President Arif Alvi on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day demanded the Indian government uphold the rights of the Kashmiri people instead of trying ─ and failing ─ to “justify its terrorism” against innocent citizens by pushing a “false narrative of ‘killing militants’.”
President Alvi in an address to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad on Tuesday issued a list of demands for the Indian government:
Free all political prisoners
Uphold freedom of expression in Kashmir
Ban the use of firearms against Kashmiri citizens
Ban the use of pellet guns against Kashmiris
Withdraw draconian ‘black laws’ in Kashmir
Allow IOK leaders to travel freely and “make their case abroad”
Allow international rights observers into IOK to “see the situation for themselves”
Lift restrictions on electronic communications
The president urged the Indian government to lift restrictions on electronic communications in Kashmir so that international media and social media are in the know about what is happening in the occupied territory.
“If you are in the right, the world will come to know about it. And if you are in the wrong, the world will find out about,” President Alvi challenged the Indian government.
The president also asked the United Nations to send a fact-finding commission to IOK and “fulfil the promises it made to Pakistan and India”.
“I salute your struggle,” he said, addressing the people of Kashmir. “Pakistan is with you.”
‘India trying to justify terrorism through false narrative’
The president, in a separate special message, recalled that the purpose of Feb 5 is to “demonstrate to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters and the world at large that we have not forgotten the long-pending dispute of Jammu and Kashmir,and the struggle of the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir against woeful Indian occupation.”
The president hit out at the international community’s indifference to grave human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir, which he said “raise doubts in the minds of Kashmiris, hinting at a double standard where every atrocity goes unpunished and every human rights violation, uncondemned.”
“It reduces the UN Human Rights Charter to mere verbal rhetoric,” he stressed.
“Behind its false narrative of ‘killing militants’, India has been trying to justify its terrorism but has failed miserably,” Alvi asserted.
Alvi described a report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights documenting alleged human rights violations in Kashmir as a “turning point and a watershed moment for the Kashmiri community all over the world”.
Read more: The UN Kashmir report is an opportunity for Pakistan to take the higher moral ground over India
The president said Pakistan supports the proposals contained in the report and calls for the expedited establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to probe the human rights situation in IOK as per the report’s recommendations.
He reiterated Pakistan’s “unflinching solidarity” with the people of occupied Kashmir, Radio Pakistan reported.
“Pakistan … pays homage to the heroes and martyrs of this epic struggle for liberation that has become a living symbol of the indomitable human spirit. Your cries for azadi cannot be suppressed,” the president said.
“We reassure our Kashmiri brothers and sisters that we will remain consistent in our principled position on Kashmir. The entire Pakistani nation stands with its Kashmiri brethren in their valiant struggle to achieve the legitimate right to self-determination.”
“It is our firm belief that The Kahsmiris will succeed in their struggle,” he added.
The UN Resolution on Kashmir adopted on January 24, 1957, states: “The final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.”
President Alvi will also participate in a function in Islamabad in the evening. A seminar will be held at President House in which experts will share views on the Kashmir dispute and human rights violations in the held valley.
‘Kashmiri struggle continues despite Indian atrocities’
Prime Minister Imran Khan in his special message observed that the Kashmiri struggle for freedom is gaining strength with each passing day, and deplored that despite the passage of 70 years, the dispute remains unresolved.
The premier pointed out that despite the passage of seven decades, the Kashmir dispute remains unresolved.
“Ruthless killings, pellet injuries to children and infants, rapes and torture; Indian atrocities in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue unabated and so does the spirit and courage of Kashmiris in their fight to achieve the legitimate right to self-determination.”
The premier noted that the “number of tortures, rapes and killings perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces against innocent Kashmiris has become a case study in unprecedented violence.”
“Thousands of innocent Kashmiris have been brutally tortured and extra-judicially killed during forced disappearances or illegal custody by the Indian occupation forces, which enjoy full immunity under draconian laws.”
The observance of Kashmir Solidarity Day commemorates the “strong and unflinching resolve of the Kashmiris to achieve the inalienable right to self-determination from Indian subjugation which does not weaken, rather strengthens with every passing day, and with each new act of Indian cruelty,” the prime minister concluded.
Kashmiris will get their rights, vows FM Qureshi
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a special message on Tuesday reiterated the Pakistani nation’s resolve to stand in solidarity with Kashmiris battling Indian oppression and brutality in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
The nation is observing Kashmir Solidarity Day in a befitting manner with a pledge to continue extending all possible support to the people of Kashmir, who have been struggling for more than seven decades to get their legitimate right to self-determination.
The day is being observed in Pakistan and other parts of the world at a time when Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir have reached a new level of oppression and human rights denial to crush the indigenous freedom movement against the subjugating forces.
Read more: Cries of Kashmiris have reached centre stage: Qureshi
“Today is February 5, and the entire Pakistani nation is standing in solidarity with Kashmiris,” Qureshi said from London ─ where he is scheduled at attend a conference on Kashmir ─ in a video message on Tuesday.
“I would have been very happy if the Hurriyat leaders were free, if their passports had not been confiscated, if they had been given the opportunity to express themselves,” Qureshi said. “Today people would not be chanting slogans of freedom in the shadow of bayonets.”
“They will get their rights in the end,” the foreign minister asserted. “As the resolve, courage and determination [to struggle for freedom] has been passed onto the younger generation, it has become clear that this movement will reach its conclusive end.”
The foreign minister said that every child, every institution, every intellect in Pakistan is with the Kashmiris and lauds their sacrifices.
In a separate message shared on Radio Pakistan, Qureshi said that India’s consistent denial of the right of Kashmiris to freedom is a telling example of impunity.
“The human rights violations in IOK are a blot on the conscience of humanity and demand immediate corrective action by the international community,” he stressed.
The foreign minister noted that reports from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Jammu and Kashmir and the United Kingdom’s All-Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir have removed the veil from decades of obfuscation by India of massive human rights violations and unspeakable crimes against humanity in the valley.
“Pakistan remains committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution to this long standing dispute. Our principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is based on none other than the United Nations Security Council resolutions. These resolutions provide for the final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir dispute through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations,” Qureshi explained.
The foreign minister pointed out that Kashmir is the “core dispute” between Pakistan and India.
“The dream of peace and prosperity of the people of this region will remain elusive without resolving this dispute in accordance with the aspirations of its people,” he added.
Qureshi urged the international community to not forget its obligation towards the people of Kashmir, and to understand that continued apathy to the sufferings of the Kashmiri people could have disastrous consequences, not just for the region but potentially for the world at large.
‘Determined Kashmiris shall succeed’
Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also tweeted a message in support of Kashmir.
The DG ISPR said that the decades of atrocities engineered by Indian occupation forces in Kashmir “have failed to suppress [the] ever-strengthening, legitimate freedom struggle”.
“Determined Kashmiris shall succeed,” he added.
‘India playing blame game to side-step real issue’
Ambassador to China Masood Khalid while addressing an event organised by Islamabad at Pakistan Embassy College Beijing said that instead of stopping state violence in IOK and recognising the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people, India is playing a blame game in order to side-step the real issue and divert the attention of the international community.
Khalid said that despite all measures to subjugate them, the spirit of the people of Kashmir remained free and alive, Radio Pakistan reported.
‘Resolving Kashmir dispute should be a priority’
Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, who called on Qureshi in London, emphasised that resolution of the Kashmir dispute should be high on the agenda of the international community, Radio Pakistan reported.
He reiterated that there was no military solution to this dispute and that peaceful and meaningful dialogue was the only way forward.
Bondevik reaffirmed his commitment for the resolution of the dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and welcomed initiatives such as the International Conference on Jammu and Kashmir.
Govt plans activities to mark Feb 5
The government has planned a number of activities to mark the day and expose massive human rights violations and brutality being committed by the Indian forces to suppress the indigenous freedom movement.
The nation observed a minute’s silence at 10am to pay tributes to the Shuhada of Kashmir for sacrificing their lives for the right to self-determination.
After that, a human chain was formed at D-Chowk in Islamabad with an active participation of people from all walks of life. Human chains will also be formed at all connecting points of Pakistan and AJK.
Rallies, public meetings and seminars will be held across the country and in AJK. Television channels will broadcast special documentaries and newspapers will publish special editions to highlight the miseries of the people of held Kashmir.
Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan will broadcast different programmes regarding the Kashmir Solidarity Day. A Kashmir festival has been planned at Lok Virsa Islamabad. Kashmir artists and singers will perform in the festival.