India must stop crimes against humanity in IOK: Sardar Masood Khan

Islamabad:  India must stop its human right violations and crimes against humanity in Indian Occupied Kashmir says Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to a seminar on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day organized by the Kashmir Liberation Cell, the President said that implantation of non-Kashmiri settlers in settlements in IOK were a violation of Articles 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a grave breach of Additional Protocol I. He said that India’s construction of illegal settlements for Kashmiri pundits and former army personnel in orders to transform the demography of Jammu and Kashmir are in clear violation of international laws and conventions.

The President said that the tale of Kashmir is a tragedy and is the gravest human rights issue facing the world today. The planned massacre of Kashmiris at the hands of the Indian forces is synonymous to a genocide and is tantamount to war crimes, he said, adding that Kashmiris have been made homeless in their native land. “The word ‘violations’ is a euphuism considering the horrendous war crimes being carried out in Kashmir”, said President Masood.

President Azad Kashmir said that India has been using chemical weapons in IOK and evidence in this regard has come forward of its use on the populations of Anantnag and Pulwama. The suffering of the Kashmiris is not an event of yesteryears but the barbarity continues to this day.

The President commended the efforts of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Cell and the Kashmir Media Services for helping document the atrocities and violations committed in IOK. He added that we need to regularly update the data and ultimately use it in enlightening the international organizations of the horrendous war crimes taking place in IOK at the hands of the Indian Occupation Forces. The President said that in the near future effective steps will be taken to include the Kashmir issue in the syllabi of schools and universities to enable the younger generations to better understand the conflict.

President AJK said that India has taken up a three pronged war against Pakistan; firstly, by killing our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in IOK; secondly, cross border shelling on civilian population in AJK; and thirdly, engaging in a proxy war by carrying out acts of terrorism in various territories of Pakistan. This year alone, he said, India has committed over 1550 cross border violations killing over 60 civilians and injuring hundreds of others in Azad Kashmir.

President Masood Khan said that through 5000 village committees comprising 30,000 armed RSS sponsored goons, India is terrorizing the local population of IOK and forcing them to evacuate their homes and properties. The President added that the Muslims, especially the Gujjar population in Jammu-numbering around one million-are the main victims of the genocide, forced disappearances and evacuations carried out by Indian forces.

Lamenting the dual standards of the International Community, the President said that the world has intervened when it came to East Timur, South Sudan and Yemen; but have yet to take a significant and concrete stance on Kashmir due to various strategic, political and economic interests with India. He said, “Upholding the rights of every human being in accordance to UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the duty of every UN member nation and India must be brought to justice for the serious human right violations committed in IOK.”

The President said that the people of Kashmir are the most unarmed people and are not involved in any sort of terrorism. Their unarmed struggle, he added, for their right to self-determination has been demonized by India as an act of terrorism. The President said that the people of Kashmir have sacrificed their lives not to maintain the status quo but to attain their freedom through the exercise of their right to self-determination.

Masood Khan said that India is trying to create ill will and drive a wedge between the people of Kashmir and Pakistan by trying to diplomatically and politically demonizing the latter. He said, “A symbiotic relationship exists between the people of Pakistan and Kashmir which cannot be weakened through any machinations”.

President Masood said that we should be unified among our ranks, use modern and conventional media, make inroads into the international and Indian civil societies and leverage the strengths of the Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora helping us approach various international forums and parliaments in order to raise the profile of this crucial issue. He said that Pakistan is our only consul and we must make every effort to strengthen Pakistan and in turn strengthening the freedom struggle in IOK. President Masood Khan said that as a nation we have to prosperous through upholding merit, focus on economic growth and guarantee the protection of our citizens.

The world must know that this conflict is not of a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India, as the people of Kashmir are the main stakeholders and will decide their political destiny in light of the resolutions of the United Nation Security Council, said President AJK. He urged the UN to implement its resolutions and the UN secretary General must use his good office to mediate a peaceful, just and democratic solution to the human rights crisis in Kashmir. The President said that the world must realize that Kashmiris are not begging for their freedom but are struggling for freedom as their fundamental right and in this regard they would keep reminding the international community to fulfill their responsibility.

The President sent a clear message to India saying that their efforts of sabotaging the freedom struggle will never succeed and the people of Kashmir will never bow down nor will the freedom struggle be subdued through India’s use of force. The people of Kashmir, he said, have made a solemn vow to continue their struggle and will attain their freedom at any cost.

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