Kashmir gets resounding response at Iconic Times Square

Aug 15, 2023 | Press Release

August 5, 2023

Kashmiri Americans along with friends of Kashmir, including women and children gathered at historic Times Square, New York to reject India’s settler colonialism and show solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The rally was jointly organized by all Kashmiri American Diaspora organizations. The protestors held up placards and banners which read: ‘Decolonize Kashmir’ ‘UN UN Wake UP UN’ “Release Release: Yasin Malik’ ’Kashmiris Reject Indian occupation’ ‘Kashmiris demand human rights’, ‘Kashmir for Kashmiris.’

Sardar Haleem Khan, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, North America, the Emcee of the rally made a passionate appeal to the peace-loving people and nations of the world to pay attention to the pain and suffering of the people of occupied Kashmir. Mohmmad Yasin Malik, Haleem Khan added, is undisputed leader of Kashmiri political resistance movement. We demand the unconditional release of all political leaders, including Yasin Malik.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum said “August 5, 2019, is considered to be one of the darkest chapters in the history of Kashmir. It was on that fateful day that Fascist Narendra Modi abrogated Article 370 and Article 35A that paved the way for the enactment of Domicile Law which is designed to change the demography of Kashmir. India being so called ‘largest democracy’ is an illusion, delusion, and hallucination. It is a mirage. One can call it the modern form of settler colonialism. New York Times (August 24, 2022) said it the best, ‘Modi’s India is where global democracy dies’ and Huffington Post described it in these words, ‘As Kashmir is Erased, Indian democracy dies in silence.’

Dr. Fai added that recently, Modi administration wanted to give an impression of false normalcy by holding G20 tourism meeting in Kashmir. While expressing his disappointment, Dr. Fernard de Varennes, ‘United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issue’ said India is seeking to normalize the ‘brutal and repressive denial of democratic rights of Kashmiri Muslims’ by holding G20 meeting in Kashmir. However, G20 meeting in Kashmir turned out to be a fiasco and failure because China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey Oman and Egypt boycotted the meeting. China’s absence was on the basis of a principle when its foreign ministry issued a statement that ‘China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory (of Kashmir). We will not attend such meetings.’

Dr. Fai appealed to the UN Secretary General that now is the time to invoke Article 99 to intervene in Kashmir as Dr. Gregory Stanton, Chairman, Genocide Watch has said that ‘Kashmir was at the brink of genocide.’

Dr Imtiaz khan, Professor at George Washington University Medical Center spoke about the escalation of human right abuses in Indian occupied Kashmir. Killings of youth and molestation of women continues in an unabated manner. Since august 5, 2019 India is pursuing the policy to alter the demographics of the territory. Hundreds of thousand militant Hindus and army personnel have been provided domicile certificates and allotted land that has been grabbed from local Muslim population. Currently almost hundred percent of top-level bureaucracy and police official are Hindu outsiders who don’t demur to implement oppressive measures on the people of Kashmir. The final objective is to deprive people of their livelihood, convert Muslim majority to Hindu Majority and restrict the local population to ghettos.

Dr. Khan added that amongst all this gloom and despair there is a silver lining. To gain international acceptability for the annexation of Kashmir, India hosted G20 tourism meeting in the region few months ago. But many countries like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt refused to attend. Even other member countries sent a low-level delegation showing minimal presence. This can be called as splattering of diplomatic on India’s face and positive signal for peace loving people of Kashmir. International community succinctly stated their position on IOK and refused to buy Indian line that everything was hunky dory there.

Sardar Sawar Khan, former member of =Azad Kashmir Legislative Council narrated the history of broken promise given tot eh people of Kashmir. We are asking nothing more than what was achieved through the intervention of the United Nations in East Timor, Sothern Sudan, Namibia and else, that is right to self-determination.

Tariq Rehman of ICNA Council of Social Justice underscored that Kashmir issue does not belong the people of Kashmir alone and Palestine does not belong to the Palestinians alone. It is a clear wound on the body of Ummah. Their needs to eb a collective effort on the part of American Muslim community to join hands with Kashmiri American community.

Sardar Zarif Khan, Honorary Advisory to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir and the Secretary general of Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) expressed his unhappiness that our President – President Biden who is a person of integrity and honor, somehow, did not tell Prime Minister Modi that he should act as a statesman, stop genocide in Kashmir and give the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination which India and Pakistan has pledged at the United Nations as early as 1948.

Khalid Awan, President of PPP America narrated the historic role that his leadership has played for decades in internalizing the issue of Kashmir. The people of Pakistan will never let the sacrifices of the people of Kashmir go in vain, Khalid Awan added.

Raja Razak, prominent Kashmiri leader said that never underestimate the significance of the se protests. It sends a clear message to our hapless brothers and sisters in occupied Kashmir that they are not alone.

Raja Mukhtar, Senior Vice President, JKLF said that our compatriots in occupied Kashmir are sacrificing their lives for the cause of freedom. That challenge needs to be embraced by Kashmiri diaspora by doing everything they can by highlighting the pain and suffering of our people.

Maqbool Gujjar, Former minister of Azad Kashmir spoke about the role of Azad Kashmir. To be free in Azad Kashmir is also a test how far we are willing to leave our comfort zone in easing the grief of our brothers in occupied Kashmir.

Sardar Taj Khan, Vice Chairman of Kashmir Mission, USA said that the denial of right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir has brought both India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. The resolution of Kashmir dispute is in the interest of the world peace.

Sardar Imtiaz Geralvi, Secretary General, Kashmir Mission, USA, expressed his dissatisfaction about the apathy and passivity of the world powers towards the longest issue that is pending on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council – Kashmir.

Saghir Khan, President, Kashmiri American Alliance highlighted the role of Kashmiri American community in educating the policy making personalities and agencies of the United States.

Sardar Sajid Sawar, young Kashmiri youth leader demanded the unconditional release of Khurram Parvez, an internationally known human rights activist who has received more than half a dozen international awards for documenting the human rights violations in Kashmir.

Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan said the cries of the innocent women and children coming from the streets of Kashmir cannot and should not go unheard in the corridors of power.

Farooq Mirza, President 4thpillar media watchdog said that press freedom in Kashmir being muzzled and silenced so that the world community does not know what is going on in there.

Muhammad Manzoor of Dunya News described the role that ethnic media has played and can play in highlighting the aspirations and expectations of the people of Indian occupied Kashmir.

Zahid Shahbaz of Pak Watan Tv said that the bystanders at Times Square feel amazed while seeing the human rights violations depicted on the placards and banners.

Sister Amna Habib highlighted the role of women in the Kashmiri freedom struggle in Kashmir. She particularly mentioned Aasia Andrabi’s sacrifices who has been languishing in the jail now for years.

Others who spoke included. Dr. Shafique, Shahid Comrade of Human Rights Freedom Moment, Rizwan Hameed, Thaseen Hussain, Owais Munsif, Faisal Qureshi, Raja Hameed, Vilesh Pratap

Dr. Fai is the Chairman, World Forum for Peace & Justice.
He can be reached at:
WhatsApp: 1-202-607-6435 Or gnfai2003@yahoo.com