National Conference on “Kashmir Crisis: Emerging Scenarios” was held in Islamabad under the auspices of Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSD) on Monday.
President Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan and State Minister for States and Frontier Regions Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi graced the inaugural and closing sessions as the Chief Guests respectively. While Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Mr Syed Fakhar Imam was the Guest of Honor for the event. Speakers from government, diplomatic corps, military, academia, and media deliberated on various dimensions of the subject.
President CPSD, Lt General Agha M Umer Farooq (retd) HI(M), welcomed the speakers and audience for their presence. Gen Umer Farooq highlighted the significance of the topic and said that the annulment of Kashmir’s special status has stroked people of Kashmir and created greatest resentment across the Pakistan as well. Gen Umer Farooq further said the entire region is under media blackout where UN military observers, human rights organizations, INGOs, NGOs, media personnel and even the Indian opposition leaders are not allowed inside Kashmir. He also highlighted that the region has been turned into prison where people are even denied food, water, and necessary medicines. Gen Umer Farooq maintained that the revoking of article 370 and 35A of Indian constitution is the testimony of BJP’s design of changing the democratic and demographic character of the Kashmir.
Senator Sherry Rehman spoke as keynote speaker and said Kashmir is a national issue which evokes widespread sentiment in Pakistan and all political parties stand against India’s forcible annexation of Kashmir. She further said that the annexation of Kashmir is illegal under international law and it has further internationalized the Kashmir as it has brought two nuclear neighbors face to face at an unprecedented level of confrontation.
Senator Sherry Rehman quoted former US President Clinton and said what happens in Kashmir will not stay in the valley but engulf the region and beyond. She was of the view that in the wake of current situation there will narrative deployment by Indian lobby against Pakistan, therefore, we to play wisely on diplomatic front to advocate the Kashmir case. She advised that the establishment of infrastructure for public diplomacy through engagement of think-tanks, newspapers, and people to people contact for projecting Pakistan’s narrative in an effective manners.
President AJK Sardar Masood Khan said that change of status of occupied Kashmir was the violation of not only UNSC resolutions but also Geneva Conventions and other international laws as well. He highlighted that today people in the occupied Kashmir are being tortured, killed, incarcerate and deprived of their basic rights. He lamented that international community is not mobilized and doing nothing to reduce the suffering of people of occupied valley. Sardar Msood said that the recent crisis has brought to the region to serious situation.
Sardar Masood Khan further said that silence of international community over tensions between two nuclear neighbors is criminal negligence and its repercussions not only be detrimental for Pakistan and the Kashmiri people but for the whole world.
The conference had two working session on themes Prevalent and Emerging Scenarios, and Kashmir Crisis Response: Way, Means and Ends. Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi Former High Commissioner to India chaired the session one while Ambassador Arif Kamal Former Ambassador to Jordan, Ambassador Abdul Basit Former High Commissioner to India, and Lt. Gen. (R) Asif Yasin Malik HI(M) former Defence Secretary also presented talks during the session one.
Session two was chaired by Mr. Iftikhar Durrani Special Assistant to Prime Minister while Maj Gen (R) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan Former President AJ&K, Mr Ejaz Haider Senior Journalist and Analyst, and Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani Chairman Kashmir Institute of International Relations also deliberated on the various dimensions of the theme.
Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi while presenting a comprehensive account of present Kashmir crisis said that the Kashmiri’s resistance is indigenous, resilient, decentralized, and determined therefore India will not succeed in crushing it. He was of the view that this resistance is much less dependent on Pakistan as had been the case in past. He further maintained that soft power of India is more or less dead today and the fascist majority communalism (Hindutva) has already suffocated the prospects of India ever becoming great power.
Ambassador Qazi said that given the current situation emerged in the wake of revoking of Kashmir’s special status, India has lost the good will of pro-India factions within the Kashmir and therefore has resorted to the genocide in the valley to crush the resistance.
Mr. Shehryar Afridi while addressing the concluding session as the Chief Guest, said that present crisis of Kashmir demand a comprehensive and unified response at national and international level. He further said that every Pakistani and Kashmiri residing abroad has to play their role to project and promote the Kashmir cause at all levels.
Mr. Shehryar appreciated the efforts of CPSD and Dadabhoy Foundation for organizing this conference. Mr Syed Fakhar Imam also shared his thoughts on recent crisis of the Kashmir. Air Chief Marshall (Retd) Sohail Aman NI(M), also spoke on the occasion. Mr. Muhammad Ali presented the executive summary and report of the proceedings of the day. Mr. Habibullah Dadabhoy presented the Vote of Thanks at the end of the event.
The event was attended by the various prominent dignitaries from diplomatic corp, military, government officials, intellectuals, researchers and students.