Kashmiri Delegation Visits The Prestigious Turkish Think-tank, ESAM
By Our Special Correspondent
Ankara, Turkey. February 28, 2022 – “Kashmir was one of the most idyllic settings in the world. A picturesque valley located between Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and China. It was a natural paradise. But The New York Times reported on August 10, 2019, ‘Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell’ of Anger and Fear. Harinder Baweja, an Indian senior journalist described the situation in Kashmir in these words in ‘India Today,’ ‘Everywhere there’s pain. There’s darkness everywhere. The valley has lost its magic, its mystique,’ this was stated by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, World Forum for Peace & Justice while visiting the headquarters of ‘Economic and Social Research Centre’ (ESAM) at Ankara, Turkey. Its president, Ustaaz Recai Kutan was the keynote speaker at the first international Kashmir conference held in Washington, DC on July 13-14, 1991.”
Kashmiri delegation included, Dr. Mubeen Shah, prominent Kashmiri diaspora leader and President, Istanbul-based ‘Kashmir House’ and Nasir Qadri, Chairman, ‘Legal Forum for Kashmir.
India occupied the state of Jammu & Kashmir on October 27, 1947, by presenting to the world, Instrument of Accession’ (IOA) signed by Maharaja of Kashmir. But Andrew Whitehead of BBC correspondent for 35 years says that he wanted to have a copy of the IOA but he was denied the access to this document on the ground that it was ‘classified.’ However, noted British historian, Alaistair Lamb has convincingly demonstrated that the IOA was a bogus document. An original has never been found and there is no plausible explanation for a disappearance if an original had ever existed, Fai highlighted.
Fai added that India’s occupation of Kashmir has been left undisturbed by the world powers, even though its validity has never been accepted. At no stage, however, have the people of Kashmir shown themselves as reconciled to it. Much cruelty, callousness, frequent massacres, constant, hunger, gang rapes of the women, and lately enactment of Domicile law to change the demography of Kashmir – these are the gifts Indian occupation is bringing to Kashmir.
Ustaaz Racai Kutan, President of ESAM welcomed the Kashmiri delegation and said that he always pray for peace, tranquility and justice for Kashmir and to the entire Islamic world and humanity. Ustaaz Kutan added that they know that since 1989, more than 100,000 brothers and sisters have lost their lives until today and 10,000 people were disappeared by the Indian security forces and there is no information about their whereabouts. Tens of thousands of women have been subjected to dishonourable actions, more than one thousand brothers and sisters were targeted by pellet guns and they lost their eyesight due to these weapons. Kashmir issue is not the issue of only India or Pakistan but as required by our belief, it is an issue of the Muslim Ummah. We must be ready to help our brothers and sisters in Kashmir, Palestine, Myanmar and elsewhere.
Ambassador Syrus Qazi, Pakistani Ambassador to Turkey said India will not be able to get away with its crimes against humanity in Kashmir. The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights has documented the gross human rights violations perpetrated by 900,000 Indian army on civilian population of Kashmir. The ambassador praised ESAM leadership for setting an example for the international community in terms of how to approach and address the Kashmir issue.
Dr. Mubeen Shah said that the principle of self-determination promised by the United Nations to the people of Kashmir and the maintenance of international peace and security are inseparable. The denial of this basic right has brought India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. The point of departure for deciding a just and lasting basis, Dr. Shah added, is the Charter of the United Nations which, in its first article speaks of ‘respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.’
Dr. Shah passionately appealed to global Kashmiri diaspora to pursue one slogan and one slogan only and that is, that the people of Kashmir aspire to exercise their right to self-determination.
Nasir Qadri, made the presentation about the ‘Legal Forum of Kashmir’ by saying that the Forum is an international, non-violent, and legal organisation. Its members are indigenous people of the occupied territory in Jammu and Kashmir. The aim of the organisation is to defend the political, social and human rights of Kashmiris and to promote the UN sanctioned Right of Self-Determination.
In today’s world, Mr. Qadri added, the notion of conflict resolution necessitates that those who continue to be denied their rights or remain excluded be given an opportunity to present their case. Unfortunately, it remains the case that Kashmiris themselves continue to be marginalised, even invisibilised, in most discussions or narratives on the conflict. LFK has, therefore, been established to fill the gap, providing an international forum through which its members can become effective participants and contributors in the international community. LFK works to address the consequences of marginalisation, working with its members.
Later, Ustaaz Temel Karamollaoglu, President, Saadat Party gave the dinner in honor of the Kashmiri delegation. Ustaaz Karamollaoglu expressed his condolences to the nation of Kashmir on the passing of a giant – Syed Ali Gilani. He said that they organized Jannazh prayer in absentia when they came to know that the Kashmiri people were not allowed to attend his Janazah in person.
Ustaaz Karamollaoglu said that Kashmir dispute has international sanctity given to it by UN Security Council resolutions. India has agreed to give the people of Kashmir choice to decide their future but unfortunately that promise is yet to be fulfilled. Addressing the issue of abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, he said that it is all designed to change the majority Muslim population to minority by changing the demography of the state. He said that the nation of Turkey is with the brothers and sisters of Kashmir and they will never let them down.
Towards the end, Dr. Mubeen Shah explained the purpose of establishing ‘Kashmir House’ in Istanbul in these words, “The main components of KASHMIR HOUSE is as follows:
Advocacy/political engagements. Under this, the Kashmir House will engage with Turkish government, political parties, civil society, think tanks, universities, besides diaspora groups based in Istanbul as well as worldwide . It will be an open platform for all activists’ groups all over the world to engage and make a common program of right to self-determination.
Institute of Kashmir Studies: Under the Kashmir House, this group intends to run a research centre under the banner of ‘Institute of Kashmir Studies, Istanbul’ to produce content with regard to struggle of Kashmiris in different languages. This literature will be produced and shared with every institution and individuals.
Kashmir Aid: After generating financial resources, this group intends to launch a humanitarian aid group – Kashmir Aid – to help different communities in special needs inside territories of influence under Turkey.
Kashmir Mediascape: The Kashmir House intends to launch news/views/comment website and magazine/newspaper/newsletter regarding Kashmir from Istanbul.
Business Model to support operations of the Kashmir House: Kashmir House may open a small-scale business organization to generate funds to support the operations of the Kashmir House. This one is already registered while as the NGO registration is under process.