WASHINGTON, (APP): Pakistan has consistently upheld the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions that provide for an impartial plebiscite to enable the Kashmiri people to decide their future, Shehryar Khan Afridi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir, has said.
“History tells us that attempts to forcibly suppress the legitimate demands of the people of Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in failure,” Afridi said at a largely attended reception given in his honor by the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF) at Sapphire Tyson restaurant, according to a press release issued by the forum.
But, he said, without active interest among big powers to come to the rescue of Kashmiris, India will not agree to any meaningful talks on Kashmir. The chairman urged the world powers to break their silence and help the people of Jammu & Kashmir as the situation was deteriorating and could erupt anytime due to the atrocities being committed against the Kashmiris by the forces of fascist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The current resistance in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) is rooted in the struggle of the people for the exercise of the right of self-determination – the promise which was given to them by the United Nations Security Council in 1948,” he said. The Chairman added that his purpose of coming to the United States was to increase awareness in the corridors of power in Washington about the Kashmir issue.
His sole purpose was to mobilize world opinion in support of the cause of the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the principled stand of Pakistan. Afridi praised Prime Minister Imran Khan who advocated the cause of the people of Jammu & Kashmir at all international fora, including the United Nations, that Pakistan supports initiatives and efforts aimed at achieving a just and durable settlement of the Kashmir problem, in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The chairman expressed his resolve to interact with the elected representatives, civil society, members of think-tanks, academia to carry forward the vision of Prime Minister Khan. n. In his remarks, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Asad Majeed Khan, presented a historical perspective of the dispute and underscored the efforts made by the current Government towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, the press release said.
He that Prime Minister Khan has termed himself as the Ambassador for Kashmiri people and has been effectively pleading the case for Kashmir at all international forums, including the United Nations.
Ambassador Khan briefed the audience on the recent visit by the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who participated in the 76th Session of the UNGA in New York. The Foreign Minister, along with President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry and Chairman Pakistan Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir, sensitized the international community on the plight of Kashmiri people and urged them to play their role in resolving the Kashmir dispute as envisaged in the UNSC Resolutions.
Ambassador Khan said that India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, were in contravention to its international obligations, commitments to the United Nations, and bilateral agreements and understandings between the two countries. He also drew the attention of the audience to the grave peace and security threat posed by these Indian actions in South Asia and called for the international community to urge India to end its human rights violations in IIOJK and rescind its illegal and unilateral actions.
Ambassador Khan also lauded the role played by the Pakistani and Kashmiri American community in highlighting the gross human rights violations in IIOJK and echoing the voice of innocent Kashmiris in the corridors of U.S. Congress.
He urged them to continue sensitizing the respective Congressman and members of civil society on this grave issue. Ambassador Khan reiterated the Government of Pakistan’s continued moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle for the right to self-determination.
Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, President of WKAF, said that Kashmiris cherished the moral and political support of the brotherly people of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan in fighting off the oppression unleashed by the Indian regime. “We are grateful to the indomitable Prime Minister Imran khan for forcefully advocating the Kashmir cause at all international platforms, including his powerful Sept 24 at UNGA,” he said.
Dr. Mir said the political resistance in Kashmir is alive, despite the brutal tactics of Indian occupation forces. He emphasized that the Kashmiri diaspora needs to pursue the goal of the right of self-determination as a united front. United we stand but divided we fall, Mir added. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of WKAF, said that the United Nations bears a special responsibility to bring peace to Kashmir because it was in its chamber more than 74 years ago that India made a pledge to the world body in general and to the people of Kashmir in particular that they would be enabled to decide their future under an impartially supervised plebiscite on the basis of their right of self-determination.
That promise has not been kept and, in fact, repudiated in violation of the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. “No consideration of the Kashmir dispute which is designed to arrive at a peaceful settlement will yield any result unless the Kashmiri viewpoint is fully taken into account,” Fai emphasized. He regretted that both the Trump and Biden administrations favored India over the suffering people of Kashmir, as no protests were made at UNSC against India’s violations of human rights or its plebiscite resolutions.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, a professor at the George Washington University Medical Center, said the appointment of Afridi as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, was very refreshing and a departure from the inaction of the past. His dynamism and depth of understanding of the Kashmir problem infuse energy into the role of Pakistan in furthering the Kashmir cause. Under the chairmanship of Shehryar Afridi, he said, the committee’s horizons have broadened.
Taking the issue to the academic world and think tanks and involvement of the media are excellent ideas that will help to Kashmir cause. Dr. Imtiaz underscored that the events of August 5, 2019, were consistent with the ruthless occupation and suppression the people of Kashmir have suffered under the unpopular Indian rule.
All the features of severe repression are evident — the detention without trial, torture, execution, imprisonment of leadership, and gang rapes by the Indian army — are common daily occurrences. In the interest of world peace, he said, India and Pakistan need to resolve the Kashmir dispute to the satisfaction of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sardar Zarif Khan, the Chief Coordinator of the event, said despite the persistent and pernicious tyranny, the people of Kashmir never have nor ever will give up their right to be free. That right, he said, was based on internationally recognized principles. Many other Kashmiri activists, including Sardar Shoaib khan, addressed the gathering and reaffirmed their support to the struggling people in occupied Kashmir.
In the end, according to the press release, the participants called upon the United Nations in general and Biden Administration, in particular, to play an active part in ensuring that the promises made to the people of Kashmir at the U.N. more than seven decades ago, are fulfilled and an opportunity given to the people to participate in a free and fair referendum to determine their future in line with their inalienable right to self-determination.
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