Pakistan Missions commemorate ‘Kashmir Siege Day’


By Syed Mussarat Khalil

Saudi Gazette

In order to commemorate ‘Kashmir Siege Day’, the Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh held a webinar on Wednesday. The objective of the webinar was to highlight different aspects of the Kashmir dispute, human rights violations and continued atrocities being committed by the Indian Armed Forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) since Aug. 5, 2019, as well as to reiterate Pakistan’s continued commitment and support to the Kashmir cause and Kashmiri people.

Meanwhile at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jeddah, an event to observe the first anniversary of the bleak Aug. 5, 2019 day as ‘Kashmir Military Siege Day’ (Youm-e-Istehsal) in solidarity with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) was held on Wednesday.

While the Riyadh event was virtual, the Jeddah event saw the participation of a large number of Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora in the region attending.

According to Mudassar Cheema, Press Attache Riyadh, the event was attended by a large number of Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora, including cross-section of academics, media and scholars from local think-tanks.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security, Dr. Moeed Yusuf participated in the event as the keynote speaker. Other eminent speakers included former National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. (R) Naseer Khan Janjua; former Ambassador of Pakistan to India Abdul Basit Khan; Palestinian Representative Abdel Baset Al Abadlah; Chairman, Peace and Culture Organization Ms. Mushaal Hussein Mullick; former Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Awwad Assiri, former Saudi diplomat Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi, and former High Commissioner and senior analyst Akbar S. Ahmad.

The speakers paid tribute to the sacrifices rendered by the Kashmiri community in their struggle for the right to self-determination.

While highlighting the grave human rights situation in IIOJ&K, the participants called upon India to stop abusing innocent Kashmiris who were suffering under its illegal occupation for the last seven decades.

They demanded that India should immediately end its military siege, reverse its policy of demographic change, remove draconian laws, restore basic human rights, free all detainees, lift all restrictions on the free movement and communications, and allow full access to the UN and other international human rights observers and fact-finding missions, including independent foreign media representatives, to witness the on-ground situation.

The webinar also condemned India’s brazen violations of UN Security Council’s resolutions, and called for immediate intervention of the international community for putting an end to state repression and holding of a fair and impartial plebiscite to determine will of Kashmiri people in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

Interventions from prominent speakers of Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Kashmir were very enlightening. In this regard, facts and figures shared by Ms. Mushaal proved revealing. She highlighted the tactics being undertaken by India to change the demographic profile of IIOJ&K by issuing domiciles and voting rights to Indians, as well as confiscating the land and properties of the local Kashmiri people during last three months under the garb of COVID-19 lockdown.

Keynote speaker Moeed Yousuf apprised the audience that the government of Pakistan has decided to pursue an aggressive political and diplomatic policy to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

He said that it was encouraging to see the awakening of international community to the plight of Kashmiri people. On-going displays in major capitals including New York Times Square, as well as articles and pictures in prominent international newspapers and magazines were a testimony to this account.

Pakistan Ambassador Raja Ali Ejaz emphasized that Jammu & Kashmir was an internationally recognized “disputed” territory, as affirmed by a number of UN Security Council Resolutions. He said that Pakistan’s government and its people remain fully committed to the Kashmir cause.

Pakistan would always remain the voice of conscience in the world for the rights of Kashmiri brothers and sisters and Kashmir cause will come to fruition. Over and above its seven decades long occupation and oppression in the IIOJ&K, India’s recent policy has been to alter the internationally recognized disputed status of IIOJ&K, as well as to change the demographics of the Muslim majority state.

To this end, India revoked Article 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution on Aug. 5 2019, and passed Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Order, which would allow citizens from other states to become permanent residents of the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Since Aug. 5, 2019, Kashmiris are subjected to brute force, oppression, and unending military siege. He said, contrary to Indian claims of bringing development to the Kashmir valley, the real motive remains altering the demographics of the Muslim majority territory in pursuance of the BJP government’s extremist Hindutva ideology.

The Ambassador, while reading out excerpts from messages of the president, prime minister and foreign minister of Pakistan on the occasion, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to extend its political, moral, and diplomatic support to the oppressed people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for the right to self-determination, promised by the international community through several UN Security Council resolutions.

In the Jeddah event, prominent members of the Pakistani/Kashmiri community, representatives of the ethnic and Arab media attended the event.

Key speakers included guest of the honour Mansour Nizam Eddin, renowned Saudi media consultant, Consul General Khalid Majid, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the OIC Ambassador Rizwan Sheikh, Chairman Kashmir Committee Masood Puri, General Secretary J&K Overseas Community Sardar Waqas, Vice President J&K Overseas Community Chaudhary Maroof Hussain and member Kashmir Committee Pervez Yousaf.

Speakers highlighted the significance of the day and condemned the brutalities of the Indian occupying forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) particularly post Aug. 5, 2019, paid homage to the sacrifices of Kashmiris against the Indian oppression, underlined that Pakistan will never withdraw from its principled stance on the IIOJK and reiterated moral, political, and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their just struggle for the right to self-determination, as promised to them by the international community through successive UN Security Council resolutions.

A brief documentary on the current situation in IIOJK was screened. Besides, special messages of President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister of Pakistan were read out followed by a video message from the President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan’s new political map was also displayed during the event and its significance was highlighted. The event concluded with collective prayer for the success of Kashmiris’ struggle for their legitimate right to self- determination.