Indian forces targeting Kashmiri women as world fails to punish culprits, says Afridi

Afridi says that the mass rapes have been used by occupational forces as tool of genocide

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Chairman Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that Indian occupational forces are waging a “rape war” using rape as tool of genocide against the freedom loving Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and the failure of world community in punishing the culprits of Kupwara mass rapes may lead to eruption of a new war between two nuclear-armed neighbours.

He expressed these views while addressing the participants of a seminar titled on mass rapes by occupational forces of India in Kunan Poshpora, Kupwara, IOK on February 23, 1991. The event was held under the auspices of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (ISCR) in laision with Embassy of Azerbaijan.

Afridi said that until recently, there existed no punishment for ‘war rape’ in international law.

“War crimes or humanitarian law specifically focuses on the treatment of the civilian population and ‘any devastation not justified by military necessity’. Therefore, war rape has rarely been prosecuted as a war crime. Since 1949, Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits wartime rape and enforced prostitution,” he said.

He also said that the United Nations and the prosperous world needs to take steps to protect the weak and unprotected segments of society. He further said that repeated incidents of massacres and genocide reflect that the world has failed to protect the oppressed people living in conflict zones as might is right prevails.

Afridi said that the mass rapes of women in IOK and Khojaly, Nagorno-Karabakh have been used by occupational forces as tool of genocide.

Kunan Poshpora in Kupwara is the most scenic area of occupied Kashmir but the mass rapes of 1991 have left scars in the minds of the people of Kashmir.

He said that the international community has done nothing to punish the culprits of Kupwara, the genocide in Khojaly may not have happened.

He said that expansionist designs of India are a threat to world peace and if the world fails to bring resolution to conflict zones like Jammu and Kashmir, no one can rule out the possibility of a new war erupting between Pakistan and India.

“Any new war may suck in other nuclear powers of the region. Hence, this conflict may not remain limited,” warned the Kashmir Committee chairman.

He said that India is being ruled by a fascist regime of Narendra Modi who believes in Hindu supremacist ideology and all minorities in India are under a threat of genocide.

He said that unfortunately, rape is also used a tool of punishment in conflict zones and history suggests that this one element of violence is used as an effective weapon and strategy for disarming psychological war.

“This weapon of rape was used by many combatants and this global issue has no national boundaries of ideology or religion”.

He said that it is more of associated with masculine identity commonly but in war times there is often violation of men and children too through different means of torture and distress.

“Therefore, it often does not remain gender bound but women being soft target are more of victim of rape in war precincts. There are many examples of such mass rapes during conflicts and war times during Rawanda genocide, Bosnia & Kosovo conflicts, Khojaly massacre by Armenian forces in Azerbaijan and not to forget Kashmir where such incidents occur frequently to suppress freedom movement,” he added.

Afridi said that in Kashmiri history, mass rape incident ensued in area of Kunan Poshpora in February 1991 and social stigma generated out of this incident is that women still face difficulties in getting married.

He said that the South Asian subcontinent is the least gender sensitive region in the world. It is the only region in the world where men outnumber women.

Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizade highlighted the genocide perpetrated by the Armenian army in Nagorno-Karabakh area of Khojaly and said that the occupational forces committed massive killings to suppress the voices against freedom of Nagorno-Karabakh.

He said that despite United Nations Security Council resolutions, the world community failed to help the oppressed people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

He also urged the United Nations to hold plebiscite in occupied Kashmir as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions.

Defence analyst Lt General (r) Amjad Shoaib and Assistant Professor Dr Salma Malik also addressed the seminar.

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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