‘No country has right to decide fate of Kashmiris’

The participation of Pakistani-American community in highlighting the Kashmir dispute at the international forum couldn’t be forgotten and they deserve the gratitude and appreciation of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) who are literally under siege since August last year.

These views were expressed by Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary-General of World Kashmir Awareness Forum while speaking at a Kashmir Solidarity Day event, organised by All Pakistani American Council, (APAC) in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday.

Dr Fai stressed that the unflinching resistance by the people of IOK is living proof that they are not going to compromise, far less abandon, their demand for freedom which is their birth-right and for which they have paid a price in blood.

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“Kashmir continues to bleed. We see the horrendous brutality, unstopped and unpunished barbarities unleashed against the defenceless population. A deliberate, systematic and officially sanctioned massive campaign of brutal oppression launched against the people of IOK is still on the rise,” Dr Fai said.

“There is a deliberate targeting of youth in flimsy hopes to crush a legitimate and popular uprising against the occupation. The irony is that the impunity that is being granted to the violator of human rights is not in the context of a new dispute.

“It is being allowed to arise and to persist in a territory which, under international law, is not part of any member state of the United Nations and whose status is yet to be determined through a free and impartial plebiscite under supervision and control of the United Nations,” he added.

People of the disputed Himalayan region, he also said, want peace but with dignity and honour.

“No country whatsoever has the right to decide the fate of Kashmiris… it was the people of Kashmir who were granted the right to self- determine the political future,” he said. “The United Nations has the opportunity to affect a positive resolution to the conflict and resulting humanitarian situation by promoting the conditions of the original mandate.”

The secretary general also urged that it is only through international recognition and inclusive representations that a genuine and lasting peace can ensue. “The risks of maintaining the status quo – for Kashmir, South Asia and the world – are too great to ignore.”

He added: “The Trump administration to place Kashmir on its radar screen, because of the American and international consensus that Kashmir pinched between nuclear-capable India and Pakistan is the most dangerous place on the planet.”

Now, he went on to say, is not the time for complacency or temporising. “The nuclear clock is moving forward, not backward. And the chilling suffering and misery of the Kashmiri people continue every day a peaceful resolution is deferred.”

Senator Captain Khalid Shaheen said that Pakistan has always stood by the side of Kashmir’s demand for a plebiscite because they felt cheated when India invaded Kashmir.

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The senator further said that the killings of innocent civilians in IOK must shake the conscience of all peace-loving people. He condemned the efforts to muzzle the press and further expressed need to restore the right to assemble and freedom of expression in the occupied region.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of the IOJ&K,” Senator Shaheen said. “We condemn in the strongest terms the ban on Internet, social media and restrictions on freedom of opinion and freedom of assembly.”