Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that the struggle of the people of Kashmir and this dark hour of oppression has spread over 200 years, first under the tyrannical subjugation of the Dogra dynasty and after that under the occupation of India for the past 71 years.
The President made these comments while addressing the International Kashmir Conference organized by the All-party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan at the British Parliament.
He appealed to the MP, Lords and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to come to the rescue of the Kashmiris as it was their humanitarian responsibility. He further said that UK must raise the Kashmir issue in the UN as it is a permanent representative of the Security Council and it yields considerable influence in the international forum.
The President said that Kashmir Solidarity Day marks the day when we express our solidarity with the orphans whose parents have been killed, with the widows whose husbands have been forcibly disappeared, with the victims of rape and sexual violence, with the parents, brothers and sisters of young unarmed Kashmiris who have been killed and mercilessly dumped in mass graves by Indian occupation forces. We salute their courage their determination, and their commitment towards attaining the right to self-realization, he said.
President AJK said that calling these hideous acts as merely human rights violations is a euphemism, as these actions constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Indian forces are perpetrating crimes against humanity, this is genocide, this is ethnic cleansing and in clear violations in international laws, international humanitarian laws and the Geneva Conventions”, said.
He said that India’s doctrine for resolving the issue is to use brute force in order to subdue the freedom struggle, while on the other hand Pakistan believes in a peaceful resolution of the dispute by allowing the Kashmiris to ascertaining their right to self-determination. He said that solely relying on bilateral talks between Pakistan and India is not possible as this issue cannot be resolved without the inclusion of the political will of the Kashmiris.
President Masood Khan said that eye opening reports have been published by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir. He said that despite global awareness, unfortunately, governments around the world are tight lipped due to realpolitik, and their economic and strategic interests with India. Terming these reports as living documents, he urged for them to be debated upon in the UN Security Council and in powerful parliaments over the world.
He demanded the repeal of the black laws - Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act -, to allow forensic investigation into the mass graves discovered all across Indian Occupied Kashmir, ban on pellet firing shotguns and the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry headed by the Human Rights Council. He added that the United Nations should follow on the recommendations of the report, appoint a special rapporteur on Jammu and Kashmir and the UN Secretary General must appoint a special representative on Kashmir.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan in his address condemned the human rights abuses being perpetrated by India just because Kashmiris want their inalienable right to self-determination. He said that Pakistan will continue to lend every kind of diplomatic and moral support and will stand by them every step of the way.
The conference was attended by Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former Prime Minister of Norway Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, MP/Chairperson All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir Ms. Debbie Abrahams, MEP Mr. Wajid Khan, former Australian Senator Ms. Lee Rhiannon, former Prime Minister of AJK Sardar Attique Ahmad, former Prime Minister of AJK Barrister Sultan Mehmood, Senator Mushahid Hussain, Senator Shibli Faraz, Opposition Leader AJK Legislative Assembly Ch. Muhammad Yasin, representatives from all parties of Pakistan and UK, more than three dozen MPs, and a large number of representatives from all walks of life.