Veteran Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Gilani has called for an investigation by the United Nations into India’s ‘serious war crimes’ in occupied Kashmir where, he said, the people are engaged in a struggle for the exercise of their UN-pledged right to self-determination.
In a message to a meeting of Pakistani American Society of New York (PASNY), Gilani, who is the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC), said that the Kashmiris’ struggle is an indigenous popular movement, and rejected the Indian claims that it is Pakistan sponsored.
The message was read out at the meeting, attended by Pakistani and Kashmiri community members in Hauppauge, a suburb of New York, held to mark the 71st anniversary of India’s massive invasion and occupation of Kashmir, known as “Black Day.”
Gilani said human rights violations in Kashmir have been documented by all international human rights organizations, most recently by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who urged India to allow a UN team delegation to visit Kashmir to asses the situation. But, he said, New Delhi had refused and that “clearly shows that it has something to hide.”
“Maybe, India does not want the world powers to know about the tens of thousands indiscriminately slaughtered and countless rapes, abductions, custodial disappearances, arbitrary detentions, arsons, and brutal suppression of peaceful political protest,” the Srinagar-based Kashmiri leader added.
Speaking as a guest speaker, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, reminded the audience of the injustice, tyranny and inhumanity of the Indian military. In the face of such brutalities, he said, the Kashmiri people are taking their struggle to a new direction of non-violence and peaceful agitation “with poise, confidence and unity”.
Col (rtd) Maqbool Malik, PASNY’s Secretary General, said that India had invaded Kashmir under the pretext of a “fraudulent” Instrument of Accession, a document that British Scholar Alistair had proven that it was bogus.
Ashraf Aazmi, PASNY’s President, said that the world powers should exert their considerable influence and mediate a peaceful conclusion of the Kashmir conflict with India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiri leadership. Bilateral talks and negotiations over Kashmir between Pakistan and India have proven sterile for 71 years, he said.
Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalvi said that October 27 is as a day of grief and sorrow, because it was on that day in 1947 that India sent its army to occupy Kashmir without the consent of the people and in defiance of international norms. He said that Indian forces were using brute and excessive force against unarmed civilians.
Sardar Taj Khan emphasized that Kashmiris will resist India’s colonial occupation for as long as necessary to exercise their right to self-determination as prescribed by international law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions that were agreed upon by both India and Pakistan and accepted by the International Community.
Ms Amna Taj Khan urged the Indian and Pakistani leadership to include the accredited representatives of Jammu & Kashmir in all future negotiations. Any Kashmir solution that fails to command the consensus of the 22 million people of Kashmir, she said, was doomed to failure.
Shahid Comrade of Pak-USA Freedom Forum said that Kashmir continues to be a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia, and he called for the resolution of the dispute according to the wishes of the people of the disputed state.
Others who spoke included: Mr. Naeem Iqbal Cheema, Pakistan Consul General, Dr. Amarjit Singh, President of the Khalistan Affairs Center, Dr Syed T. Ahmad, Muhammad Ashraf, Dr Prof Tamkeen.