New Jersey: A memorable meeting of friends of Kashmir took place in Woodbridge Township in New Jersey (Suburban area of New York) on the invitation of Mr. Aftab Shah, a well-known leader of Azad Kashmir community in the New York metropolitan area and a businessman.
According to Kashmir Media Service, Aftab Shah invited a group of heads of different parties to discuss the latest situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and to identify the areas which need to be of immediate focus for highlighting the human rights situation in the Valley.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, World Forum for Peace and Justice, mentioned that we must redouble our efforts in putting forth three important demands without any delay.
1. Government of India needs to be persuaded to rescind the Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir;
2. To repeal all draconian laws, including Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA), which are being used to forcibly silence the people into submission.
3. We must appeal to the United Nations to urge the Government of India to release all political prisoners unconditionally.
Dr Fai added that during the 78 session of the United Nations General Assembly, the OIC Kashmir Contact Group meeting took place on September 19, 2023. OIC denounced the Indian authorities’ fresh plea seeking death penalty for one of the renowned Kashmiri leaders, Mohammad Yasin Malik, who is incarcerated and has already been awarded life imprisonment. The OIC mandated the Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir to take appropriate steps to raise voice against the possible award of death penalty to Malik.
It must be the first and foremost objective of the global Kashmiri diaspora, Dr. Fai said to seek the immediate release of Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmed Shah (32 years in jail), Masarat Aalam, (26 years in jail), Aasia Andrabi (serving 12 years of her detention), Khurram Parvez and others. Khurram Parvez who was named by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 influential personalities of the world. Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur said, “Khurram Parvez is not a terrorist. He is a human rights defender.” It is our duty to present the case of Khurram Parvez before the UN and Biden Administration.
Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir said that Kashmiri Americans are positioned at one of the most important capitals of the world – Washington, DC. The youth and students, irrespective of their political affiliations and country of origin, must be motivated to volunteer in various activities, be it social media, organizing seminars, symposium, lectures on university campuses and elsewhere.
Sardar Zarif Khan, Advisor of the President of Azad Kashmir, observed that Kashmir needs professionals, and specialists with diplomatic expertise which is lacking in our approach. The people of Indian occupied Kashmir have given unprecedented sacrifices, and our responsibility is not to let them down. Therefore, it was underscored that the leadership of various political parties in Azad Kashmir have an important role to play in this regard.
Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan and Sardar Zubair Khan of Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) suggested sending a delegation of Americans of Azad Kashmir ancestry along with selected members of Kashmiri Diaspora from Europe and Middle East to Azad Kashmir. They will seek meetings not only with all heads of political parties but also heads of civil society. They will apprise the media of the situation in Occupied Kashmir and the role media in Azad Kashmir can play in becoming the eyes and ears of the oppressed and persecuted people of Kashmir. They will also interact with academics at various university campuses and seek their guidance in mobilizing public opinion, not only in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan but at the global public square as well.
The meeting concluded with making special prayers for the martyrs of Kashmir.
Those who attended the meeting included Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai; Sardar Sawar Khan; Aftab Shah, Sardar Zarif Khan, Sardar Zulfiqr Roshan Khan, Sardar Zubair Khan, Sardar Aftab Khan, Chaudhry Mohammad Ishaq; Chaudhry Mohammad Shabbir; Sardar Farooq Khan, Sardar Sajid Sawar, Maqsood Chugtai and Khurshid Shaheen.