Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has welcomed the motion tabled in New South Wales Parliament of Australia to express concern over human rights violations and calling for respect to the right to self-determination of the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
“We appeal to the mover of the motion David Shoebridge, other MPs and the members of the Australian civil society to convince the Australian government to support the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and to speak up against the crimes against humanity being committed by the Indian government and the occupational army in the disputed territory,” he said.
Addressing a webinar on the completion of one year of India’s illegal actions in Occupied Kashmir organised by Pakistan High Commission in Australia, the AJK president said that Australia is an important country of the Oceania region which cannot remain indifferent to the happenings in Occupied Kashmir.
The lead speakers included President Masood, former Australian Senator Ms Lee Rhiannon, David Shoebridge, Member of the Legislative Council in the New South Wales Parliament, Dr Claude Rakisits, Hon. Associate Professor ANU, Professor Samina Yasmin, Director Centre for the Muslim States and Societies, and High Commissioner for Pakistan, Babar Amin.
The webinar was attended by many scholars, intellectuals, journalists, members of Kashmir Solidarity Council, Pakistani community and Australians from all states and territories. A significant number also physically participated in the event at the High Commission of Pakistan Canberra, while observing the Covid distancing regulations.
President Masood in his speech said that the recent illegal actions taken by India in IIOJK should open the eyes of the whole world. “What India is doing in the disputed territory is an open war against humanity and the human values.”
Although, he said, the world is largely aware of the brutalities being perpetrated by India against the defenceless and innocent people in IIOJK, many important countries are silent and tightlipped because of their political, strategic and economic interests.
“That is why India is stubbornly trampling human rights and international humanitarian laws in occupied Kashmir, and has become a big danger for the peace and security of the world.”
He lamented that the silence of influence and powerful countries is further encouraging India, explaining that the ongoing struggle in Occupied Kashmir is not a secessionist movement but this is a struggle for upholding human values and human dignity.
The AJK president dealt in detail with the agonies being faced by the besieged people of Occupied Kashmir for the last one year and the illegal Indian actions to change the demography of the state, saying that India is doing all this in order to silence the voices rising for freedom and the right to self-determination in the disputed territory.
He stressed participants of the webinar to convey the voice of the oppressed people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to the MPs, government officials, media and the civil society of Australia.
David Shoebridge MLC highlighted the human rights violations in Kashmir and stressed on the need for resolution of the Kashmir dispute on the principle to the right to self-determination.
He read out the text of the motion presented by him at the parliament of the New South Wales today, to mark the completion of one-year of siege, human rights violations and need to respect the right to self-determination of Kashmiris.
Lamenting the indifference of the international community including Australia, to the plight of the Kashmiris, he vowed to take up the issue on other forums as well.
Senator Lee Rhiannon in her remarks said that the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were being denied their basic human rights and facing a grave humanitarian crisis that required urgent international attention.
The international community and Australia, she said, need to ensure their basic rights especially the right to self-determination. She called for the immediate cessation of the lockdown in IIOJK and to bring normalcy in the lives of the Kashmiris.
Comparing the Kashmiri struggle with the anti-apartheid movement, Senator Lee said that with greater global awareness, the civil society and the force of public opinion would compel the governments to stand up with the Kashmiris.
Dr Claude Rakisits said that the scrapping of the special status of IIOJK had been on a manifesto of the Modi’s party for the national election in 2019, so there was no real surprise to this move.
“Due to the continued massive clampdown, the situation remains significantly inhuman for the people of Kashmir. Such collective punishment is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
Dr Rakists laid out his own proposal for resolving the issue. The first step, he said, would be the involvement of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group to assist Kashmiris, Pakistan, and India in the mediation of the plan. In the second, four UN-supervised referenda would be held simultaneously, but counted separately for (i) Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir; (ii) Kashmir valley; (iii) Jammu; and (iv) Ladakh.
Highlighting the need for following the rule-based international order in IIOJK, Professor Samina Yasmin informed the participants on how India has since long been flaunting these. She also gave specific examples from the ongoing military siege in IIOJK, to emphasise the flagrant disregard of the international system by India.
High Commissioner Babar Amin in his remarks thanked all the speakers for their principled position on the illegal actions, military siege, and human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir. He dilated upon the sacrifices of Kashmiris for the exercise of their inalienable right to self-determination, which had been promised to them by the International community.
He also briefed the participants of the illegality of Indian actions in the context of international law, bilateral agreements, and established norms.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s continued moral, political, and diplomatic support to the people of IIOJK.