“There was a high level of optimism when India and Pakistan announced on September 20, 2018 to meet in New York on the sidelines of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly. But the dreams were shattered when Government of India unexpectedly announced the cancellation of these talks,” this was stated by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum during a rally at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Hundreds of protesters were shouting slogans while holding placards which read: India Honor UN Pledges; Kashmiri Lives Matter too; Freedom for All: Freedom for Kashmir; We Demand Right of Self-determination in Kashmir; Wake Up Wake Up UN Wake Up, etc.
Fai explained that this latest move by India proves that the dispute over Kashmir could not be settled through bilateral talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. He recounted the litany of failed of over 150 bilateral efforts within the past 70 years and said that the people of Kashmir steadfastly maintained that talks should include their leadership along with India and Pakistan to explore all the possible options to settle the Kashmir dispute once and for all.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, President, Kashmiri American Council said that nothing better can be said about the situation in Kashmir. There is brutality, cruelty, suffering and pain everywhere in Kashmir. An iron-fisted military rule has prevailed there, featuring a staggering 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces. Major international and neutral human rights agencies have documented harrowing human rights violations committed by Indian military and paramilitary forces. Dr. Khan called upon the United Nations to persuade India and Pakistan to accede to international agreements and to initiate a meaningful dialogue between all parties concerned.
Sardar Abid Hussain Abid, former Minister of Information, AJK Government deplored the state of human rights and democratic values in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He said that Pakistan has always stood by the side of Kashmir’s demand of self-determination. Kashmir issue is about honoring the political and human rights of the people of Kashmir in accord with international law, justice and morality. Mr. Abid added that the issue of Kashmir is by no definition a border dispute between India and Pakistan. It is a problem that includes 22 million people of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Sardar Haleem Khan appealed the United Nations to seize the opportunity to promote an initiative towards bringing about conditions necessary for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
Javed Rathore of Chicago said India’s war crimes in Kashmir are notorious. Its army kills civilians with impunity. The draconian laws, like ‘Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) grants virtual legal immunity to any type of war crimes against humanity perpetrated in Kashmir.
Imtiaz Khan, New Jersey remained convinced that the people of Kashmir constitute the principle stakeholder and should be integral part of any future dialogue with India and Pakistan.
Ms. Amna Habeeb said to negate the people of Kashmir their basic right to self-determination is a very dangerous game, particularly when the will and determination for Aazadi (freedom) has only grown stronger with the passage of time.
Raja Yaqoob of Chicago appealed the world powers to endorse the recommendations of the report submitted by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights for an impartial investigation about the situation in Kashmir.
Yaseen Chohan of Chicago cautioned that the Indian army has engage in a sustained campaign of slaughter of the civilians. This act of barbarism must end.
Sardar Sajid Khan said that the human rights atrocities committed against civilian population are commonplace. He denounced the torture and extrajudicial killings by Indian forces and appealed to the world powers to come to the rescue of the hapless people of Kashmir.
Ms. Javaida Khanum (Maryland) said India has defied the United Nations Security Council resolutions for more than 7o years because she know that the people will never vote in her favor.
Sardar Zarif Khan, Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan, Sardar Zubair Khan and Sardar Taj thanked the participants who took time to come from distances to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Kashmir.
Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalavi, Advocate was the Emcee and the host of the event.
Others who spoke included: Raja Liaqat Kiyanai; Shafiq Shah; Mian Saqlain; Sardar Aftab Roshan; Sardar Farooq Khan; Khalid Faheem; Sardar Asghar Khan; Khawaja Amjad Nawaz; Sardar Zahid Khan; Sardar Yunus; Ghulam Ghous; Haji Shafi Khan; Raja Mukhtar.
Dr. Fai can be reached at email@example.com