By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi
Kashmir’s right of self-determination: ‘Launch global awareness movement’ – Seminar by Youth Forum for Kashmir in Islamabad.
“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.
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:
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.