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IIOJK in focus

Kashmiris hold rally near UN demanding freedom from India occupation

New York: Hundreds of Kashmiris from across the US and their supporters staged a demonstration in front of the UN building to reiterate their call on the world body to fulfill its pledge of holding of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to enable the Kashmiris decide their political future by themselves through the exercise of their right to self-determination.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the rally was held when India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, was addressing the UN General Assembly.

The protesters denounced India’s illegal measures of 5 August 2019 that revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, amid vociferous anti-India slogans and waving of placards. Their placards read: “India: Honour UN Resolutions”, “Who is terrorist? Modi, Modi”, “Freedom for all, Freedom for Kashmir”, “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir”, “Demilitarize Kashmir”, “India: Honor UN Pledges”, “Wake UP, Wake Up – UN Wake Up”, “We Demand Justice for Yasin Malik” and “India: Release All Political Prisoners.”

Separately, a large number of Sikhs, led by Dr Amarjit Singh, the head of Washington-based Khalistan Affairs Center, also staged a demonstration, which came days after Canada’s allegation about India’s involvement in the murder of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil.

Speakers at Kashmiris’ rally condemned the Indian government’s attempts at changing the demographic status of Jammu & Kashmir by introducing politically motivated laws. They also called for the release of Kashmiri leaders, including Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Dr Ghulam Nabi Mir, the President World Kashmir Awareness Forum, addressing the rally said, we are here at the UN again to tell the world that it has failed to protect the very basic rights of Kashmiris for the last 76 years, against illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and unrelenting and inhumane atrocities by India. He asked how long is not too long for the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council to allow India to get away with daily murder and unrelenting atrocities on our people?

Dr Mir added that the fascist Hindu nationalist Modi regime is engaged in dismantling and erasing the Muslim civilization based on unique blend of Kashmiri cultural values and rich traditions. “It is aggressively and violently working to replace it with violent, intolerant brand of a Hindutva society based on a Brahmin caste system. We the Kashmiri diaspora in a unified voice want to deliver the message to India that it must dismantle its illegal settlements in the illegally occupied Kashmir, pull the 900,000 occupation forces out and let Kashmir go free to build its own nation based on tolerant democratic and pluralistic Muslim ideals,” he said.

Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, the President of Azad Kashmir, addressing the gathering through video-link said that the grave situation in Kashmir demands that it could be brought to the attention of the UN Security Council. The world powers should be left in no doubt that any failure to resolve the Kashmir dispute could lead to serious disorders throughout the South Asia and possibly to yet another war between India and Pakistan.

Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Chairman of World Forum for Peace & Justice, appealed to the world body that the most basic set of principles must be established and adhered to regarding human rights, the interests of the Kashmiris themselves, and the preservation of vital interests that both India and Pakistan have at stake, and then to proceed with steps toward objectives that result in a win-win solution for all. He elucidated that the response by the world powers, including the US to the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir must be based on the principles of the right of a people with a distinct historical and cultural identity to decide their own future; the sanctity of international agreements worked out by the United Nations; a peaceful and stable subcontinent free from the possibility of a regional nuclear exchange; and the consistent application of human rights standards.

Dr Pir Ali Raza Bukhari, parliamentarian from AJK, warned that to break the will of the people of Indian occupied Kashmir, India has deployed over 900,000 soldiers fully armed and with unlimited powers under the draconian Kashmir specific laws. “The leadership of the Kashmiri political resistance movement and human right activists are incarcerated on frivolous charges and lodged in notorious prisons under sub-human conditions. The ultimate goal is to convert Indian occupied Kashmir into a Hindu majority state with a long turn plan to achieve favorable outcome in case plebiscite is held in the future,” he said.Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the AJK Prime Minister, said that the deplorable situation in occupied Kashmir is unacceptable. He said, Kashmir is the most dangerous nuclear hotspot on the planet. He added that the laws made by Indian parliament do not apply to Kashmir which is not the integral part of any member state of the UN but an internationally recognized disputed territory.

Dr Amerjit Singh, President of Khalistan Affairs Center, said that India’s Modi led regime is now exposed that it is committing crimes against humanity not only inside India but beyond. The whole world watched when the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on September 18, 2023, on the floor of the Parliament the extrajudicial murder of the Sikh Canadian leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, he said.

Sardar Zarif Khan, Advisor to the AJK President, said today, Kashmir has become literally the most dangerous place on earth. He said, Indian forces’ personnel have been given the total immunity under the draconian laws which must be repealed immediately for the sake of international peace and security.

Sardar Zubair Khan said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been demanding the right to self-determination for the last more than seven decades. India responds with bullets and pellet guns to silence the Kashmiris’ peaceful freedom movement, he deplored.

Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan said that abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A was designed to crush the freedom movement in Kashmir. He said, the world powers cannot deny the fact that the Kashmir issue has an international sanctity.

Sardar Aftab Khan said it is high time that we try to make a constructive departure. The best point for doing so is to restore the focus where it originally belonged and where it still rests logically viz: the rights and interests of the people of Kashmir itself, he added.

Sardar Haleem Khan, President of JKLF North America chapter, said that India cannot sweep all this under the carpet. “The truth is too painfully obvious. Isn’t it time that world powers ask the people of Kashmir what they really want?” he asked.

Sardar Taj Khan, Vice Chairman of Kashmir Mission USA, appealed to the conscience of Biden Administration that trade and commercial deals are important but not at the expense of the high moral ground.

Maqsood Chughtai expressed serious concern over the silence of the world powers over the ongoing killings by India in occupied Kashmir. He said that Genocide Watch has testified before the US Congress that there is a potential of genocide both in India as well as in Kashmir.

Advocate Imtiaz Khan Garalvi explained that the right to self-determination which was promised to the people of Kashmir needs to be fulfilled. “The Kashmir dispute has no military solution. It can only be resolved through peaceful negotiations between all parties concerned,” he added.

Ms Madina Amber said that the international attention is now focused on Kashmir, and she called for unity among Kashmiri people as they push for freedom from the Indian yoke. She said that the world powers have the moral duty to intervene to bring justice and peace to the people of Kashmir who are being systematically brutalized by the Indian fascist regime.

Raja Razzak warned that the nation of Kashmir faces an existential threat from the aggressive Hindu Nationalist regime which is based on the Nazi ideology of Hitler and Mussolini.

Aftab Shah demanded the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir so that the people of Kashmir can exercise their right to self-determination.

Chaudhry M Ishaq said that whole nation of Azad Kashmir is standing with the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir and will keep exposing the atrocities and brutalities of Indian fascist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Raja Mukhtar of JKLF said that fascist Modi government is committing genocide of Kashmiris and the Indian army is fabricating stories of oppression and barbarism and the civilized world does not utter a word of condemnation.

Khawaja Farooq said that the atrocities committed on the peace-loving people of Kashmir are continuing unabated. “Thousands of women have been gang raped, not to talk of mass graves and children who have been blinded by pellet gun wounds. The silence of the world powers cannot be explained,” he said.

Sardar Sajid Sawar said Modi terrorizes his neighbors and has subjugated the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sufi Nazir said, “We ask the people of the world to stand up and speak up for the freedom of Kashmir.

A memorandum signed by Kashmiri diaspora leadership and submitted to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said that the denial of the right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir is a great threat to the international peace and security and that non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute has brought both India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. The memorandum was signed by all the speakers.

The resolution said Kashmir is the only region in the world which shares its borders with three nuclear countries – India, Pakistan, and China, which makes it the most dangerous place on earth. It said, Jammu & Kashmir is now undergoing a rapid transition from illegal occupation into an Indian settler-colonialist and apartheid project. It pointed out that since August 5, 2019, IIOJK is facing an existential threat and the inaction of world powers will facilitate the execution of this evil design.

“We hope that your Excellency will persuade Government of India to rescind the Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir; and to prevail upon India to repeal all draconian laws, including Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA), Public Safety Act (PSA) which are being used to forcibly silence the people into submission,” it added.

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