Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has appealed to the Canadian lawmakers to develop a bipartisan approach for the promotion and protection of human rights of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
The President made this appeal to the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons while addressing a Kashmir Conference at Hamilton, Canada, organized here by the Pakistan Business Association of Hamilton.
The Conference was also addressed by Scott Duvall, Member of Canadian Parliament from Hamilton Mountain, Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, Mr. Chris Macleod of Cross Border Litigation Group, and Dr. Zafar Bangash, Chairman of the Friends of Kashmir Committee. A large number of Canadian and Pakistani-Kashmiri-Canadians, including politicians, businessmen, lawyers, academics, students and media-persons attended the conference.
President Masood Khan especially urged the Human Rights Committees of the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons to take note of the report on the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir recently released by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, discuss it and support its recommendations. He highlighted two of the reports’ recommendations, namely, the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry by the Human Rights Council to ascertain facts on the ground and repeal of two draconian laws – Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act.
Scott Duvall, MP, said that he would take back President Khan’s suggestion for focus on Human Rights Council’s Kashmir report in the Human Rights Committee of the House of Commons
Chris Macleod said the recent report of the Human Rights Council raises concern over the rule of law and self-determination in the Occupied Kashmir. He endorsed the idea that more attention must be given to the human right’s situation in IOK and in this regard the Human Rights Committees of the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons should play a role. He said that equal attention should be given to the violation of international humanitarian law in IOK.
Ken Stone said that the Kashmir Conference has been convened to hear the cries of the Kashmiris struggling against denial of self-determination in IOK. He said that in early 2017 he had visited Azad Kashmir and had found it to be truly free. In Azad Kashmir, unlike IOK, there was no presence of the Army in cities and towns, no gun-toting soldiers, no barricades and no sign of the people of AJK being repressed. On the other hand, the situation in IOK was alarming because of massive human rights violations and brutal repression.—PR