‘Modi regime’s plan to change demography of Kashmir needs serious response from AJK leadership’

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Washington, D.C: Leaders of Kashmiri diaspora at a meeting in Washington have said that the contemptible plan of Narendra Modi-led Indian government to change the demographic character of Jammu and Kashmir needs very serious strategic planning by Azad Kashmir leadership at this crucial stage in the history of Kashmir.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the meeting was hosted by Sardar Zarif Khan, Advisor to the President of Azad Kashmir, at his residence in Washington. The meeting was presided over by Shafi Khan, a well-known community leader, while Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan was the chief guest.

Sardar Zarif Khan said that it is a fact that the leadership of all political parties in Azad Kashmir has exhibited strong sensitivity to the cause of Kashmir, however, the contemptible plan of Modi Administration to change the demographic character of Kashmir needs very serious strategic planning by Azad Kashmir leadership at this crucial stage in the history of Kashmir.

Sardar Zarif added that we may belong to different political parties in Azad Kashmir but in Washington we belong only to the nation and people of Kashmir. We want to be the voice of voiceless people of occupied Kashmir in the corridors of power, be it Washington, New York, or else.

Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Chairman of World Forum for Peace & Justice, said it is a fact that the situation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir has dramatically changed, particularly since August 5, 2019, and it will not be an exaggeration to say that the people of the occupied territory are facing an existential threat. Indian colonialist rulers have put their machinery in motion which is fast moving to accelerate the process of genocide they have systematically put in place through their proxies since October 27, 1947.

Dr Fai maintained that the Kashmiri Diaspora leadership not only has to maintain its narrative, but narrative should be equally coherent. “We do not need to invent it. It is already there with international sanctity. In approaching a Kashmir resolution, the sole non-negotiable issue should be respecting the consensus of the people of all five regions of the state of Jammu & Kashmir with whom sovereignty resides,” he said.

Dr Fai pleaded that the Kashmiri global diaspora leadership is a bouquet of flowers. It’s time to see all the flowers in a bouquet together, working together, gleaming brightly in the sunlight of Kashmiri beauty. It’s time that we fill that vase with all the flowers that Kashmir has to offer, the people. It’s time that the global Kashmiri leadership gives all that flows from its heart, because it is only then that the people will respond with theirs and demonstrate the power of their love for their country, Kashmir – the paradise on earth, he added.

Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan said upon his return to Azad Kashmir, he will try to contact intellectuals, scholars, journalists, and academics of Azad Kashmir, who have deep and thorough understanding of the Kashmir dispute and these individuals should keep themselves well acquainted about the day-to-day happenings in occupied Kashmir. Their job will be to mobilize the public opinion among the civil society and the foreign diplomatic corps in Islamabad.

Sardar Zulfiqar added that soon after the election in Pakistan, a person will be appointed to be the Chairman of the Parliamentary Kashmir Committee. He said he will lobby that the Chairperson of this committee should be an individual who has a strong understanding about Kashmir history, current situation in the realm of international scenario. This person should be very energetic, endowed with excellent communication skills and have freedom to include former well reputed diplomats in the committee as advisors.

Sardar Zubair Khan said Kashmir is facing the worst kind of persecution unleashed by 900,000 Indian military and paramilitary personnel. Civilians are being killed, maimed, incarcerated, tortured and humiliated by the occupational forces’ personnel who enjoy total immunity under draconian laws.

Shoaib Irshad, Joint Secretary of Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) stated that the people of Azad Kashmir have always stood by the Kashmiris in this endeavor, and other countries of the world should take note of the atrocities being committed by India against the people of occupied Kashmir.

Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan emphasized that the Modi administration is using its military might to suppress the peaceful Kashmir freedom movement, but Kashmiris, regardless of their political affiliation or ideology, are determined not to accept any solution for Kashmir other than the right to self-determination.

Maqsood Chughtai drew the attention of the Biden Administration to the grave human rights situation in occupied Kashmir and urged the US to intervene in facilitating a meaningful tripartite dialogue among India, Pakistan and genuine leadership of Jammu and Kashmir.

Hamid Malik, prominent community leader, said that it was well documented that hundreds of thousands of Indian forces’ personnel have made Kashmir the largest open-air prison on earth. The conditions in Kashmir have become so ugly with rapes, beatings, shootings and other crimes inflicted by the occupation forces that we are condemned as a lot in the eyes of the world to be ignored and forgotten because, aside from any intentional bias in the press, no one wants to think about it. Kashmir has almost become a forgotten land, a forgotten people, he deplored.

Finally, the participants demanded release of all Kashmiri political prisoners, including APHC Chairman Masarrat Aalam Butt, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, Khurram Parvez, Irfan Mehraj, Fahad Shah, Sajad Gul, and Aasif Sultan. They also demanded of India to repeal all draconian laws and restore the rights of peaceful association, assembly and protest in occupied Kashmir.

The meeting concluded with special prayers for the martyrs of Kashmir.

Others who were present included Tariq Khan, Zeeshan Khan, Tariq Nazir, Mustafa Khan, Tariq Chughtai, Hayat Khan, and Farooq Khan.

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