UK

Seeking Justice for Kashmiri Victims of Sexual Violence & Physical Torture and Widows” Virtual Seminar hosted by the High Commission

High Commissioner reiterates Pakistan’s unequivocal support for Kashmiris

Unanimous concern and call for action by Participants over perpetual human tragedy in Indian occupied Kashmir, HR violations must not be allowed to go on

The High Commission organized a Virtual Seminar on the theme of “Seeking Justice for Kashmiri Victims of Sexual Violence & Physical Torture and Widows” on 26 June 2020, to commemorate the UN International Days:

 

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, 19 June

International Widows’ Day, 23 June

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 26 June

The High Commission also organised a “Photo Exhibition” to reflect on the plight of the Kashmiris in IoK that conformed the topic of the three UN Days.

In a show of solidarity, Members of the British Parliament, Kashmiri leaders, Eminent Scholars, Academics, Members of the Civil Society and British friends of Kashmir participated in the seminar.

President AJ&K, Sardar Masood Khan, gave a keynote address. Honourable Members of British Parliament, Steve Baker, Tony Lloyd MP, Lord Qurban Hussain, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Afzal Khan MP, Khalid Mehmood MP, Barrister Imran Hussain MP were among the Speakers while MPs Nadia Whittome and Naz Shah gave their messages of solidarity and commitment to support Kashmiris in IoK.

The Kashmiri leaders who participated and spoke on the occasion were Mushaal Malik, Professor Nazir Gilani, Professor Shahid Iqbal, Raja Najabat Hussain, Councillor Liaquat Ali, Mrs Shamim Shawl, Prof. Nazir Shawl, Mr. Majid Tramboo, Mrs. Shamim Shawl, Shaista Safi, Tajammul Shaikh, Raja Sikandar Khan, Faiz Naqshbandi, Councillor Yasmine Dar, Uzma Rasool, Councillor Asim Rashid, Muzammil Thakur, and Ali Raza Syed. A number of prominent Kashmiri and Pakistani Community members also attended the Seminar.

In his opening remarks, High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria said the sufferings of the Kashmiri people span over decades and have no parallel in the world. The humanitarian crisis since 5 August 2019 has opened yet another dark chapter in human history, he added. He also referred to authentic documentary evidence in this regard. Mr Zakaria shared that while the international community is observing UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture, over 12,000 young Kashmiris have been brutally injured by Indian occupation forces using pellet guns since July 2016. The so-called world’s largest democracy has blinded a whole generation of Kashmiris and there is a complete communication blackout in IoK while International media has sporadically reported extreme torture perpetrated by the occupation forces, he added.

Mr Zakaria said the seminar is an expression of Pakistan’s unequivocal support to the Kashmiri people that the entire nation stands with them until they get their right to self-determination as promised by the UN in Security Council’s resolutions.

The High Commissioner said:

“Kashmiri women have the distinction of being called Half-Widows. Their husbands were taken away by the Indian forces several years ago and their whereabouts are unknown which adds to the trauma of these women.

“Sexual violence and rape have been used by Indian forces as a weapon to deter Kashmiris from pursuing their indigenous self-determination movement. Victims of horrific mass rape of Kunan Poshpora in 1991 still await justice.

“Thousands of unnamed and unmarked mass graves have been discovered in IoK which contain irrefutable evidence of torture and fake encounters. International People’s Tribunal Report entitled: “Buried Evidence” recoded details of mass graves.”

In his keynote address, Sardar Masood Khan, President AJ&K said Modi government is committing war crimes in occupied Kashmir which the international community should take immediate notice of. He stated that every day dozens of Kashmiri youth are being gunned down outrageously in fake encounters and due the media blackout the world does not know the full extent of atrocities. The President informed that about 13,000 young Kashmiri boys have been taken away from their homes and are being kept in concentration camps in North India.

The President said after the recent change in domicile law of Kashmir, as many as 25,000 non-Kashmiri Hindus have been given right to residence in Kashmir which would drastically change the demography of the region in complete violation of the UNSC Resolutions.

Sardar Masood Khan noted that India has also unleashed a war on Azad Jammu and Kashmir by continuous violations of ceasefire resulting in deaths and injuries of the civilians. However, he said that after 05 August 2019, the issue of Kashmir has been internationalised and India can no longer put it out as its internal matter. He added that reincarnation of Nazism is taking place in India.

Raising serious concerns over the gross human rights violations by the Indian forces, the British Parliamentarians and other speakers called for immediate end to siege and communication blackout in Kashmir. While they underlined need for substantive accountability measures for delivery of justice to Kashmiris, they also called for immediate intervention to stop Humsn rights abuses in IoK and sending of a fact finding mission also. The speakers said Kashmiri widows, half-widows and victims of torture need justice and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity should be punished.

UK’s relevance in terms historical links, legacy of British rule and being a P-5 Member of UNSC called for greater responsibility, MPs underlined.

They were of the opinion that the UN failure in case of Kashmir is putting the credibility of the organization at stake. Therefore, they urged the UN to fulfil its obligation towards the Kashmiri people. The Speakers also called upon the UK government to take a lead role in resolving the issue of Kashmir as it was a colonial legacy.

The concerns were also expressed over emergence of the phenomenon of fascist ideology of Hindutva under Modi Government which poses serious threat to the existence of Kashmiri population. The speakers demanded immediate end to draconian laws. The participants were deeply concerned at the continuous killings of defenceless Kashmiris by the Indian troops with impunity in IOK. A number of speakers said international community should not shy away from economic measures against India.

Earlier in the day, the High Commission arranged a Photo Exhibition of the Kashmiri victims of Indian atrocities, which was visited by a large number of people. The photos of the widows, half-widows victims of mass rapes, mass blinding, mass graves, massacres and inhuman torture of the Kashmiris gave the visitors better understanding of the sufferings of the Kashmiris.

The High Commissioner briefed the media about major gruesome incidents of the mass killings, details of the atrocities documented by various international organisations, including the UN and international media. He responded to the media questions.

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