Speakers at Ankara conference call for Kashmir solution

131

The Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK), in collaboration with Centre for Economic and Social Research (ESAM), organized an “International Kashmir Congress” in Ankara.

The title of the Kashmir conference is “The Narrative of Occupation and Scope of International Law: A Preview of Occupied Kashmir.

Experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Pakistan and Palestine and many local and foreign participants attended the conference.

Prof Richard Falk, Princeton University Professor of International Law Emeritus addressing the conference said there has been a long period of victimization in Kashmir. “This occupation is both unlawful and unjustified. It is one of the longest-lasting occupations in history,” he added.

Referring to the British occupation of the Indian subcontinent, he continued: “A very chaotic period emerged and led to the partition of Pakistan and India. When we look at the rest of the world, Cyprus, Palestine, Ireland and some parts of Africa, we see that their lands are divided and conflicts are taking place. These occurred after Britain withdrew its colonial administrations there, he maintained.

Noting that India declared that it would respect Kashmir’s independence in the first period, Falk emphasized that the United Nations (UN) also supports the “right to self-government” of the Kashmiri people.

Pointing out that international law cannot carry out the act of liberation alone, he said that political support should be generated for the execution of international law.

“An issue that should be perceived as a problem of Muslim countries” Saadet Party Chairman Temel Karamollaoğlu stated that the Islamic world has many problems and emphasized that the Kashmir and Palestine problem has exceeded 75 years and could not be resolved.

Pointing to the importance of the Kashmir issue, Karamollaoğlu said that the reason why no progress has been made on this issue for 75 years is that “the influential powers that rule the world do not care about oppression.”

Karamollaoğlu stated: “It is not possible for us to say that we have fully embraced this issue, even as Islamic countries. However, first of all, this is an issue that should be perceived as a problem of Muslim countries. There is definitely a need for conclusions on this issue. I am sure Islamic countries have put this issue at the top of their agendas. If they did, this problem would be solved.”

Iran’s Ambassador to Ankara Mohammad Ferazmend said Kashmiri people have the right to self-determination and argued that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) did not fulfill its responsibilities regarding the Kashmir dispute.

Hilal Elver, former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food on the occasion said he writes four reports to the UN every year on conflict zones and different dimensions of food security. “The Kashmir region has never been on the agenda of our conversations in the international arena. I think this is a very important issue.” He added that Kashmir has become an issue that comes to the fore in the international arena together with Palestine.

Palestinian Research Writer Abdullah Moaswes stated that the concept of “settler colonialism” was a theory that was first discussed in mainstream history.

Noting that this concept has been used in academia for the last 15-20 years, but it is not a new concept, Moaswes said that settler colonialism as a practice is the basis of modern capitalism.

President of World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF) Ghulam Nabi Fai Said, “India may have killed 100,000 people in Kashmir but what India couldn’t kill is the aspirations and hopes of Kashmir to wake up to the dawn of freedom.”

“Pen is also one of the powerful tools of the modern world. We have 2 billion pens at our disposal and reminding the world through this medium can change the destiny of Kashmir”, he said.

Former convener of APHC-AJK Ghulam Muhammad Safi said: “India after 9/11 replicated its own version in the form of Parliament attack. It was done to justify state terrorism against defenceless & voiceless minority who were fighting Indian occupation.”

Dr Muhammad Mushtaq, former DG Shariah Academy Pakistan, addressing the conference said, “Kashmir is an issue of broken promises. Indian first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru promised people of Kashmir that they will be given their right to self-determination but still people of Kashmir are waiting and struggling for that right.

Moreover, he stated that the worst kind of atrocities are going on in Kashmir, Indian occupational forces have been given unlimited powers to suppress and oppress the fundamental rights of people.

He said India is not only violating the international human rights laws, international standards, UN charter, Geneva Convention but also their own constitutional laws. There is a long list of fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution that is being violated by Indian forces on a daily basis, he deplored.

APHC-AJK General Secretary Sheikh Abdul Mateen on the occasion highlighted the Indian atrocities in the occupied territory and urged the UN and other international rights organizations to help resolve the lingering Kashmir dispute so that permanent peace could be established in the region.

APHC-AJK leader and General Secretary of Kashmir Women’s Movement Ms Shamim Shawl in her address deplored that even the rights provided in the domestic law are also in suspension for the people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

“Basic rights and fundamental freedoms are not available to my people. Democratic space right to life and freedom of expression are suspended. The rights of the children are also violated. This is in contravention rights of children according to the UN convention,” she deplored.—KMS