Demographic change in IoJ&K is a breach of Geneva Convention, UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir dispute: High Commissioner Zakaria
British Parliamentarians express solidarity with the Kashmiris
London: High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria has said that the ultimate objective of India is to alter the demography of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, which it has been illegally occupying against the wishes of Kashmiri nation, in contravention of Geneva Convention IV and also UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. He was speaking at a Virtual Parliamentary Seminar on Kashmir on 5 August 2020 to observe You-e-Istehsal marking one year of military siege of over 8 million Kashmiris by India.
Giving a context to the Webinar, the High Commissioner said on 5 August 2019, India unilaterally and illegally enacted Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019. Since then the Kashmiris are living under Indian military siege with no communication with the outside world and completely deprived of their fundamental rights. He said with the communication blockade and no media access, the reports of extrajudicial and custodial killings, arbitrary detentions, rapes and sexual harassment and destruction of properties have constantly emerged. This prompted Genocide Watch to issue Genocide Alert for Kashmir, he added.
Mr Zakaria said change of Kashmir’s status is a violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Kashmir as well as relevant International Conventions and Laws. He said, since 5 August 2019, UN Rapporteurs have published four reports on Human rights violations in IOJK. Besides, the human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, HRW, J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), the international media has also extensively reported on horrifying details of human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by the Indian occupation forces under the direct command of the BJP government, he added.
The High Commissioner said the overarching objective of illegal move by India is to bring about demographic change in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He said that illegal actions of 5 th August 2019 opened yet another dark chapter in human and Kashmiris’ history and this is not the only attempt to change the demography. India has been systematically changing the demography over the years through genocide, massacres, enforced expulsions, enforced disappearances and so on, he added.
Mr Zakaria said disclosure of mass graves, mass blinding, mass rapes and extrajudicial & custodial killings of Kashmiris constitute crimes against humanity for which the international community must hold India accountable. Mr Zakaria said Pakistan stands with the Kashmiris in their rightful struggle for self-determination and our resolve towards supporting the oppressed Kashmiris is unflinching. He cited the Government of PM Imran Khan’s undertaking in this regard.
A large number of British Parliamentarians attended the Webinar. The Participants condemned grave violations of human rights in Indian occupied Kashmir and expressed their support for the oppressed Kashmiris. They said that Kashmiris under the Indian occupation are suffering from one of the most brutal oppressions in the world. They were concerned that lockdown during the pandemic has made Kashmiri lives more miserable as they have no access to medical facilities and communication networks. This necessitates immediate action by the international community.
The British Parliamentarians expressed complete solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiris and demanded an immediate end to human rights abuses by Indian occupation forces. They were of the opinion that demographic change in IOJK is a glaring violation of international laws and would further deprive the Kashmiris of their land and opportunities.
The British Parliamentarians said Indian action of 5 th August 2019 took the Kashmir dispute out of bilateral space and hence international intervention is required. The time for talking about it as a bilateral issue is over and, therefore, there is a need to drop the idea of bilateralism, they added. The speakers said that the characterization of the issue as a bilateral dispute and the language being used around it need to be changed to pave way for just and sustainable peace in Kashmir. Kashmir dispute can neither be resolved bilaterally nor through military means; hence, the international community must step in, they said. They said that multilateral institutions like UN, EU and human rights organizations should come forward to end the sufferings of the Kashmiri people. They undertook to continue raising the voice at appropriate forums including the British Parliament and with the Government.
The speakers emphasized that any trade and economic cooperation with India should be contingent upon its respect for human rights in Kashmir. They also noted that the UK media needs to focus more on Kashmir in view of the ongoing pandemic and human rights abuses by Indian occupation forces. The speakers said every Kashmiri life matters and the world needs to protect their lives and civil liberties.
Those who spoke on the occasion included Lord Qurban Hussain, Liam Byrne MP, Afzal Khan MP, Naz Shah MP, Muhammad Yasin MP and Tahir Ali MP. John Howarth, former MEP, spoke on his own behalf and on behalf of his colleagues. Debbie Abrahams MP, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPKG), and many others participated with their statements expressing support for Kashmiris and conveying their anguish at the blatant human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman Jammu & Kashmir Self Determination Movement International (JKSDMI) also participated in the webinar.