KASHMIRIS FACING A HEALTH CRISIS; WORLD COMMUNITY MUST INTERVENE: MASOOD KHAN
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that there is a humanitarian and health emergency in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which has attained a crisis like situation. The global community must step up to the plate and intervene before it is too late, he said.
The AJK President made these remarks while addressing the 10th International Conference of Medics International – as the chief guest – here in Islamabad. Medics international is a global NGO, based in the USA which comprises of health professionals from across the world.
Citing a report compiled and released by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in collaboration with the University of Kashmir, President Masood said that there is a prevalence of some sort of mental distress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in nearly 1.8 million Kashmiris adults – 45 per cent of Kashmir's adult population.
Separate studies, he said, have shown that a high number of children between the ages of 11 and 15 suffer from PTSD due to witnessing deaths, being victims of sexual abuse, suffering torture, seeing the destruction of property and loss of education. It has been reported that these children have undergone major behavioural changes.
President Masood Khan said that Indian occupation forces have kept the entire population of IOJK under a siege since August 5. 13,000 young boys have been incarcerated and transferred to the most notorious prison houses all over India. Young Kashmiris are being shot at, blinded, maimed and the women are sexually molested and harassed. Kashmir has witnessed the highest number of blindings in any conflict zone, he said, while adding that 1200 Kashmiris have been blinded and another 6,000 to 7,000 have been riddled with pellets.
“The Kashmiris are going through the darkest period in their history and the unrelenting barbarity of the Indian occupation is reaching proportions never seen before”, he said.
A majority of the people in IOJK have gone through conflict-related trauma, the New Internationalist has reported that apart from PTSD, it was found that many Kashmiri people are suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, phobias, OCD, dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder, said Masood Khan.
He informed that the people of IOJK have been denied basic health facilities, the hospitals have been transformed into graveyards and the infirm have nowhere to go. He informed that UN-Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in its 2018 report has said that India continues to violate the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
“Doctors, paramedical staff, ambulance drivers are physically assaulted, ambulances have been damaged and their movement restricted. Patients flee hospitals in fear of being arrested”, he said.
The AJK President said that India has taken up an aggressive posture and continues to threaten AJK and Pakistan with war. He added that not only this but India’s fascist BJP government has now targeted all Muslims in India. India, he said, is brewing a civilizational war which must be stopped.
Masood Khan said that post-August 5, we have been provided with a communication bonanza, as media outlets all over the world continue to present a factual narrative on Kashmir and they have rejected India’s falsehood and claim of normalcy. Parliaments all over the world – in the UK, USA, France and Brussels – are talking about the atrocities taking place in IOJK. Powerful nations, despite this very evident crisis taking place in IOJK, are still tight-lipped but countries like China, Malaysia, Iran, Sweden, Turkey, Germany, Finland have spoken up for the rights of the innocent Kashmiris.
The AJK President said that war is not the solution and we need to stem a drift towards war in the region that could spiral to the nuclear level with dire consequences – instant death of hundreds of millions of people and painful deaths by radiation, global recession, crop failures, and refugee movements of another 2.5 billion.
“The people of Kashmir and Pakistan believe in adiplomatic and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and we will continue this just struggle”, he said.
He appealed to the participants to better understand the Kashmir issue and the sufferings of the unarmed Kashmiris. He also urged them that as bridge builders you must take these stories to your interlocutors in your country of adoption and create a network.
The President reiterated the resolve of the Kashmiri people that they will not be intimidated and will continue to struggle until they attain their freedom and liberty from Indian occupation.
The event was attended by Pakistani physicians from all over the world. Dr. Wajih Rizvi, Founder Medics International and Dr. Huma Naqvi, Global President, Medics International also addressed the participants.