NEW YORK - Million-Man-March of Kashmiri-Americans was held in New York on Sunday to press for a just and durable resolution of the longstanding Kashmir dispute.

The march was initiated from the Indian high commission office and concluded at the United Nations building.

Thousands of people attended the march which was led by former Azad Kashmir prime minister Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry.

Chaudhry, who has been visiting various cities across the United States to mobilise people, said that he had found "tremendous response" among the Kashmiris and supporters of the Kashmir cause.

He said the march was taking place at a time when the world community was seriously concerned about the grave situation in Kashmir which can lead South Asia to a major crisis.

The world powers, including the United States, he said, were trying to persuade both India and Pakistan to resume the peaceful negotiation to settle all disputes.

Mohammad Yasin Malik, Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front had also expressed full support to the ‘Million-Man-March'. He thanked the people in the audience for their solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their willingness to help achieving their right to self-determination.

Malik while talking to different crowds via Skype prior to the march talked about the latest human rights violations taking place in Kashmir. He said PDP-BJP coalition government in Srinagar had handed over Jammu & Kashmir to chauvinists like RSS. He added that this coalition was directly responsible for the murder of innocent Kashmiri driver Zahid Rasool Butt who was attacked on Oct 9th by these gangsters.

Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of the World Kashmir Awareness and chairman of the event, said that Kashmir was not a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad, but an internationally recognised dispute; therefore, dialogue process should include all three parties – India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people.

He added that in order to grant the Kashmiris what they demand, India must be persuaded to initiate a meaningful dialogue without any preconditions.

Dr Fai emphasised that Kashmir was the flash point as two nuclear-armed countries - India and Pakistan - were in a state of confrontation over the issue.

Sardar Sawar Khan, former advisor to the prime minister of Azad Kashmir, said that it was "our duty to support Kashmiris who are struggling for their right of self-determination. Our objective of ‘Million-Man-March’ is to draw attention of the world powers to the situation in Kashmir and to exert pressure on the government of India and to resolve dispute over Kashmir and help stop human right violations in Indian occupied Kashmir."

Dr Taqdees Gilani, a renowned scholar from Azad Kashmir, said that the resolution of Kashmir issue could have enabled both Pakistan and India to spend their finite resources on development of their people rather than on defence expenditure. She expressed her admiration to the Pakistani and Kashmiri American community for being the ambassadors of peace in the United States for the cause of Kashmir. She said that it is indubitable that the Indian army has committed thousands of human rights violations in Kashmir.

Dr Asif Rehman, a prominent Pakistani American physician, explained the role of Pakistani American physicians in mobilising the community to volunteer free healthcare clinics for all, irrespective of their religious affiliations. Dr Rehman said that the United Nations has a moral responsibility to persuade both India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir conflict through meaningful dialogue.

Ishtiyaq Hameed, representative of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC), said that the way the Kashmiri youth is confronting Indian forces and turning the entire Kashmiri movement into a peaceful resistance not only impresses the people of Jammu and Kashmiri but also international community. He added that today the mantle of freedom struggle of Kashmir has successfully been passed on to the younger generation.