Kashmir Solidarity Day observed in Australia

BYYasir Rehman


Pakistani community across Australia observed Friday as Kashmir Solidarity Day to express their strong support with Kashmiris.

To commemorate Kashmir Solidarity Day, Pakistan High Commission, Canberra hosted a Seminar/Webinar titled “A Case of Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir” on 05 February where the distinguished Speakers agreed that there was an urgent need for the resolution of Kashmir dispute as per the UNSC resolutions and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

The event was attended by high-level parliamentarians, officials and dignitaries of Australian government, diplomats, journalists, scholars, intellectuals, think tanks and members of Pakistani and Kashmiri community.

Speakers including, former Foreign Secretary, Salman Bashir, former Senator Lee Rhiannon, David Shoebridge, Member of the Legislative Council in the New South Wales Parliament, Dr. Claude Rakisits, Associate Professor ANU, Professor Samina Yasmin, Director and founder of the Centre for Muslim States and Societies and High Commissioner for Pakistan, Babar Amin highlighted the grave human rights situation in Indian Occupied and Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).

Senator Lee Rhiannon in her remarks lamented that there was little awareness that India was committing crimes against humanity in IOJK.  

She said that people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were facing a grave humanitarian crisis and were being denied basic human rights, including the freedom of movement, communication, and basic essential needs such as food and medicine.

“Communication blockade by India during the Covid-19 pandemic was a ‘death sentence’ for the people of IOJK”, she added.

David Shoebridge while highlighting the human rights violations in Kashmir, stressed on the need for resolution of the Kashmir dispute on the principle of right to self-determination.

He expressed concern on the indifference of the international community including Australia, to the plight of the Kashmiris.

Dr. Claude Rakisits termed the situation in IOJK as grave due to the continued clampdown in IOJK and added that India’s actions of 5 August 2019 were a violation of international laws.

“Kashmir had become an open-air jail where people were being denied their fundamental rights. People of Jammu and Kashmir should be allowed to choose their own fate”, he stressed.

Professor Samina Yasmin emphasized that international community should not overlook India’s inhumane actions due to economic or strategic interests. She also highlighted the psychological impact of the human rights abuses on the people of IOJK.

High Commissioner Babar Amin informed the participants of India’s illegal actions of 5 August which were in contravention of international law, bilateral agreements, and established norms. 

He stated that the RSS inspired BJP government was pursuing extremist ‘Hindutva’ agenda, including running a diabolic misinformation campaign against Pakistan. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s continued moral, political, and diplomatic support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Foremer Foreign Seretary Salman Bashir

Salman Bashir gave an overview of the IOJK conflict and emphasized that there was no resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute without allowing Kashmiri people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions.

He called on Australian government to play its due role being a being a champion of human rights.

A photo exhibition on the human rights violations carried out by the Indian Security Forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir was also organised by the High Commission on the occasion.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi

Pakistan Consulate General in Sydney also organized a seminar to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day where Australian Senator Mehreen Faruqi in her keynote address highlighted gross abuses of human rights in Indian held Kashmir and stressed that Kashmiris deserve the right to self-determination.

She informed the participants that her Green Party has called on the Australian Government to call on the Indian Government to withdraw troops from Kashmir and release the political prisoners.

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