ISLAMABAD - Speakers of a moot have lamented the failure of international organizations and community to protect Kashmiris from continuous brutalities at the hands of heavily armed Indian security forces in Occupied Kashmir.

They were speaking at a one-day international conference titled “Kashmir: An Unfinished Agenda of Partition”, organized by Pakistan House here on Monday.

The conference aimed to explore new channels of communications between Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people so that a dialogue on peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute could be initiated.

The moot was attended by both local and foreign dignitaries including Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan, Gen (retd) Ehsan-ul Haq NI, former chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chairman Board of Governors Pakistan House Lt-Gen (retd) Khalid Rabbani, , MP and Chair All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Kashmir Chris Leslie, MEP, Vice President Kashmir Group in the European Parliament Julie Ward, MP Mohammed Afzal Khan, Shadow Minister for Immigration, British Parliament, Dr Nazir Gillani, President, Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission (JKHRC), Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Self-Determination Movement International, Yasmine Dar, Member of the Labour Party's National, Executive Committee and Manchester Cr, Ghulam Muhammad Safi, Convener of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chapter, Tony Lloyd, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, AntheaMclnytre, MEP, Chairperson Friends of Kashmir in the European Parliament, Sardar Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, MP, British Parliament, Mushaal Hussein Mullik, Chairperson Peace and Culture Organization, Naz Shah, MP, British Parliament and others.

Gen (retd) Haq said that the focus on the Kashmir dispute has acquired a sense of urgency in recent times on two counts: massive violations of the Kashmiri people are being perpetrated and the unfolding of geopolitical and geostrategic paradigm on both regional and global security calculus. He reiterated that “we should ask the question that would this create a rethink in Delhi and could stand as an opportunity for peace? The Kashmir dispute cannot be wished away and it will keep on recurring. Status quo is not a solution.”

He said that the Kashmiri struggle has shifted to the new generation. “After many years, Pakistan has regained centrality and Indian attempts have not been successful to pacify the issue,” he said stressing that it was a daunting humanitarian challenge.

“It warrants an urgent attention to resolve through a multi-track dialogue and solution-centric deliberations for the resumption of Indo-Pakistan dialogue. There are three parties to the conflict, India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir and it is essential to address varying levels of dispute. War is no more an option, we should restructure a detente and a structured mechanism is needed to be evolved for resolving the issue. The immediate priority should be to provide relief to the Kashmiri population. The Kashmir issue cannot be wished away and cannot be put on the back burner. Kashmir solution should be a win-win for all that would lead towards stability in the region.”

Mohammed Afzal Khan, MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration, British Parliament, said that the occupied Kashmir was also an area where human rights abuses have taken place, which are well documented by international organizations such as Amnesty International.

“The overbearing military presence has exerted its strength by violating the rights of women and children in particular, where the most vulnerable have no protection as the male members of the family lie in mass graves or have disappeared. The truth is, the stubbornness of the Indian government is resulting in the South Asia continent paying the price with growing instability. The development of CPEC is a good opportunity for the region to work together for the benefit of all, yet again India appears to be quite happy to play a negative role for the geopolitical benefit of outside players. The UN is not speaking out to say who is violating the LoC so that the world knows who is the aggressor? It would not be an unfair statement to say that UN does not have any leg or any teeth.”

While addressing the conference via video from London, Chris Leslie said that one of the biggest challenges was that the international media failed to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people that it deserves.

Leslie expressed great concern over the ongoing human rights violation in IoK and said that the situation in the held Kashmir was not only bad for Kashmiris but also for the wider region as both India and Pakistan were nuclear powers.

He called for initiating confidence building measures between Pakistan and India in order to find pathways to peace including demilitarization of Kashmir. He also stressed the need for fulfilling the historic responsibilities of Britain to help in resolving the Kashmir issue.  

Addressing the conference via video link, Julie Ward said that she was very much concerned about women rights in Kashmir as well as human rights violation in the IoK. She said that violation of women rights was rising in the IoK and they were being sexually assaulted by police and security forces.

“As a result in several cases, miscarriages of pregnant women occur during the assault,” she said.  She further said that widely reported incidents of braid chopping was appalling, a practice that denies women’s dignity.  She condemned the abuse against women and stressed for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Addressing the conference via video link, Tony Lloyd said that thousands of lives lost due to the unresolved issue of Kashmir since partition. He said that at least 10,000 people have disappeared, and people were a victim of rape and torture.

“The use of pellet guns is ruining the lives of many people. The major countries need to pay attention to resolve the Kashmir issue because it is the oldest conflict.” Comparing the current situation in Northern Ireland, he said, that peace can bring economic prosperity and jobs to the people and there was a need to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully so that the people of the region could enjoy the benefit of peace.

Addressing the conference via video, AntheaMclnytre validated Kashmiri’s right to self-determination and emphasized the need to continuously raise the issue of Kashmir in the European Parliament so that “we don’t have another 70 years of a terrible state that we are facing in IoK Kashmir.”

 “My heart bleeds when I see the terrible stories of children being blinded by pellet guns and the heart-wrenching incident of a little girl who was repeatedly raped and then murdered.  We cannot allow these things to go on without adding our voice. In the name of humanity, I hope that this conference will be able to find ways to promote peace in the region and towards a proper stabilization and means to have self-determination for all the people of Kashmir.”  

Addressing the conference through video link from London, Sardar Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi said that the people in the UK should support the dialogue and negotiation between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir conflict. “The Kashmir which was known to be such a beautiful, peaceful and paradise on earth that we try to ensure that human rights are safeguarded and that we work towards the prosperity,” he said.

The AJK president strongly condemned massive human rights violations being committed by brutal Indian forces, besides killings of innocent people, demolition of houses in the name of ‘cordon of and search operations’, women molestations and illegal detention of Kashmiri leadership.

He said Pakistan and the AJK government always effectively highlighted the issue on all international forums, extended all political, moral and diplomatic support to the IoK people in resolving the issue as per their wishes. He said that the indigenous movement of Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination would continue till getting rid of Indian subjugation adding that lasting peace in the South Asian region could not be achieved without resolving the issue.