Kashmir Solidarity Day Seminar

Nothing can deter Pakistan from constantly and steadfastly defending Kashmiris' legitimate cause for self-determination: Nafees Zakaria

Human Rights violation is an international matter not India's internal, international community must intervene to address it: Speakers

London:  The High Commission for Pakistan, London, organized a Seminar on 5 February 2020 to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed by the Government and people of Pakistan across the globe. In a show of solidarity, Members of the British Parliament, Eminent Scholars, and Academics, Legal Experts, Members of the Civil Society and British friends of Kashmir participated in the Seminar.

The Seminar Speakers included President AJ&K, Sardar Masood Khan, Members of British Parliament Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Lord Qurban Hussain, Debbie Abrahams MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Afzal Khan MP, Naz Shah MP, Muhammad Yasin MP, former UN's Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC, former MEPs John Howarth and Phil Bennion, Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor Nazir Shawl and Cllr & NEC Member Yasmin Dar.

Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria said that the deliberations aimed at covering various aspects of the Kashmir dispute such as its genesis, documented accounts of crimes against humanity committed since 1947, perils of the dispute for the regional peace and stability, role of international community and the UN, legal dimensions of the issue, and its adverse impact on the socio-economic development of the entire region.

Mr Zakaria said the Seminar and all such activities are an expression of our unequivocal support and reassurance to the Kashmiri people that entire Pakistan stands with them resolutely, come what may, and would not be deterred until the Kashmiris get their right to self-determination as promised by the UN in its Security Council's resolutions.

Giving an overview of the situation, the High Commissioner said 08 million Kashmiris have been caged by India under the nose of the defenders of human rights and the relevant institutions that exist to defend the human rights. He mentioned that the Prime Minister Imran Khan at the 74 th UNGA questioned and condemned the siege of Kashmiris. He also cautioned the world about the perils that the Kashmir dispute poses to the regional and global peace and stability. He added that there is misunderstanding about the Kashmir issue due to which some countries urge its bilaterally negotiated settlement - a call which India invariably keeps evading. Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute and is on the UNSC agenda with outstanding resolutions.

The High Commissioner said: “Ongoing siege in IOK since 5 August 2019 has created a deep humanitarian crisis, and reportedly, it is taking toll on the lives of Kashmiri infants, children and terminally ill people. Given the Indian track record of brutalities against Kashmiris, what will surface when the siege is eventually lifted, is not unimaginable. The world will learn about more mass graves, massacres, violation of women's dignity and chastity, tales of torture, illegal possession of Kashmiris' properties and change in demography. Similar human rights abuses in IOK have been earlier documented by an NGO International People's Tribunal and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Amnesty International, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Human Rights Watch, etc. in their respective reports.

Sardar Masood Khan, President AJ&K said Modi government took illegal, outrageous and egregious steps since 05 August 2019 aiming at colonising IOK and effecting demographic change in the region in violation of UNSC Resolutions and relevant international conventions. Indian assertion that it changed the status of Kashmir for prosperity and development of the region has been termed outright lies by the international media and civil society organizations. Although debate on Kashmir in the UK Parliament helped internationalize the issue of Kashmir, the President maintained that much more was needed to be done by the international community. He said fascist government under Modi is committing crimes against humanity and the international community needs to make a moral choice. Sardar Masood Khan cautioned that it would not be a safer choice for the world to underwrite human rights violations for the sake of commercial interests. He also cautioned about impending genocide of the Kashmiris and mentioned Genocide Alert issued by Genocide Watch for Indian occupied Kashmir.

Raising serious concerns over the gross human rights violations by Indian forces, the Speakers called for immediate end to siege and communication blackout in Kashmir. There was unanimity of views that political position taken by the UK and several other countries that human rights issues in Kashmir were not India's internal matter and that to term Kashmir dispute a bilateral issue was not tenable. To call it a bilateral issue is a simplistic view of a grave situation where massive human rights abuses are taking place, they added. The human rights situation in Kashmir calls for immediate and meaningful intervention by the international community, they said.

The concerns were also expressed over emergence of the phenomenon of fascist ideology under Modi Government which poses serious threat to the existence of Kashmiri population when Genocide Watch has already issued Genocide Alert for Kashmir. The speakers said the rise of Hindutva under BJP government was tearing Kashmir apart and situation was worsening with every passing day. It was said that the Indian government was subjecting the Kashmiri people to collective punishment by imposing un-ending curfew and communication blockade. The speakers demanded immediate end to draconian laws and impunity enjoyed by the Indian troops in IOK.

The British MPs urged their government to make a strong statement in support of the rights of the Kashmiri people. They also called upon it to help appoint a UN Special Envoy to work with India and Pakistan for a durable resolution of the dispute. The Parliamentarians said bilateralism is not working and an honest broker is needed to end the humanitarian crisis in IOK. In this regard, they suggested UK should use its political influence and diplomatic skills for peaceful resolution of the dispute. The MPs also hoped that Indian High Commissioner would facilitate their visit to Srinagar. They appreciated facilitation by the High Commissioner for their visit to Pakistan. The MPs said they standby Kashmiris in protecting their rights.

The MPs were of the opinion that the UN failure in case of Kashmir is a failure of entire civilized world and the credibility of the organization is at stake. Therefore, they urged the UN to fulfil its obligation towards the Kashmiri people.

Talking about the legal dimensions of the dispute, the legal experts opined that right to self-determination takes precedence over local laws. They were concerned that gross human rights violations were going unrecognized by the world that was taking localized view of the issue which is not helpful at all. They equated the situation in Kashmir to the slow burn genocide.

The speakers said human rights are indivisible from trade. Therefore, it was suggested that the international community should end its equivocal response on Kashmir and revisit trade relations with India in view of serious human rights violations in IOK. A number of speakers said international community should not shy away from economic measures against India.

Taking critical view of the media coverage of Kashmir, especially since 05 August 2019, a number of speakers called upon mainstream media for proper coverage of the issue. They questioned restrictions on media access in Kashmir under siege.

The speakers and audience appreciated Pakistan for its continuous efforts to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis and rights abuses in IOK.

A Declaration was agreed upon as an outcome document by the Speakers. Downloas Outcome Document

February 05, 2019

Last updated: February 06, 2019

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday
1000 to 1730 hrs.