Statement of the Sardar Masood Khan, President of AJK, on the Conference of Kashmir being held on September 24, 2019
Statement of the Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, on the Conference of Kashmir being held on September 24, 2019 at the National Assembly of the French Parliament.
I begin by thanking Mr. Jean-Bernard Sempastous, Member of the French National Assembly and President France-Pakistan Friendship Group, for inviting me to speak at this event.
I am in the land of the French Revolution which ushered in an era of liberty, freedom and democracy, not just for France but for the entire world. You are the harbingers of universally recognized fundamental freedoms and human rights. You also established norms that clearly spelled out that the people of the land would determine their own political destiny. You freed Europe from autocracy in the 18th and the 20th centuries. You freed peasants and citizens from the shackles of tyranny. The world looks at France and the Eiffel Tower as symbols of freedom and self-determination. Today, we hope that you would stand up for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
As I speak to you, today is the 51st day of the security lockdown, communication blockade and a blanket curfew in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The entire occupied territory is under siege and the people of Kashmir have been made captives in their own homes. Deserted streets are being patrolled by occupation soldiers carrying heavy, multiple weapons. People are being forced to starve and die because of the lack of food, water and medicines. Thousands of Kashmiris, including children as young as 12, 13 and 14, have been detained and the bulk of detainees have been transferred to the most notorious prison houses in northern India. Detainees are being tortured. Waterboarding, beatings with cables and iron rods, electric shocks and the feeding of feces are being used as techniques of torture. Many detainees have shouted: “Kill us to put and end to this torture”.
Indian forces think they have conquered Kashmir and they are treating Kashmiri girls as spoils of war. They have objectified women’s bodies against whom they use rape as a weapon of war.
Kashmiris are bracing for genocide and ethnic cleansing. There is a catastrophic human rights and humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.
Ever since its occupation of the territory in 1947, India has been brutalizing the people of Jammu and Kashmir. But last month on August 5, Indian occupation forces invaded the territory, bifurcated it, annexed it forcibly and announced that it would colonize it by transferring Hindu population from India and settle it in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The stated intent of the occupiers is to change the Muslim majority into a minority. Today the occupied territory is literally under colonial rule, foreign occupation and alien domination.
The Kashmiris, including the Sikh community, many Indian political parties, and Indian civil society organizations have rejected these aggressive and aggravating steps taken by India’s extremist government.
The international media has repudiated India’s false narrative and rightly highlighted the plight of the Kashmiris and demanded an end to the humanitarian crisis, restoration of telecommunication and internet services and supported Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
The Indian forces have also been attacking civilians across the Line of Control. This year has been the worst in regard to the civilian causalities and critical injuries to the people living in Azad Kashmir. India’s hostile fire threatens 80,000 families living along the Line of Control.
Now, India is threatening to attack and occupy Azad Kashmir. Indian extremist leaders are planning to mount aggression against Pakistan and for this purpose they are ready to use their entire armory of weapons, including nuclear weapons. Indian extremists have become an existential threat to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian statements and conduct are highly irresponsible. Even a limited war or exchange of nuclear weapons would lead to instant death of hundreds of millions of people. Around 2.5 billion people all over the world would be affected by radiation. A nuclear winter would set in leading to massive refugee outflows, global recession and volatile climatic changes.
Trampling of the rights of the Kashmiris and this madness in the region is being driven by India’s fascist doctrine of Hindutva which propagates purity of Hindu religion and targets Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minorities for forced conversions, excommunication, discrimination and hatred. Muslims in India and Kashmir are being treated as fifth columnists. The message is clear: there is no room for non-Hindus in India. This is a reincarnation of the Nazism and Fascism of the last century, this time in the garb of religious supremacy. Yet, while Indian extremists are pushing the region to the maelstrom of of a destructive war, major powers are busy appeasing India for the sake of their economic and strategic interests. Similar appeasement last century led to a devastating world war following which the international community constructed a new world order symbolized by the United Nations Charter. That system is at risk of disintegration if autocrats continue to be appeased.
The key question is realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu Kashmir that has already been mandated by the UN Security Council resolutions but which have not been implemented up to this day. India wants to silence the voices of the Kashmiris through the use of brute force. This approach has not succeeded in the past 72 years and it is not likely to succeed after the reoccupation and colonization of the territory.
Very few people in Europe know that Jammu and Kashmir is neither a small territory nor is its population insignificant. The total area is 85,000 square miles or 220,000 square kilometers and the population is 20 million. These 20 million people demand that the Security Council should ensure the lawful dispensation of their future in accordance with its own resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
We are grateful to the human rights organizations in France and to the French media for highlighting the sufferings of the Kashmiri people and the egregious violations of the human rights by Indian forces in the occupied territory. We are also grateful to France for participating in the Security Council’s informal session on Kashmir held on August 15. France, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a special responsibility to persuade the Security Council to intercede and intervene in the IOK to stem deteriorating human rights as well as the peace and security situation.
We call upon the French Parliament to hold an open debate on the human rights and humanitarian emergency in Kashmir and demand an end to curfews and blockades in the territory. We also request you to lobby with the United Nations as well as international human rights organizations to establish a humanitarian corridor to IOK to help relieve the pain and suffering of the Kashmiri people. France as a freedom loving country must also raise its voice for an end to the occupation and annexation of IOK by India, work with the Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in IOK and urge India to rescind its black laws – Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act – that enable the Indian forces to commit crimes against humanity with impunity. In recent years, 6,000 Kashmiris have been targeted by the pellet-firing shotguns, out of which 1500 people have completely lost their eyesight. Such mass blindings are unprecedented in the history of warfare. France must demand a ban on the use of lethal pellet guns.
Kashmiris have been striving for their right to self-determinations for the past 200 years, first against the tyrannical Dogra Dynasty and then against the Indian occupation. They have vowed that they would attain their right to self-determination under all circumstances. We also thank Pakistan for standing with the Kashmiris for the past 72 years. We urge other nations to come to the rescue of the Kashmiris. Crimes against Kashmir are crimes against humanity. The people of France should not be bystanders but participants in the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris. Save Kashmir, Save Humanity