Diaspora community playing a critical role in creating awareness on Kashmir: Masood Khan
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that the role of the Pakistani-Kashmiri diaspora community has been central in raising critical awareness about the Kashmir issue, massive human rights violations taking place in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and advocating the compelling need for the realization of the right to self-determination of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The President made these remarks while interacting with a delegation led by Ms. Ghazala Habib, Chairperson Friends of Kashmir International (FOK-I) – a non-profit organization working to raise awareness on the Kashmir issue and the grave human rights violations taking place in IOK.
Ms. Ghazala Habib informed the President of efforts undertaken by their organization and the diaspora community in general in regard to raising awareness on the issue of Kashmir and the human rights violations taking place in IOK at the hands of Indian occupation forces. She said that FOK-I and other similar organizations are working to advance the Kashmir issue all over the globe. She said that despite all the efforts, the diaspora community will continue to look towards the leadership of Azad Jammu and Kashmir – the base-camp of the Kashmir freedom struggle.
She said that a major international conference will be organized in the last quarter of this year by FOK-I in the USA and she also took this opportunity to invite the President to address the conference.
She informed that we are reaching out to the US-civil society, members of the Congress and human rights activists, to help raise the Kashmir issue’s profile and garner support for the Kashmiris legitimate struggle for attaining their right to self-determination.
President AJK said that FOK-I under the dynamic leadership of Ms. Ghazala has made laudable efforts for demanding an end to repression in IOK, a ban on the use of lethal 12-gauge pellet-firing shotguns and the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Acts, which are being used as instruments to brutalize the people of IOK.
The President lauded Ms. Ghazal for demanding an end to the oppression targeting women in IOK and the use of sexual violence and rape as an instrument of war against the womenfolk in IOK.
Ms. Ghazala on the occasion informed that the US civil society and opinion-makers are becoming more aware of the human rights situation in IOK, the phenomenon of half-widows and also of the unmarked mass graves of forcibly disappeared young men. She said that we demand an international investigation into these crimes against humanity.
The President said that the denial of the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir is the root cause of instability and insecurity in South Asia. He said that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report published on July 8, on the third death anniversary of Shaheed Burhan Wani is a great success for human rights activists and defenders all over the globe. The President said that despite India’s efforts to kill, stop and shelve the report by the UN, the UN High Commissioner did not cave in to Indian pressure and published this damning indictment against India. He said that silence by the UN High Commissioner on human right issues of Kashmir would have been tantamount to legitimizing Indian state terrorism in IOK.
President Masood Khan lauded the role of the diaspora community especially in the United States and also called on the network of human rights organizations in the US to disseminate this report and support its recommendations to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate India’s human rights crimes in IOK, repeal the two black laws and to ban the use of pellet-firing shotguns.
“The UN reports issued last year and this year, have built up momentum about the situation in IOK. There is a not a moment to lose”, he said.