Kashmir’s right of self-determination: ‘Launch global awareness movement’ – Seminar by Youth Forum for Kashmir in Islamabad.
ISLAMABAD: While expressing solidarity with the people of Indian Kashmir, former foreign affairs secretary general Akram Zaki asked the Pakistani youth to launch a worldwide movement to support Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
“Contacting youth throughout the world through different means of communication including social media to mobilise support for the people of Kashmir could be a useful exercise,” Zaki said while addressing a daylong seminar arranged by the Youth Forum for Kashmir (YFK) in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The former Pakistani diplomat was of the view that each youth should join YFK to express their solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
Other speakers including Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ( PTI ), Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party, Dr Abdus Samad Pirzada, Anwarul Haq Kakar, former federal minister J Salik, Qudsia Mashhadi, Brig(retd) Simon Samson Sharaf, Mariah Atiq of National Defense University and YFK Executive Director Ahmed Qurashi also spoke.
Qureshi was of the view that the seminar should be taken as the first step by the youth of Pakistan and Kashmir to initiate lobbying for the people of Indian Kashmir. He said Pakistan cannot ignore Kashmir because it is a geographical extension of Pakistan. “Kashmir cannot be put on the backburner because Pakistan’s national security is directly linked to Kashmir.”
Ibrahim was critical of suggestions to separate the Kashmir issue from trade with India. “If trade guarantees prosperity…why do Calcutta and Dhaka continue to be the poorest cities in the world despite the open trade regime between India and Bangladesh?” he asked.
Mazari said Kashmir defines the relationship between Pakistan and India. She said the ‘culture of resistance’ was missing in the Kashmir struggle in terms of arts and culture. She said only indigenous freedom movements can survive and can be successful, and that Kashmir freedom struggle survived for six decades despite ups and downs. “It is important to realise that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and that it is a dispute between Pakistan and India awaiting resolution.”
J Salik said Pakistani Christians are ready to play their role in promoting the Kashmir cause worldwide. He said Christians played a crucial role in passing the Pakistan Resolution in the pre-Independence Punjab Assembly and that they were ready to play a role in Pakistan’s most important cause.
Pakistan’s pro-Kashmir group organizes seminar
Islamabad: Pakistan’s first pro-Kashmir lobbying group, Youth Forum for Kashmir [YFK], organized a National Seminar on Kashmir Solidarity Day titled, ‘To Kashmir: We Stand By You’.
Keynote speakers included Dr. Shireen Mazari, Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, J. Salik, Brig. Simon Samson Sharaf, M. Akram Zaki, Syeda Qudsiya Mashahdi, and Syeda Mariah Atiq.
Ahmed Quraishi, Executive Director of Youth Forum for Kashmir, said Pakistan cannot ignore Kashmir because Kashmir is Pakistan’s geographical extension. Kashmir cannot be put on the backburner because Pakistan’s national security is directly linked to Kashmir.
He said it was wrong to link Kashmir to trade with India. Bilateral trade between Islamabad and New Delhi was progressing normally and the impression that Kashmir is an impediment was wrong, he said. Quraishi said trade with India does not mean sidelining Kashmir. He said any pact with India on trade, like the most-favored nation status, can be derailed any time if situation worsens on the Line of Control in Kashmir.
Dr. Syed Abdul Samad Pirzada, Head of History Department at International Islamic University Islamabad, said the cases of East Timor and Kashmir were similar and the West practiced double standards by supporting the former and ignoring the latter. He said any decision by Pakistan government to grant Most-Favored Nation status to India would be a betrayal of the struggle of the Kashmiri people.
Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi, editor of Voice of East and a member of YFK, said all Pakistanis need to work on three levels to promote Kashmir internally and internationally at the level of the State, media and the youth. The Quaid-e-Azam, in a visionary statement, declared Kashmir a ‘jugular vein’ of Pakistan and no nation can survive for long with its jugular vein under the sword of the enemy. She said the hearts of Pakistanis beat along with the Kashmiris, and that the sooner the political parties and the media realize this fact the better it would be for the solidarity of the Pakistani nation.
Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, a PMLN politician, flew in from Quetta, Balochistan, to attend this national seminar. He said for Pakistan there is emptiness without Kashmir. He said Pakistan should not put Kashmir in the backburner because of trade with India. He questioned the idea whether trade with India is crucial for Pakistan’s economy. He was of the view that nurturing a knowledge-based economy in Pakistan would diminish the need for trade with India.
Dr. Shireen Mazari, Central Information Secretary of PTI, said Kashmir defines the relationship between Pakistan and India. She said a culture of resistance was missing in the Kashmir struggle in terms of arts and culture. She said only indigenous freedom movements can survive and can be successful, and that Kashmir freedom struggle survived for six decades despite up and downs. It is important to realize that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and that it is a dispute between Pakistan and India awaiting resolution.
Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, member of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Party, said if trade guaranteed prosperity, as the proponents of sidelining Kashmir argue, then why Calcutta and Dhaka continue to be poorest cities in the world despite open trade regime between India and Bangladesh?
He said Pakistan and India cannot overcome the trust deficit between them until they resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance to the will of Kashmiris.
J. Salik, former federal minister and rights activist, said Pakistani Christians are ready to play their role in promoting Kashmir cause worldwide. He said Pakistani Christians played a crucial role in passing Pakistan Resolution in pre-Independence Punjab Assembly. He said Pakistani Christians were again ready to play a role in Pakistan’s most important cause.
Senator Akram Zaki, former Secretary General of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former ambassador of Pakistan to China and the United States , said if the world needs evidence on what the Kashmiris want, all it should do is look at what Kashmiris do on 14 and 15 August each year. On the 14th, Pakistan Independence Day, Pakistan’s Green and Crescent flag can been seen all over Srinagar under the watch of India’s occupation army. And on the 15th, the Indian independence day, Kashmiris boycott all efforts by Indian army to celebrate the event. He revealed that Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir follow Pakistan Standard Time.
Other speakers in the national seminar included retired brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf, and Syeda Mariah Atiq from National Defense University.
A message of peace for the young of Kashmir, Pakistan, India and the world.
As a Pakistani, I wanted to wish my #Indian friends well on their country’s Republic Day today. But then I saw this picture sent to me from India. I have to stop and join this young Kashmiri boy who wrote this message in the sand on Mumbai beach [see picture].
This is a strong message that has reverberated across six decades of brutal Indian military invasion and occupation of Kashmir.
Pakistanis are a hospitable people. We are generous, certainly more than the Indian government [see this http://j.mp/1hZy9rX]. No Indian visitor to our country has ever been harassed, even during wars. We are not phobic about Indian content on Pakistani screens, or books printed in India sold here. [Compare this to visiting Pakistani artists and sportspeople routinely threatened by Indian extremists. Even pigeons and stray dogs crossing the border into India are stopped and searched by Indian border security. So much paranoia and hate inculcated by the Indian government and political elite against Pakistan.]
So, today, January 26, is India’s Republic Day. I wanted to wish my Indian friends well. But my conscience tells me to stand by Kashmiri people as they mark the day as a Black Day.
Today, the world’s largest democracy has imposed a total ban on Internet and cell phones in Kashmir. They want to stop young Kashmiris from giving any interview to any international news organization that would show the world how Kashmiris are unanimously boycotting the Indian Republic Day celebrations and that they reject the invasion, occupation and the forcible merger of Kashmir into India.
This young Kashmiri in Mumbai had the courage to speak his mind, not fearing brutal Indian reprisal. All peace-loving Indians should stand by him, especially the younger generation of India. Stand by peace. Stand by Kashmiris. Don’t let hate and oppression pass on to another generation. Let’s stop it here because we can.
Young Kashmiris can’t speak up today because India has banned internet and cell phones. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all young Pakistanis, Indians and all the young of the world to step up and be the voice of young Kashmiris today. They are not alone. Spread the word.
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi
India has always covertly conspired and sometimes overtly orchestrated pogroms in the Muslim majority regions of India, but not many people, not even in Pakistan, know that on 6th of November 1947, the Mahraja Hari Singh’s army, Sikh militants and Hindu terrorist organization RSS had killed nearly 500,000 Muslims in Jammu and forced more than one million to migrate to Pakistan. India has always cried wolf and accused Pakistan for intervention in Kashmir through tribal militants in 1947 in a bid to cover Indian aggression and interference in Jammu and Kashmir. But the anti-Muslim violence that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir on this horrific day was nothing short of an ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Jammu’s Muslims.
India takes an unflinching and aggressive stance regarding Kashmir in international community and never fails to project Pakistan as a rogue nation which exports terrorism in the region. Reality is far from this propaganda by India. One only has to look at historical facts of pre-partition of Indo-Pak subcontinent and what transpired after the partition to realize how Indian state has been actively propagating its rule through terrorism and ruthless culture of rape and massacre. Millions of Muslims in Hyderabad, Gujarat and Kashmir have been killed, tortured and raped to date and India’s treatment of minorities is increasingly becoming an alarming issue for the international community. In September and October 1948, soon after independence from the British Empire, around 40,000 people were brutally slaughtered in Hyderabad, Central India. Huge as this number is, it is nothing compared to the heinous massacre systematically carried out at the hands of extremist Hindus on 6th November 1947, during the great Jammu killings. It is one of the least known genocides in modern history.
One million Kashmiri Muslim refugees were uprooted and an estimated 2,500,00 – 300,000 were massacred in the Jammu region alone in August-October 1947. Due to Indian state’s connivance, it is difficult to find records of this genocide, except in the memories of the survivors, and the tales of horror they passed on to their next generations. Around 500,000 Muslims were killed with military precision. The targeted killing had already started in Jammu around mid-July 1947, and the operation got a boost immediately after a fleeing Maharaja Hari Singh reached Jammu on 26 October 1947. An organized carnage was orchestrated to kill Muslims, wherever found or spotted in Jammu.
The Dogra state troops were at the forefront of attacks on Muslims. The Indian state authorities were also reported to be issuing weapons not only to local volunteer organizations such as RSS, but to those in surrounding East Punjab districts such as Gurdaspur. British daily ‘The London Times’ quoting its special correspondent in India, stated that the Maharaja, under his own supervision, assassinated 2,37,000 Muslims using military forces in the Jammu area. The editor of ‘Statesman’, Ian Stephen, in his book ‘Horned Moon’ writes that till the end of Autumn 1947, more than 200,000 Muslims were murdered in one go. Horace Alexander wrote in the ‘Spectator’ (16 January 1948) that the killings had “the tacit consent of State authority” and put the figure at 2,00,000.
All this butchery was designed to change the demographics of Jammu valley. Both documentary and oral sources suggest that this bloodbath was nothing less than an organized holocaust of Muslims. The worst carnage took place on 6 November when Muslims in mohalla Talab Khatikan were asked to surrender, which they did. They were shifted to the police lines at Jogi Gate and encouraged to go to Pakistan. The first batch of several thousand was loaded in about sixty lorries escorted by troops. When the convoy came close to Chattha on the Jammu-Sialkot road, waiting RSS men and Sikhs attacked it. People were pulled out of the vehicles and killed mercilessly. Women were abducted and raped. Some managed to escape to reach Sialkot.
This holocaust was not possible without the collaboration of the Indian state. Today, on 6th November, we remember those souls who suffered at the hands of Indian imperialism and Hindu extremists. We pay tribute to the brave sons and daughters of Jammu and Kashmir and promise them that their blood will not go to waste. We vow that we will not rest till the oppressed Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir breathe the air of freedom, inshaAllah. That’s a promise.
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi
27th October 2013 marks the 66th year of Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. Kashmiris all across the world observe Black Day every year on this day to jolt the world’s conscience and to remind the international community of their responsibility regarding the rights of Kashmiris. Kashmir was a Muslim majority state and had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan but the Hindu Raja gave into the pressure by the Indian government and on 27th October 1947 Indian troops landed in Srinagar and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir in total disregard of the partition plan of the Sub-continent and Kashmiris’ aspirations. Since that catastrophic day, Kashmir, the heaven on earth, has turned into a living hell for the sons and daughters of this great land who live in a perpetual state of terror, torture and subjugation.
At that time, Quaid-e-Azam took a firm stand regarding Kashmir issue and stated in clear terms that no compromise could be reached regarding the lives of Kashmiris and they should have the right to self-determination. On 5th January 1949, the UN Security Council through its successive resolutions nullified Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. It also approve:
- · a ceasefire,
- · demarcation of the ceasefire line,
- · de-militarization of the state
- · and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the World Body.
Although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line was implemented, the de-militarization of the occupied territory and a free and impartial plebiscite under UN supervision remain unimplemented to date.
The hearts of Pakistanis beat with the Kashmiris as they have always considered Kashmir spiritually and physically a part of them. In the past, Pakistan had always put Kashmir on the top priority in any kind of negotiations with India but India always sidestepped this issue, never accepting any responsibility and unfortunately this dispute has not reached any meaningful conclusion. It saddens me to say that even the government, political parties and media of Pakistan have put Kashmir issue on the back burner for the last 12 years, which is reprehensible and unfortunate. Now it is high time that Pakistani nation raises its voice for their Kashmiri brethren. The recent escalation in LoC violations by the Indian Army is also an unpleasant reminder of the affliction of our Kashmiri Muslims. If we Pakistanis will not raise our voice for them, then who will? After all, it our moral obligation as well as a matter of survival for Pakistan’s own existence as Quaid-e-Azam had called Kashmir Pakistan’s jugular vein. How is it that the enemy is strangling our jugular and we remain silent spectators and willing victims?
In this dismal picture, the arrival on the scene of the first lobbying group for Kashmir in Pakistan is truly a ray of hope for Kashmiris all over the World. Since its launch two months ago, Youth Forum for Kashmir is actively promoting Kashmir cause in Pakistani Media and Social Media and marks all national holidays by holding events that display support for Kashmiris. On this 27th October as well, young Pakistanis and Kashmiris come together in Islamabad to mark as Black Day the 66th anniversary of India’s criminal invasion and inhuman occupation of Kashmir. Pakistani celebrities and YFK members will hold a walk and session of Q&A for Kashmir in the heart of Jinnah Avenue, Blue Area, Islamabad. This will be a message of hope from Pakistanis to the brave Kashmiri youth in Indian-occupied Kashmir who face the ruthless Indian occupation army every day. It is time that Pakistani leadership also ends its passiveness and stands shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani youth who are giving moral support and encouragement to Kashmiris.
It is high time also that Pakistani media plays its part in raising its voice for Kashmir dispute and demonstrating that they stand for Truth, Integrity and Justice and no amount of external or internal pressure can make them hide the plight of Kashmiris from the world. May the long night of oppression and torment in Kashmir, end soon.
Let’s mark 27th October as Black Day for Kashmir. Remember, the World is watching.
Pakistan had perfectly normal ties with India for nearly 20 years after our Independence. We contested the Kashmir dispute with civility at the UN but retained normal trade and cultural ties with India.
This was until India started to expand the conflict beyond and outside the UN.
India went to Afghanistan and started promoting independent Pashtunistan and Balochistan and started recruiting Pakistanis to work against their country.
India’s Hindi-speaking ruling minority, the most extremist segment of Indian population, had been obsessed with punishing Pakistan since 1950. India developed the idea of promoting independent Pashtunistan and Balochistan as a way to prove that Pakistan should not exist.
It is this hate for Pakistan that prompted India and its Hindi-speaking rulers to expand the conflict over Kashmir. Resolving Kashmir is key to helping India understand it needs to accept Pakistan, and accept Kashmiris’ right to decide their fate in a free, UN-sponsored plebiscite.
Some Indians, not all but some, have deep-seated hatred against you if you are a Pakistani. Tonight, at this hour, there are hundreds of Indian families sleeping in the open, in the fields, just 80 miles from New Delhi. Their crime? They are Indian Muslims, who share the same religion as most Pakistanis. So, having the same religion as most Pakistanis is a crime in the eyes of some hateful Indians. The place is called Muzaffarnagar. If they can do this to their own citizens, imagine what they will do to you when they get a chance.
In 2007, some Indians burned nearly 50 Pakistanis alive aboard a ‘Friendship Train’ inside Indian territory. Those Pakistanis traveled to India believing Indian statements on peace. They were blown up and New Delhi accused ISI of killing them to derail peace. But thanks to few upright Indian police officers who uncovered the role of Indian intelligence officers and Hindu extremists in that terror act. Just yesterday, Indian extremists stopped a Pakistani tourism bus from returning home. The passengers were scared to death of being burned alive, just like that friendship train five years ago.
You would think the Indian government would issue a statement after such an incident apologizing to ordinary Pakistanis and promising them safety and inviting them to visit again. No such thing. That’s the level of hatred in the Hindi-speaking north India against everything Pakistani. It’s a petty and small mindset they have.
India is keeping Pakistan under pressure through terrorism in Kashmir, through terror camps in Afghanistan that supply weapons and training to TTP and LeJ and BLA. India is involved in terror acts in Karachi and Lahore. At this time, the most irrational thing we can do is to give India more breathing space and more space to carry out terrorism against us. We must make India understand that hurting Pakistan has a price. When your house is under attack by a neighbor, you don’t go play cricket with that neighbor and pretend everything is right, or say, ‘We have other issues, let’s forget for now that you’re attacking and killing us. Let’s raise that issue later and play friends for now!’
This is the time for Pakistan to put Kashmir up and front. We have tried to put Kashmir on the side for nine years and got nothing from hateful Indians except delay tactics and double dealings.
One hundred and thirty million Kashmiris would support this Pakistani position. We at Youth Forum For Kashmir [#YFK] feel and see this Kashmiri desire every day in the emails, tweets, and telephone calls we receive daily from Kashmiris inside Indian-occupied Kashmir, in Pakistan, and worldwide.
Kashmir is the reason that Manmohan Singh was desperate while meeting Obama at the UN in New York. What counts is the Kashmiri spirit that continues to fight. We need to support it.
Pakistan’s parliament should pass a unanimous resolution voluntarily annulling the Simla agreement of 1972 with India over Kashmir. That agreement is used by India as an excuse to delay peace in the region. We should pull that rug from under Indian feet. No more delay tactics. Our reference points are the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir. Instead of prolonging enmity with Pakistan, India should think peace and accept to give Kashmiris the right to choose their destiny under UN-sponsored plebiscite.
Without Kashmir front and center, many meetings between Pakistani and Indian premiers would come and go, with all the hype, and with no results.