Australian MPs ask India to let Kashmiris decide their fate

Sydney, October 27 (KMS): Australian parliamentarians have called upon India to let the Kashmiris exercise the right to self-determination, which is an inalienable right of Kashmiris as enshrined in the UN charter, to decide their future by themselves.

The voice was raised in a seminar organized by Pakistan Consulate General in Sydney, Australia, to observe the 27th October as Kashmir Black Day. As per the communiqué, the event chaired by the Consul General of Pakistan Muhammad Ashraf was attended by members of New South Wales Parliament, Australian Federal Parliament and Senators representing different political parties, besides a large number of Australians especially the members of Australian-Pakistani, Australian-Arab, Australian-Turkish and Sikh communities.

The speakers at the seminar highlighted the illegality of the Indian occupation of Kashmir and the catastrophic human rights situation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the News International reported. President Kashmir Council Australia, Dr Ali Sarfaraz apprised the audience on the current deteriorating situation of human rights in IIOJK.

The Consul General, Muhammad Ashraf briefed the audience on the background of the Kashmir dispute and stated that Kashmiris across the globe observe 27th October as the Black Day every year to commemorate the illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by India on 27th October 1947.

He highlighted the plight of Kashmiri people under curfew, lockdown, and communication blockade. He called upon the international community to play its role in ensuring the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people.

Representative of the Sikh community and the renowned human rights activist, Gursharan Singh, emphasized that right to self-determination was an inalienable right of Kashmiris as enshrined in the UN charter. He emphasized that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was right in forecasting what India would look like after 1947.

General Secretary Islamic Forum for Australian Muslims (IFAM), Usaid Khalil, expressed his solidarity with the oppressed people of Kashmir. He underscored that other global issues like Palestine always get the limelight and somehow the issue of Kashmir has been put on back burner. He proposed to form a forum of Australians for Kashmiris so that the issue gets highlighted in Australia.

Chief Executive of Australian Federation of Islamic Council (AFIC), Keysar Trad, stated that Gaza and Kashmir had been called as open-air prisons, but the situation was even worse than prisons as the prison wardens are not allowed to kill the prisoners as Indian army is doing in IIOJK. He praised the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, among other Muslims leaders for taking up courageous stand to condemn the Indian atrocities.

The former Senator from Australian Green Party Ms Lee Rhiannon spoke at length against the human rights abuses in IIOJK. She emphasised that the Australian government should take up the issue of human rights with the Indian government and condemned both Prime Minister Modi and the Home Minister Amit Shah for perpetrating crimes against humanity in Kashmir.

She stressed that lessons from apartheid in South Africa can be a way forward for highlighting the Kashmir issue on a global scale. She also proposed to form ‘Let Kashmir Decide’ solidarity movement and informed that she has the draft mandate already in place, which she can share with relevant Kashmiri groups.

Member of New South Wales Legislative Council, Paul Lynch, regretted the conduct of the Indian government on the human rights abuses in IIOJK and he stressed that human rights are global, and the governments must condemn the human rights violations indiscriminately, regardless of their political and economic interests.

Member of New South Wales Legislative Council, David Shoebridge, condemned the appalling intensification of violence since August 2019 in IIOJK and the subsequent communication blockade by the fascist Modi government. He condemned the governments in West who are not supporting the just cause of Kashmiri people. He also condemned the human rights abuses and regretted the conduct of the Indian government with the Amnesty International after it published reports highlighting the human rights situation in the occupied territory. The Amnesty International had to shut down its operations under duress by the Indian government.

In his concluding remarks Muhammad Ashraf reiterated the illegitimacy of Indian occupation of Kashmir as underlined by independent researchers, historians and observers. He stressed that all panelists have agreed to raise the issue of Kashmir globally as human rights are of paramount importance.