The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been under India's illegal and brutal occupation since 1947. There are several United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for a referendum to determine the wishes of the people. Do they want to join Pakistan or India? Far from fulfilling its international obligations, India has perpetrated horrific crimes against the innocent Kashmiri people. We report on a recent Seminar.
Sunday June 5, 2016, 10:13 DST
A two-day International Seminar held in Islamabad (June 1-2) made a strong case for ending the Indian troops’ gross human rights violations of the Kashmiri people in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and called upon the United Nations to implement Security Council resolutions calling for a plebiscite. Attended by academics, intellectuals, political activists and others, the two-day seminar drew attention to this longest unresolved dispute that threatens the security and stability of the entire region. It needs to be addressed on an urgent basis and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir respected fully.
We give below the Final Declaration of the Seminar.
The Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) organized a two-day International Kashmir Seminar at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad on June 1-2. Leading political figures, intellectuals and leading journalists of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as well as Hurriyet leaders, journalists, members of the Bar Association and intellectuals of Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) besides law makers from Britain and Europe participated in the seminar.
Speakers included the AJK President, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, Raja Zafarul Haq, Chaudary Barjees Tahir, Sardar Khalid Ibraheem, Dr Habib-ur-Rehman, Shaikh Tajammul-ul-Islam, Dr Attiya Inayatullah, Dr Muhammad Khan, Nafees Zakaria, Ghulam Muhammad Safi and Abdur Rasheed Turabi. There were also participants from Indian occupied Kashmir including Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi Al-Safvi, Zafar Akbar Butt and Narinder Singh Khalsa, Advocate Arshad Andrabi and Advocate Muhammad Ashraf Bhat. From Europe Amjad Bashir, Yasmin Qureshi and Mohammad Rafiq participated in the two-day event.
During the seminar, video messages of Hurriyet leaders Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were played while messages of Shabbir Ahmed Shah and Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai were read out. The messages of Hurriyet leaders from Indian Occupied Kashmir, Aasiya Andrabi, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Hakeem Abdur Rasheed and Bilal Siddiquie were also read out.
The seminar had inaugural, plenary and technical sessions. The main theme was: "Role of the International Community In Resolving The Kashmir Dispute". The topics of technical sessions included;
• Role of the international community in resolving the Kashmir dispute
• Role of indigenous freedom movement: Jammu & Kashmir – A case study
• India’s current agenda to suppress the Kashmir freedom movement vis-à-vis bringing demographic changes in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).
• Gross human rights violations in IOK and mechanism to stop them.
• Recent BJP/RSS anti-Kashmir moves: Penalising people for not showing Jammu and Kashmir as part of India, settling Hindu fundamentalists in IOK under the garb of industrialists.
At the end of interactive sessions, a committee of five-members drafted the memorandum for the seminar that was later discussed and subsequently adopted in the general session of delegates and participants. Members of the committee were Dr Attiya Inayatullah, Justice (Retd) Syed Manzoor Gilani, Dr Muhammad Khan, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl and Advocate Arshad Andrabi.
The memorandum read as follows:
1. Applauded the robust indigenous freedom movement in IOK that has been sounding a death knell for the fascist policies of Indian Hindutva forces.
2. Rejected Indian latent and manifest machinations to change the demographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir by engineering different methods like fiddling with Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Indian constitution, setting up of separate colonies for soldiers, exclusive townships for Kashmiri Pandits and providing State Subject status of Jammu and Kashmir to the 1947 West Pakistani non-Kashmiri refugees.
3. Condemned Indian plan to settle Hindu extremists from India in IOK in the garb of new Industrialization Policy by leasing them out the Kashmiri land for a period of ninety years. The plan was in contradiction to the principles of International Law.
4. Emphasized that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally-recognized disputed territory and India had no legal or other justification of penalizing the people and institutions who declined to show the territory as its part in their maps. The designs of the BJP and RSS to initiate legislation on this subject were reprehensible.
5. Underlined the need to comprehensively address the humanitarian emergency in IOK caused by the brutal and systematic violation of human rights by accessing all available mechanisms in the UN system and in accordance with international humanitarian and criminal laws.
6. Agreed that the Kashmiri people irrespective of their regions and religions must be the main stakeholders of any approach towards resolving the Kashmir dispute.
7. Declared that Kashmir's status must be determined in accordance with their inalienable right to self-determination through an impartial plebiscite under the supervision of the UN as agreed to by India and Pakistan and decided by the UN Security Council. No out-of-the-box approach needed to be adopted.
8. Considered that the political and humanitarian neglect of Kashmir conflict made it the biggest security threat in the region as the dispute was intimately linked with peace and stability in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region.
9. Observed that the silence on Kashmir needed to be broken and a comprehensive approach was required to highlight the conflict using all available channels of public and diplomatic advocacy besides digital media diplomacy.
10. Demanded of India to stop state terrorism in IOK and appealed to the international community to help resolve the world's oldest dispute of Kashmir.
11. Condemned the continued house arrest and detention of Hurriyet leaders and victimization of freedom-loving people in IOK on the pretext of draconian laws as well as the sub-human conditions the Kashmiri political prisoners were being kept in.
12. Appreciated the role and contribution of the Kashmiri diaspora for projecting the Kashmir cause that needed to be further accelerated vigorously and with coordinated efforts.
13. Expressed satisfaction over the recent decision of pro-freedom leaders in IOK to work with a common approach against the nefarious BJP-RSS designs aimed at harming the interests of the Kashmiri people and hoped that the same approach will be adopted in the future also.
14. Demanded that the United Nations appoint a Special Envoy for Kashmir to investigate the gross and blatant violations of international norms and laws by the Indian authorities and also explore ways of implementing the relevant UN resolutions.
15. Thanked the Mirpur University of Science and Technology and its Vice Chancellor, Professor (Dr) Habib-ur-Rehman for holding the International Kashmir Seminar and hoped that such academic and intellectual interactions of academics from both AJK and IOK will be conducted in the future as well.