Houston, Texas: September 7, 2018. (PCP) Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, President, World Kashmir Awareness Forum expressed his anguish and grief over the continued killing by Indian forces in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. He lamented the passive role of the United Nations towards the loss of human life in Kashmir, and urged both the world body and the United States Administration to help stop the carnage in Kashmir. He said that a just and lasting settlement of the dispute is possible only through tripartite negotiations between the Governments of India and Pakistan and the legitimate leadership of the people of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Dr. Mir was speaking on the subject of, "Kashmir: tale of Subjugation & Resistance" during the 55th Convention of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), that was held in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Mir underscored that the scale of the popular uprising in Kashmir can be judged from the established fact, that on many occasions during the month of July-August 2018, virtually the entire population of Srinagar came out on the streets in an unparalleled demonstrations to protest the attempt by the Government of India to scrap the Article 35 A of the Indian constitution which gives the special rights and privileges to the state subject of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the abrogation of this constitutional provision is a conspiracy to change the demographic composition of the state. However, the Supreme Court of India adjourned the hearting of Article 35-A till January 2019.
Mr. Masoor Javid Khan, former Houston City Council member and the local host of the ISNA Convention said that the issue of Kashmir is by no definition a terrorist or separatist movement. It is a movement for self-determination inspired by a spirit for freedom and it has its legitimacy in the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The struggle remains alive and vibrant because the people of Kashmir want to chart their own destiny.
MJ Khan pleaded that the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir has the international sanctity because of the multiple resolutions that were adopted at the United Nations Security Council. The time has come that one of the oldest issues on the agenda of the Security Council â€“ Kashmir â€“ need to be resolved in accordance with the wishes and will of the people. He emphasized that it is inescapable moral responsibility of the United States, as the leader of the free world and champion of the human rights to take a leadership role in helping to resolve the 71 years old conflict of Kashmir.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum said, "Could there be any tragedy more despicable for a people than to see their homeland, once known as paradise on earth, turn into hell? Where peace once reigned and communal harmony prevailed. The once evergreen valleys and snow-capped mountains have been marred by blood. How long will India be allowed to go on killing the people of Kashmir and denying them their fundamental right of self-determination is a question which the international community has to address?"
Fai stated that there must be a just and lasting resolution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. He asserted that the Kashmir powder keg cannot be left to bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan, a formula that has proven sterile for more than 70 years. Trilateral dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership will pave the way for peace and stability in the region of South Asia.
Mr. Afzal Janjua, community leader and IT specialist from Houston said that " De facto plebiscite already seems to have taken place in Kashmir. The people appear to have voted with untiring throats, with eyes destroyed or deformed by pellets, and with bodies willing to fall to the ground for what their hearts desire. And the vote seems to be for Azadi (Freedom). The tradition of massive pro-self-determination marches to the office of the UN Military Observer Group in Srinagar, has been another constant milestone. Even though India and world powers choose to ignore the suffering of the people of Kashmir, the struggle for national self-determination, for a democratic future and human dignity continues."
Over the last seventy years, Indian occupation has become increasingly brutal which resulted in massive human rights abuses. Indian army has tried its best to subjugate the people of Kashmir with its 700,000 military and paramilitary forces, yet it has not been able to kill their desire for the right of self-determination. Afzal Janjua emphasized that the brutalities of Indian government cannot and should not go unnoticed. It is the responsibility of the Kashmiri diaspora to be the voice of voiceless people in the corridors of powers all over the world.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, President, Kashmiri American Council described the historical facts about Kashmir. The people of Kashmir, he said were promised by both India and Pakistan with the firm support of the world powers to be given the right of self-determination so as to allow them to choose whether they want to go to India, or Pakistan or remain independent. These international agreements were never fulfilled until today.
Khan reiterated that tragically, the legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir are being crushed with the grotesque and brute force of Indian occupation forces. He enumerated the prevailing draconian laws, like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which has given the total impunity to the Indian army in Kashmir. An Indian soldier can shoot to kill at will and he will not be accountable to any body or any agency for any prosecution.
Dr. Khan expressed serious concern over the silence of the world powers over the semi genocidal situation in Kashmir. He said that the silence of world powers has given the sense of immunity to Indian army in Kashmir.
Ms. Hedaya Saadi, of Seattle, Washington said the people of Kashmir have suffered long and needlessly because of this brutal conflict. They demand and they deserve peace. Peace in the region of South Asia remains elusive because of the Kashmir dispute. The inalienable right to self-determination enshrined in the United Nations Charter and promised to the people of Kashmir by the international community, continues to be denied. She said that the whole world knows the magnitude of carnages committed by Indian army in Kashmir but they have yet to utter a word of condemnation.
Ms. Saadi elaborated that the fight for human and political rights in Kashmir should not be a partisan issue. She added that the American public square, including the university campuses shall be instrumental in changing the public perception about the situation in Kashmir.