New York: Kashmiri Americans and friends of Kashmir gathered at the United Nations headquarters during the speech of Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian foreign minister who spoke amid 77th session of the UN General Assembly. They had come from across the United States to remind the United Nations of her pledge that she has given to the people of Jammu & Kashmir as early as 1948 – that future of Kashmir shall be decided by its people though a fair and impartial plebiscite. The participants were carrying the banners and placards that read: ”Modi: face of Indian Terrorism”, “Kashmiri Lives Matter Too”, “End the Occupation: Free Kashmir”, “Stand Up: Speak Up: Free Kashmir”, “India: Honor UN Resolutions”, “Freedom for all, Freedom for Kashmir,” "Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir”, “Demilitarize Kashmir”, "UN: Wake UP," “No Justice, No Peace”, “India: Release All Political Prisoners.”
President of Azad Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry addressed the demonstration and assured highly charged crowd that his unstinted effort to internationalize Kashmir issue will continue with full vigor. He stated that it is the duty of both Azad Kashmir and Pakistani government to highlight the human right abuses which have reached to unprecedented proportions. He unequivocally condemned the abominable act of changing the demographic character of the region.
Barrister Sultan appealed to UN and OIC to take serious note of these reprehensible activities and take measures so that these actions are halted. He warned that if this protracted problem is left unattended it can have dangerous consequences. He assured the well-attended crowd that they will not find government of Pakistan lacking in their support to the Kashmir cause. The president stated that he met that OIC Kashmir Contact Group and acquainted them with the recent situation in Kashmir. All the leaders representing different Islamic countries were solidified in their stance that the human right violations need to be stopped immediately and tripartite negotiations between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership should be facilitated. He further stated that he had confabulations with Pakistani Foreign Minister, and he stated that the country will not demur in their support to Kashmiris. He assured the attendees he will increase his efforts to bring world attention to this issue and will travel to nook and corner of the world to accomplish his goal. He appealed to people not to lose hope and affirmed their cumulative efforts will enable Kashmiris to realize the dream of achieving freedom.
Sardar Haleem Khan, Chairman, JKLF and main organizer of the rally emphasized that no solution of Kashmir will be acceptable if it does not recognize the unfettered right of self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Sardar Haleem denounced the life imprisonment handed down by an Indian special court in New Delhi to Muhammad Yasin Malik, one of the most prominent leaders of Kashmir, and Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, World Forum for Peace & Justice asked the United Nations that the application of international law should not be selective in resolving the international conflicts. He drew the urgent attention of the Secretary General to the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir brought about by the atrocities on a massive scale which are being remorselessly perpetrated by 900,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces on unarmed men, women, and children. He warned the world powers that the status quo in Kashmir, if left unchanged, will only result in a growing spiral of death and even greater regional instability. The UN must take an active role in finding a peaceful and permanent solution to the crisis.
Dr. Fai urged Dr. Jaishankar to read during his leisure time Huffington Post which says that Indian democracy is dying in silence in Kashmir. Earlier, Dr. Jaishankar had conveyed to the world body the greetings from the world’s largest democracy.
Dr. Fai added that it is utter shocking that Dr. Jaishankar has the temerity to proclaim during his speech at the UN General Assembly that in Ukraine, India is “on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles.” His statement makes a mockery of the United Nations Charter and International Law. Dr. Jaishankar knows it well that India’s aggression and occupation of Kashmir violates United Nations Charter and can never be justified under international law.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, Professor at George Washington University Medical center stated that abuses on innocent people of Indian occupied Kashmir continue unabated. After the revocation of article 370 and 35A more than 900,000 military and paramilitary occupation forces are holding the people as hostage. Daily crackdowns are a routine and during this process the civilians especially the youth are targeted. During the search operations under the pretext to flush militants the civilian residences are looted of their valuables, womenfolk are harassed, and young men are eliminated with impunity.
Dr. Khan added that the genuine leadership of the valley have been incarcerated and many of them like Yasin malik have been subjected to solitary confinement and implicated under false charges. Land grab movement by occupation forces is continuing at breakneck speed and thousands of acres of land has been taken over by the occupation forces. Kashmiri people are being devoid of their property and armed Hindu militants are being settled on these properties. There is government sponsored policy to infuse drug culture so that youth get addicted to this menace and are weaned away from the freedom movement. All of these steps are being taken under well planned scheme so that Kashmiris are restricted to ghettos, their employment opportunities are scuttled, and they are deprived of religious freedom.
Dr. Khan warned that the situation in the region is highly explosive. Kashmir is sitting on power keg and slight trigger can catapult the situation to point of no return. With the absence of leaders like Syed Ali Geelani, Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Masarat Alam (later being in Indian jails for years), it is very likely that youth may be forced to take extreme steps and macabre of violence with no recourse. We appeal the United Nations to take practical measures that will dissuade India to Indulge in gross human right abuses against innocent Kashmiri population and sway them to participate in tripartite negotiations involving Pakistan and genuine leadership of Kashmir.
Khan alerted that the onus lies on the international community to convey to fascist Indian government that the human right violations against the people of occupied Kashmir should stop. The reprimand should not be restricted to mere condemnations and resolutions, but it should be made clear that unless India reverses the measures it can face severe sanctions which will hurt its economy. It is clear from the Indian behavior unless punitive measures are taken it will not dissuade from inflicting horrific crimes on the people of Indian occupied Kashmir. International bodies like UN should remember that Kashmir can prove to be a nuclear flash point between India and Pakistan and if the dispute is left unresolved it can prove disastrous not only to the region but half of the world population. This is high time UN Secretary General ignores Indian protests and send its envoy to occupied Kashmir to assess the situation there.
Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir condemned the enactment of Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir. He urged the United Nations to initiate negotiations between India, Pakistan and genuine leadership of Kashmiris so that this menacing problem is resolved, and the world is rescued from this cataclysm.
Tariq Rehman of ICNA Council on Social Justice expressed his anger that world community has remained silent not only in Kashmir but also in other international conflicts, like Palestine, Rohingya Muslims, etc. He stressed that as Muslims we feel the pain and suffering of all oppressed people, irrespective of their religious affiliations and cultural backgrounds.
Shoaib Irshad, co- organizer of the rally thanked the attendees for their participations and urged the Kashmiri diaspora to be united in pursuing the cause of Kashmir in the corridors of power, including the United States.
Sardar Zubair Khan expressed his solidarity with voiceless people of Kashmir and added that Kashmiri diaspora have the resources to knock the doors of important members of Congress to educate them about the situation in Kashmir.
Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan expressed anguish for the silence of the world powers on the continuing deteriorating situation in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Sardar Imtiaz Khan, (New Jersey) stated that Kashmir is a nuclear flash point, and the world powers need to pay attention to the situation in Kashmir for the sake of peace and security in the region of South Asia.
Dr. Akhlaq Barlas emphasized that the time has come that the inhabitants of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, GB and AJK need to take initiative into their hands and come up with a narrative which is of the people, by the people and for the people of Kashmir.
Others who spoke included: Sardar Taj Khan;, Khalid Awan; Raja Razzak; Raja Mukhtar; Ashraf Gulshan; Sardar Vakil; Sardar Muhstaq; Zafar Haqani; Sardar Razzak, Sardar Rashid Mehmood; Sardar Sabeel Anwar; Sardar Asim; Haji Shafi; Sardar Imtiaz, Sardar Sajid Sawar; Raja Yaqub, Chicago, Yasin Chohan; Mina Fayaz; Sardar Niaz, Sardar Zahid, Aftab Shah; Sardar Mehmood Akbar; Rashid Mirza; Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalvi; Mushtaq Ali; Khawaja Zafar; Seemi Asad; Amna Taj; Sagheer Ahmed; Afzal Baig; Taj Akbar; Choudhary Ajaz Harakh; Ismail Shah; Sardar Ishaq; Ali Rashid; Sardar Ghulam MurtazaSardar Habib Ishtiyaq; Raja sikener; Raja Sardar Ali; Memon Nisah; Akram Butt; Hashim Ali Khan; Shafiq Shah;Kaisra Ramazan; Seemab Shafiq; Khalid Faheem; Tehseen Hussain; Maqsood Choudhary; Mohammad Farooq Khan.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435. Or firstname.lastname@example.org