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International Parliamentary Conference on “Kashmir Martyrs' Day“

Speakers express solidarity with the Kashmiris, demand end to human rights abuses, concrete measures, call India to account

High Commissioner Zakaria emphasizes on delivery of justice to Kashmiri victims and punitive measures against perpetrators


London:  High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria presided over an International Conference to mark the 89th “Kashmir Martyrs' Day“ on 13 July 2020. Kashmir Martyrs' Day is commemorated on 13 July every year to pay tribute to the 22 Kashmiris who were martyred by Dogra forces in 1931 as they tried to complete the call for the Prayers, called Azaan, outside the Srinagar Central Jail.

The virtual Conference was organised by Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Self-Determination Movement International (JKSDMI). Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider Khan was the key-note speaker.

British Parliamentarians, former British MEPs, Pakistani Parliamentarians, Kashmiri Parliamentarians, Councillors, representatives of civil society, Kashmiri activist women and youth attended the Conference.

In his opening remarks, the High Commissioner paid homage to the Kashmiri Martyrs of 1931 and reminded the participants that the inhuman treatment of the Kashmiri people continues unabatedly till today—all in the knowledge of the civilised world and defenders of human rights. He said India blatantly violates all the conventions and international laws on human rights with impunity, defies UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. He emphasised that international community needed to take practical measures to deliver justice to the helpless Kashmiris and call the perpetrators to account. Zakaria mentioned that India has been systematically changing the demography through perpetual genocide. After enforcing illegal J&K Reorganisation Order 2020 followed by domicile issuance procedures it has sped up the demographic change in contravention of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir to convert Kashmiris into a minority from majority in their own land.

Recalling remembrance of genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, observed on 11 July, the High Commissioner said that 14 years down the line, 2700 mass graves were discovered in Kashmir, with 3000 bodies of indigenous Kashmiris, killed by Indian occupation forces in fake encounters. In this regard he referred to International People's Tribunal report entitled: Buried Evidence. Mass Blinding, Mass Rapes, numerous Massacres since 1989, Genocide of 1947, Custodial & Extra-Judicial Killings and Torture have all been comprehensively documented by the international bodies such as the UN, Amnesty International, etc. These documentary evidences were enough for the international community to take action against the perpetrators.

In his keynote address, Prime Minister AJ&K, Raja Farooq Haider Khan, gave background of the Kashmir Martyrs' Day. He called upon the Western democracies to play their role in stopping the gross human rights violations of the Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces. He said Britain is a second home to Kashmiris as about one million people of Kashmiri origin live in the UK and by virtue of that relation the UK Government should play a lead role in resolving the dispute. The Prime Minister also urged that commercial interests should not be pursued at the cost of human rights by Western countries.

The speakers raised serious concerns over ongoing humanitarian crisis in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and expressed complete solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination. A large number of women speakers particularly highlighted how Indian occupation forces were using rape as a weapon of war to deter the local population from pursuing their just struggle for self-determination. Mass rape of Kunan Poshpora and other systematic rapes of the Kashmiri women committed by Indian occupation forces were condemned throughout the Conference and justice was demanded for the victims.

The speakers dispelled the notion that Kashmir issue could be resolved bilaterally. They said international community should play its role to end human sufferings in IOK by resolving the dispute according to the UNSC resolutions. Urging the delivery of justice to the Kashmiris and accountability of the perpetrators, the speakers expressed serious concerns over communication and media blackout in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The participants called upon the international community to stop the sale of weapons to India as it mercilessly blinded Kashmiri youth with pellet guns—a crime against humanity. The speakers suggested that during the upcoming EU-India summit on 15 July 2020, EU should strongly take up the issue of human rights abuses by the Indian forces in IOK. They also called for linking human rights violations in IOK to trade and economic relations with India. The speakers particularly condemned the newly promulgated Domicile Law in IOK and warned about the consequences of any forced demographic change in the occupied territory. They said it is illegal for the Indian Government to grant Kashmiri domicile to any non-Kashmiri individual. Speakers saw UK's new sanctions regime relevant in the context of India's grave human rights violations.

In addition to the Prime Minister of AJ&K, Debbie Abrahams MP- Chairperson APPG on Kashmir, Barrister MP Imran Hussain-Senior Vice Chair APPG on Kashmir, Lord Qurban Hussain Secretary Kashmir Group, Andrew Gwynne MP Chairman Labour Friends of Kashmir, Alex Sobel MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Nadia Whitome MP, Shadow Secretary Thangam Debbonaire MP, Sarah Owen MP, Christian Wakeford MP, Tracy Brabin MP, Sara Britcliffe MP, former Members of European Parliament Anthea Mc Intyre & Julie Ward, Mushaal Hussein Mullick wife of Hurriyat Leader Yasin Malik who is incarcerating in notorious Tihar Jail, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Seemi Ezdi Secretary General of PTI women's Wing, Shaista Pervez MNA, Shaza Fatima Khawaja MNA, Noreen Farooq Ibrahim MNA, Asia Khattak MPA, Shamim Aftab MPA, Hinna Parvez Butt MPA, Sehrish Qamer MLA Chairperson JKSDMI Azad Kashmir, Cllr Yasmine Dar Member National Executive Committee of Labour Party, Cllr Uzma Rasool London, Cllr Sumara Khurshid Luton, Cllr Naweeda Khan, Cllr Qaisar Abass, Sumaira Farrukh Chairperson BTM Global, Shaista Safi Youth Leader for Kashmir International, Riffat Wani Human Rights Activist from Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Rahat Farooq Advocate Joint Secretary Supreme Court Bar Association of Azad Kashmir, Umbreen Turk Information Secretary PTI Azad Kashmir, Ms Mehr Ul Nisa Former Deputy Speaker of Azad Kashmir Assembly, Ms Naila Altaf Kiayni Muslim Conference, Nabeela Arshad Advocate Chairperson Jammu Kashmir Democratic Party, Kashmiri activists Asia Hussain, Arif Khan, Ali Raza Syed, Raja Sikander Khan, Mahmood Riaz, Naeem Naqashbandi, and Ubaid Ur Rehman Qureshi President Pakistan Youth Parliament participated in the Conference.

President AJ&K, Sardar Masood Khan and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Shehryar Afridi sent their messages for the Conference.

The Conference lasted for three hours in which more than three dozen speakers expressed their views on humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.

July 13, 2020

Last updated: July 14, 2020

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