In Indian occupied Kashmir which calls for immediate intervention of the international community. High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria was addressing the audience at the Kashmir Solidarity Day Seminar held at the British Parliament on 4 February 2020. The Seminar was organized by the Women Council of Jammu Kashmir Self-Determination Movement International (JKSDMI) team led by its Chairman Raja Najabat Hussain.
Those who attended and spoke at the event included Sardar Masood Khan, President AJ&K; Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Dame Rosalie Winterton MP; Debbie Abrahams MP, Chairperson All Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group; Shadow Secretary of State for Media & Culture Tracy Brabin MP; Yasmin Qureshi MP; Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd MP; Lord Qurban Hussain; Shadow Foreign Minister for South Asia Afzal Khan MP; Lillian Greenwood MP and Mohammed Yaseen MP. Besides, a large number of Kashmiri Diaspora in the UK, especially women and youth along with media representatives, attended the Seminar.
High Commissioner said Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute and still on the agenda of the UN Security Council. He informed the audience that over 07 decades, many dimensions have been added to it such as grave situation of human rights, risk to the regional security and its bearing on socio-economic condition of the people of the region. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly cautioned the international community that the Indian adventurism could pose incalculable danger to the regional security and beyond.
Briefing on the genesis of the dispute, Mr Zakaria said that Kashmir issue was a consequence of the violation of the basic principle of the partition plan and manipulation of the demarcation of boundaries. In this regard, he cited the historical accounts recorded by the British historian Prof. Alastair Lamb, Secretary to the Boundary Commission Sir Christopher Beaumont, Indian Lawyer A G Noorani, and HR Activist Victoria Schofield.
The High Commissioner said that Indian unilateral and illegal actions on 5th August 2019 have led to a humanitarian crisis in IoK due to the siege laid by 900,000 fully armed Indian forces laid on 8 million defenceless and voiceless Kashmiris. Genocide Watch has issued Genocide Alert for Kashmir. Since 5th August, Kashmiris have remained cut off from the outside world leading to civilian deaths due to shortages of food and medicines.
Mr Zakaria said:
“Long trail of torture against innocent Kashmiris has been well documented by a number of international human rights bodies and organizations. In this regard, International People’s Tribunal (IPT) Report of 2009, entitled ‘Buried Evidence’ about mass graves and Amnesty International report called ‘Losing Sight in Kashmir’ about pellet guns victims clearly reveal the ongoing gross human rights violations in IOK.”
Mr Zakaria said crimes against humanity including mass killings, mass graves, mass rapes, mass blindings in Idian occupied Kashmir and actions taken in the aftermath of 5th August 2019 contravene all relevant international laws and conventions on human rights, such as: (a) The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights & 1949 Geneva Convention IV; (b) 1998 ICC Statute; (c) International Law Commission (ILC); (d) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), the Convention on the elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989); and (e) A series of international human rights treaties and other instruments adopted since 1945. All are applicable on the Human Rights situation in IOK, added Mr Zakaria.
The High Commissioner underlined that people would lose faith in the international community and Institutions meant to protect human rights if they don’t intervene.
The High Commissioner, while appreciating British Parliamentarians’ support, urged immediate and unconditional lifting of the siege, sending of fact finding mission and delivery of justice to Kashmiri victims of Indian atrocities.
Sardar Masood Khan, in his address said India has tried to bury the issue of Kashmir for seven decades but failed miserably as the Kashmiris’ struggle for right to self-determination never ceased despite harrowing brutalities by the occupation forces. He said India has used every instrument of violence and propaganda in its repertoire yet it could not dampen the spirit of the Kashmiri people. The President said today the issue of Kashmir stands internationalized and is being discussed at international forums and world parliaments.
The President informed that the situation in occupied Kashmir is more catastrophic than it appears as very little information is coming out due to total lockdown of the region. He said what is being reported about torture and death toll in IOK is just the tip of the iceberg. He called upon the international community, particularly the UK, to play their role in ending the humanitarian crisis in IOK. He urged the big trading nations like UK to address ongoing human rights violations in IOK before entering any trade deal with India.
The British Parliamentarians and other speakers expressed deep concerns over gross human rights violations of the Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces. They urged India to end the lockdown and restore communications network in IOK immediately. The speakers also emphasized on sending a fact finding mission to IOK so that ground realities of the region could be known. They called upon the UK government to stand up for protection of human rights of the Kashmiris.