Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan lamented the apathy and expediency with which the international community approaches the Kashmir dispute.
President Khan said this in a seminar titled ‘Peace and Human Rights’ organised by Foundation Dialogue for Peace in the Norwegian Parliament. He visited Norway from 24 October to 26 October to participate in the seminar.
Hindu spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the ‘Art of Living’ also attended. The seminar was moderated by Norwegian MP Sylvia Graham, Member of the Standing Committee on Foreign and Defence Affairs of the parliament.
It was a well-attended event and people from a wide cross-section of Norwegian society, including parliamentarians, human rights activists, and journalists as well as diplomats from various countries attended.
In his keynote address, president Khan briefed the audience on the genesis of the ongoing struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination, and focused on the atrocities and gross human rights violations being committed by Indian security forces. He highlighted the use of pellet guns by the Indian occupying forces on children, as a result of which, more than 100 had lost their eyesight. People were not only losing their eyesight but also their lives, he told. He urged the international community not to confuse the heroic struggle of the Kashmiris with terrorism.
He also emphasised on the urgent need for a sustained and structured dialogue to resolve the issue of Kashmir which has all the potential to escalate. He also reminded the participants that the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution were being violated with impunity by the Indian forces in the region.
In the end, he called upon the international community to take sides when it comes to human rights violations of innocent unarmed people, removing the thick wall of realpolitik and understanding the fact that Kashmir issue was unique and not comparable to other such disputes around the world.
Moreover, president Masood Khan had a detailed meeting with the president and vice-president (Speaker and Deputy Speaker) of the Norwegian parliament. He also met with the Norwegian Nobel Peace Centre director and with officials of Oslo city government, including its mayor.
Meanwhile in Ottawa, in accordance with the decision of the government of Pakistan, ‘Black Day’ was observed at the Pakistan High Commission, Ottawa, in support of the struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
While speaking on the occasion, high commissioner Tariq Azim Khan underlined the importance of resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that Pakistan has always supported the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and will continue to do so.
He informed the audience that the situation in India-occupied Kashmir (IOK) has deteriorated not only from a human rights perspective but also with regards to freedom of information and restrictions placed on the local media. IOK has been closed for media, international observers, doctors and paramedic staff, he added.
“Today’s gathering is to raise awareness of the plight of the Kashmiris in IOK. As a result of excessive and indiscriminate force, over 100 civilians have been killed and thousands have been injured. Many of the injured have lost their eyesight due to the use of pellet guns,” added the ambassador.
He said there were reports of Indian forces harassing hospital staff, doctors and paramedics and dissuading them from treating the injured.
He called for a fair and transparent inquiry against the individuals responsible for the deaths. He also urged the international community, particularly the champions of human rights, to fulfil their
commitments towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the UNSC resolutions.
Abid Hussain Abid, an author based in Ottawa, recited his poem to pay tribute to the innocent martyrs of IOK. The event was largely attended by Pakistani Canadians.
Earlier, the messages of the president and the prime minister of Pakistan were also read at the event.