To express solidarity with the people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) in their struggle for right to self determination, Kashmir Solidarity Day was observed in Australia by Pakistani and Kashmiri community.
To mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day, a webinar titled “Standing with the Kashmiri People” was held at the High Commission for Pakistan in Canberra Friday evening.
The keynote Speakers included Senator Janet Rice, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, David Shoebridge, former Australian Senator and human rights activist, Lee Rhiannon, Ms. Mushaal Hussein Mullick, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Professor Samina Yasmeen, Ambassador (retd) Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and High Commissioner for Pakistan, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri.
The Speakers highlighted the grave human rights situation in Indian Held Kashmir and underscored the urgent need for resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
Highlighting the human and women rights abuses being perpetrated by the Indian Security Forces in IHK, Senator Janet Rice stated that it was heartbreaking to see the videos of Indian brutality.
She referred to prosecution of youth in IHK after they celebrated Pakistani Team’s victory against India in the T20 Cricket World Cup. She called upon the Australian government to follow on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports of 2018 and 2019 to improve human rights situation in IHK.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi highlighted India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019. She expressed grave concern over Indian colonization of IHK. She stressed that India was illegally occupying Kashmiri land on the pretext of development. She expressed her resolve to continue to raise her voice on all foras.
Speaking of the universality of human rights, Mr. David Shoebridge (MLC) stated that it was the collective responsibility of the international community to protect the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He underscored the importance of India’s friends to remind India of its international obligations and to uphold UNSC resolutions.
“Commercial and political considerations must not supersede universal human rights and long-term relations between countries must be based on shared human values”, he added.
Senator Lee Rhiannon called for building a broader awareness of Indian atrocities in IHK. She highlighted the need for building global support for Kashmiris right to self-determination. She brought to the attention the remarks of the President of Genocide Watch Dr. Gregory H Stanton over the signs of early stages of genocide in IHK. She stressed that the Kashmiri people had the right to struggle against Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ms. Mushaal Hussein Mullick urged the international community to act against Indian attempts to bring about a demographic change in IHK, which was against the UNSC resolutions, Geneva Convention and international law. She informed that India had given 5 million domiciles to non-Kashmiris, which was half of the indigenous population of Jammu and Kashmir. She stated that India was trying to turn Kashmiris into a minority in their own land.
Syed Faiz Naqshbandi underscored the centrality of the UNSC resolutions and called for the need to help the Kashmiris in their rightful struggle against Indian occupation.
Professor Samina Yasmeen highlighted the direct and indirect impacts of the conflict, especially on children, including the half orphans, and the use of pellet guns in IHK. She stated that Kashmir belonged to Kashmiris. Kashmiris must be given the right to self-determination.
Ambassador (retd) Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry briefed about Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Indian approach towards a military solution in IHK. He advised that India should learn from history against a military approach to IHK dispute.
High Commissioner Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri in his remarks called upon the international community to urge India to withdraw its military siege of IHK, release the incarcerated Kashmiri leaders, stop and reverse the changes in the demographic structure of IHK; end extra-judicial killings in fake encounters and staged cordon and search operations and restore all fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiris people. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support to the Kashmiri people in their just struggle till the realization of their right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions.
The event was attended by parliamentarians, officials of the Australian government, diplomats, journalists, academicians, think tanks and members of the Pakistani and Kashmiri community.
Several peaceful rallies were also held in different Australian cities on Saturday in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.