International conference on ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’

International conference on ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’
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British MPs table joint resolution on Kashmir issue, Pak FM terms it ‘massive’

SRINAGAR: On the occasion of ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said India was “committing grave human rights violations” in Kashmir, stressing that the right to self-determination was a basic right of Kashmiri people.
Before attending an international conference on Kashmir in London, Qureshi in a video message on Tuesday, said, “Today is February 5, and the entire Pakistani nation is standing in solidarity with Kashmiris.”
“I would have been very happy if the Hurriyat leaders were free, if their passports had not been confiscated, if they had been given the opportunity to express themselves,” Qureshi said. “Today people would not be chanting slogans of freedom in the shadow of bayonets.”
“They will get their rights in the end,” the foreign minister asserted. “As the resolve, courage and determination [to struggle for freedom] has been passed onto the younger generation, it has become clear that this movement will reach its conclusive end.”
The foreign minister said that every child, every institution, every intellect in Pakistan is with the Kashmiris and lauds their sacrifices.
Later, addressing an international conference on Kashmir in London, the foreign minister appealed to the world conscience that “humanity was bleeding in Kashmir, the valley was burning and human rights were being trampled”, Express Tribune reported.
“Human blood is being spilled in Kashmir. The Kashmir valley is burning as the people are scared,” the foreign minister told the gathering. “Everyday reports of rape and killings come from Kashmir,” he added.
The minister called upon the Indian authorities to repeal the black laws, ban use of pellet guns against the unarmed protesters and initiate an inquiry into the “human rights violations” against the innocent Kashmiris.
He referred to a recent Human Rights Commission report of the United Nations, saying that it had “exposed grave violations of rights” by Indian forces in Kashmir. He urged the international community to break its silence on the “Indian atrocities”.
“India is using different tactics to change the demography of the held valley. India is continuously targeting general public across the Line of Control to divert the attention of the world community from its atrocities in Kashmir,” he added.
He said India had held the Kashmiri people hostage and “occupied” the area, which didn’t belong to it. “Why India is carrying out genocide against the entire Kashmiri generation? Why a country, claiming to be the world’s biggest democracy has imposed censorship?”
The foreign minister urged the international media to bring ground realities in Indian-administered Kashmir to the fore. He said that Pakistan would continue its support for Kashmiris in their just struggle for right to self-determination.
Addressing the conference, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that right to self-determination was the fundamental right of the people of Kashmir. He added that India was using sexual abuse as an instrument of “torture in Kashmir”. “Kashmiri people are not alone in their just struggle,” he said.
Qureshi also met former prime minister of Norway Shell Bondweek at the Pakistan High Commission. Detailed exchange of views took place between the two leaders on the situation in Kashmir and the international Kashmir conference.
Pak FM maintained that they had come to London to raise voice for the innocent Kashmiris and to express solidarity with them. He called for an impartial commission of inquiry to be formed on the “human rights violation” in Kashmir and for immediate action.
“The Kashmir issue can only be resolved immediately and peacefully by implementing the UN resolutions. We want India to abolish the black laws enforced in Kashmir,” Qureshi said.
Stressing the need for talks, he asked the international community to take up the issue on a priority basis. “There is the need for all the parties to the issue to sit down and move towards a peaceful solution,” he added.
Meanwhile, addressing the media after the international conference, Qureshi thanked members of the British Parliament for tabling a joint resolution on the Kashmir issue — a development he termed as “massive”.
“Despite political polarisation in Pakistan, the country’s political parties have proved that we are all united on the issue of Kashmir,” the foreign minister said as he briefed the media.
“We gave a very solid message to the media and to the House of Commons. Both the Conservative and Labour Party’s representatives, as well as liberal democrats were there. The session went on for two hours in pin-drop silence and in front of a capacity audience. Everyone heard [each other’s] views and participated [in the debate] but above all, at the end — and even I was not expecting this — Lord Qurban, representing the British Parliament, tabled a resolution and it was read out,” he said.
“That resolution was [endorsed by] the members of the House of Commons as well as the representatives of the Pakistani parliament. A joint resolution, in the form of a mission statement, has come out of that. This is such a massive development, and a victory for Pakistan. This is a victory for those innocent Kashmiris whose cries were heard and felt in the House of Commons today. This issue has reached the centre stage by the grace of God.”
“You also must have seen that some Indian people first tried to get this conference stopped, pressurised the members and the government, and after that some 15 to 20 people protested as well,” he said. “I told them that ‘go on’ as protesting is their right. You can chant your slogans against us but stop the bullets and the use of pellet guns there.”