government. He further stated that there has been an inability to mobilize the forces in a strategized manner to achieve the given objective. He concluded by saying that there is need for talks and not gimmicks between Pakistan and India.

The next speaker on the panel was Mr Nasir Qadri. He started by talking about the historical bonds between Kashmir and the Pashtuns. He narrated how in 1931, the Kashmiris were politically active and acting against Hindu dictatorship and how those struggles were closely linked through its leadership to the people of Peshawar. He moved on to talk about the time of partition and how the Hindu leadership sanctioned an entire massacre against the people of Kashmir and it was again that the people of KPK came to the aid of the Kashmiri’s. Moving on, he talked about how in the past two years, the face of Kashmir has been completely changed. Not only has the status of the area changed, but rather there has been a forceful change in the demography so that when the referendum is called, there can be a Hindu majority. He further stated that it is not a mere phrase that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan but rather an essential description of the area because Pakistan cannot exist without it.

He further gave recommendations that there is a need for mass education and mass mobilization so that there can be an informed movement against the radical changes of Kashmir and grant them their basic rights. The acts now are an existential threat not only for Kashmir but for Pakistan as well. At this point he concluded and thanked the organizers and other speakers again for having him.

The floor was then handed off to Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen. She started by talking about how the government of Pakistan is currently working on geo-economics but that the situation could not be separated from geo-politics. Furthermore, she stated that there should be a solution taken to the satisfaction of the people of Kashmir. She talked about the effects on the Kashmiri people due to the demographic reorganization and its impacts on the region. Moreover, talking about how, prior to the acts of 5th August 2019, the economy of Kashmir was thriving and, in her opinion, these events were meant to deprive Kashmir of economic development and prosperity.

She stated that it is important to remember that there is an attack on both the population and the resources of Kashmir and it is not only the Modi government engaging in this but an institutionalized process of oppression. At which point, she stated that this was an attempt to change the demography of Kashmir and shift it forcefully in favor of India, taking away the right of self-determination from the Kashmiri people. She reiterated the events that are being taken and how, given the legal process of approvals for changes in Kashmir are all being violated. She quoted figures from different reports on how there have been different types of funding to systematically shut down and take away the rights of the people of Kashmir. She concluded with a series of recommendations for the mobilization of the international community and ways to deter the atrocities that are being committed against the people of Kashmir.

The concluding remarks were given by the Vice-Chancellor of the university after a short Q&A session with the audience. She thanked all the speakers for taking out the time to talk about the essential problems of Kashmir and how this is an integral topic to be discussed so that awareness can be raised and an implementable solution can be achieved.