KARACHI    -   British political leaders and rights activists on Saturday condemned the Indian tyranny in occupied Kashmir and expressed their strong support to the Kashmir freedom struggle.

Speaking at a seminar titled “Human Rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir”, British politicians, human rights activists, international law experts and scholars expressed concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Indian occupied Kashmir.

President Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest at the seminar hosted by the Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSD). Dr Alvi said that Indian actions since August 5, deployment of additional forces in the disputed region and more than 100 days long lockdown have created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the modern times. The risk of escalation could lead to a much greater humanitarian crisis than ever before, he said.

The president said that recent actions of the Indian government are aimed at changing the demographic composition of occupied Kashmir. He highlighted that actions of the Indian government are not only against Kashmiris but also against other minorities in India. He said that Pakistan is committed to the Kashmir cause morally, ethically and diplomatically. He lamented that the UN has become an institution of the vested interests and wasted opportunities where humanity and human rights violation are ignored and interests of big powers are protected. “Considering inability of the UN, we should convince the world through effective media projection of Kashmiri’s plight and for that it is essential for the international media to get access to the real picture of the occupied Kashmir, he said.

Famous British politician George Galloway said that Kashmir is under illegal occupation of Indian forces and its tyranny against the Muslims of Kashmir is due to its own fear of Kashmiri freedom struggle and vigour for independence from the Indian occupation. He said that people of Kashmir have the right to resist the occupation in not only a peaceful manner but also through the use arms if they consider it necessary. He said that Kashmir is not a bilateral issue, but a multilateral issue, as it involves Kashmiri people as well as Pakistan and India. He insisted that world has the duty to play its role for the resolution of Kashmir conflict as it involves two nuclear powers, who are party to it. He warned that eruption of a war between India and Pakistan could lead to catastrophic consequences for the global peace.

British Lord Duncan McNair, member of the Executive Committee of the Council for Human Rights and Religious Freedom; seasoned British political leader George Galloway; David Ward; Amnesty International member Barrister Rashid Ahmed and Marcus C Thomlinson member and international peace activist Raja Sharaz Akhtar condemned Indian atrocities and human rights violations and strongly supported the Kashmiris’ struggle against the Indian occupation.

Federal Minister of State for SAFRON and Narcotics Shehryar Khan Afridi stressed the need for a comprehensive and unified response at national and international level for the protection of human rights in Kashmir. He said, “Pakistan has been unfairly presented by the international media for many years and our sacrifices and unparalleled support for humanitarian causes have been neglected. Pakistan opened its arms to those who became victims of Hindu extremism in 1947 and opened its borders to its Afghan brothers once their country was invaded,” he said.

Former ambassador and secretary of Foreign Affairs Najamuddin Shaikh was of the view that states are currently more focused on economic benefits and least bothered about their moral duties. He said there is a dichotomy in words and actions of the international community in relation to the Kashmir issue. He cited that Germany showed concern at human rights violations, but concluded various economic agreements for the sake of their economic benefits with India.

The Centre for Peace, Security and Development Studies (CPSD) chairman warned that the Kashmir crisis presents a grave danger to not only regional security but also global peace and prosperity and the international community must help deescalate this crisis, force India to reduce forces in the disputed region and hold plebiscite in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Syed Muhammad Ali, executive director of the CPSD, presented the report of the proceedings of the day. He said that Kashmiris have shown a great determination, Pakistan has shown strong support and today’s international seminar shows the world community is listening to Pakistan and Kashmiris and standing by them. “Kashmir represents the test of the changing world order that how the status quo and anti status quo powers are going to fulfil their moral responsibilities or continue to pursue short term material interests that have led to the deadliest century in human history.

We must collectively build a world that is safer and securer for our future generations, including Kashmiris, and learn from the mistakes of our past generations,” he said.

The participants were various prominent dignitaries from the diplomatic community, human rights activists, government officials, intellectuals, researchers, youth and students.

Ahsan Mukhtar Zubairi, secretary general of the Foreign Relations Section of the CPSD, said in his welcome address that Kashmir is an important issue that affects peace, prosperity and progress of over 1.5 billion people of this critical region.