October 27th Black Day: The Tyranny Continues In Kashmir
By Our Special Correspondent
Washington, DC. October 27, 2022 – Raising the slogans of Azadi, a large number of Kashmiri Americans and their supporters and friends staged a demonstration in front of the Indian embassy in Washington, DC at which Barrister Sultan Mahmood Choudhary, President Azad Jammu Kashmir and other speakers drew attention of Biden Administration to the grave human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and urged the administration to intervene in facilitating a meaningful tripartite dialogue between India, Pakistan and genuine leadership of Jammu & Kashmir.
The participants, who came from various US states, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, etc., waved placards reading: “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir” “Stop Killing in Kashmir” “Demilitarize Kashmir” “U.N. Implement Resolutions on Kashmir” “US Can Stop Genocide in Kashmir,” “Wake Up Wake Up: UN Wake Up.”
Barrister Sultan Mahmood Choudhary warned that the deadly silence of the world powers over gruesome human rights abuses by the occupation forces in Kashmir has given India a virtual license to kill innocent Kashmiris. The government of India has to stop viewing Kashmir from the prism of Pakistan. Pointing out that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, tortured, jailed, and are missing, Barrister said that no struggle of such magnitude could be sponsored by an external party.
Barrister warned that Kashmir is facing worst kind of oppression unleashed by Indian army. Innocent people are being killed, maimed, blinded, incarcerated, tortured and humiliated by the occupational forces. India is using its military might to crush the peaceful resistance movement of Kashmir. And this all is being done with impunity.
Barrister Sultan added that Kashmiris are the real sufferers and unless they are taken on board no process, whether track one or track two can make any headway. He underlined it was imperative that self-determination be granted to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Dr Ghulam N. Mir, President, World Kashmir Awareness Forum & Chairman, newly constituted “Kashmir Diaspora Coalition” said that we are honoured to have the Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir among us on this sad day to join us on Kashmir Black Day. 75 years ago, today without any justification or provocation India invaded the state of Jammu and Kashmir. October 27 remains etched in our memory and our conscience. It was the day India decimated our dreams of a free nation. The savage uncalled-for invasion was to become a long national nightmare for millions of Kashmiris.
Dr Mir added that while our brothers and sisters in Azad Kashmir have been enjoying the fruits of freedoms across the border, their dream of being a part and parcel of one united free Jammu and Kashmir remains unfulfilled. We, the people of the Occupied Kashmir wish our Azad Kashmir well and thank them for their unwavering support as we wage our struggle for freedom from Indian occupation and now a dangerous settler-colonialism.
“Kashmiris are victims of multiple periods of genocide starting in 1947 and 1948 and multiple genocides in 1990s. Now Kashmir is a case of full-fledged ethnic cleansing, demographic change, and settler-colonialism. We ask the UN and the world community to stand up and speak out against Indian state terrorism and allow Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination under relevant UNSC resolutions. This is the only way an impending humanitarian catastrophe can be avoided, Dr Mir demanded.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, World Forum for Peace & Justice said that the people of Kashmir do not wish anybody to take a partisan side. Kashmiris are convinced, nevertheless, that impartial observers would support the Kashmir cause based on universal principles, democratic values, rule of law and international justice. It is high time that the negotiations, not violence, be the only way to resolve the Kashmir conflict, and that Kashmiris cannot be excluded from the negotiating table if a peace process is to be serious, meaningful and result oriented.
Dr Fai highlighted that our objective of peaceful protest was to draw attention of the Biden Administration to the situation in Kashmir and to exert pressure on the government of India and to resolve dispute over Kashmir and help stop human right violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. “The genuine test of how much we care about such abuses is what we do about them, not just what we say about them. And the United Nations, despite all its shortcomings still seems an ideal place to begin with a serious plan of action,’ Fai stressed.
Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir said, “The United Nations has unfinished business in Kashmir. There exist several United Nations resolutions that clearly state the people of Jammu & Kashmir have the right to determine their own future through a free, fair and impartial vote. We are asking the United Nations to follow on its commitment to the people of Kashmir. He hoped that a new dawn of prosperity, peace and stability will be guaranteed when the Kashmir dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of the people of Kashmir.
Dr Maqsood Choudhary, a prominent humanitarian in the interfaith community said that our objective should be to motivate our community to participate in the American public square and be active participant in the civic discourse in our neighbourhood. That will undoubtedly promote better understanding of our community before the wider American audience. He urged the audience to become involved in the public offices at the local level. He said that the Kashmir dispute is about the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The people of Kashmir should be the makers of their destiny.
Imtiaz Khan, a notable human rights activist from New Jersey said that the resolution of Kashmir issue could have enabled both Pakistan and India to spend their finite resources more on the development of their people rather than on defence expenditure. He expressed his admiration to the Kashmiri American community for being the ambassadors of peace in the United States for the cause of Kashmir.
Saleem Qadri, a well-known human rights activist from Maryland said that the Kashmir question was one of the oldest unresolved international conflicts in the world. He said that the people of Kashmir demand releasing of all political prisoners in Indian occupied Kashmir, including Masart Aalam, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Yasin Malik, Aasia Andrabi, etc. The people of Kashmir also demand that Government of India must annul various special repressive laws; and restore the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations.
Sardar Zubair Khan, President of Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) said that the Government of India has refused the dialogue with both Pakistani and the Kashmiri leadership. It has chosen instead the brutal path of violent crackdown on all political dissent in Occupied Kashmir. In doing so, India is committing brutal acts of rape, torture and murder against thousands of innocent civilians.
Shoaib Irshad, Joint Secretary of Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) called on the world leaders to persuade India and Pakistan to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Kashmiri leadership to settle the Kashmir dispute once and for all. He suggested that it is better for Indian authorities to shun its stubborn approach and resolve this long pending issue.
Aftab Shah, a well-known businessman from New Jersey highlighted that Indian army is conducting a campaign of slaughter in Kashmir. Each day they shoot and kill civilians; detain and brutally torture innocent Kashmiri men, women and children. He added that there is no freedom in Kashmir, only death, destruction and oppression.
Raja Liaqat Kayani, President, Kashmir House, Washington said that the Indian army is engaged in serious human rights abuses in Kashmir, and we believe that world powers need to know that the so-called ‘world’s most populous democracy’ is a grave offender of the most basic of human rights.’
Sardar Sajid Sawar expressed his sadness that no civilized nation, not even the United States seems to be concerned with the human rights atrocities being committed in this unfortunate land of Kashmir Not a single word has been uttered by them against human rights violations taking place in Kashmir.
Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan said that the world powers must remind both India and Pakistan that the final status of Jammu & Kashmir is yet to be determined and it has to be decided by the people of Jammu & Kashmir.
Akram Butt, a familiar businessman of the community said, “Each day that India kills innocent civilians, it strengthens the sentiments of Azadi amongst the general population in Indian occupied Kashmir. The right of self-determination is the right of Kashmiris that was guaranteed under UN Security Council resolutions.
Maqsood Chugtai said that it was our duty to support the people of Kashmir who are struggling for their right to self-determination.
Shafiq Shah of Maryland said that we stand should to shoulder with our Kashmiri brethren. He added that defying all odds, the brave desire and aspirations of the Kashmiris for liberty and justice remain strong forever.
Gul Sheer Sai said that today the consensus is that Kashmir conflict remains the underlying cause of the nuclear confrontation between the two neighbouring countries. Without a just and lasting peace in Kashmir that vindicates self‑determination, trying to reduce missile and nuclear arsenals in South Asia will be an exercise in futility.
Zia Ul Hassan said that we feel honoured to help our brethren in Jammu & Kashmir. We believe that it is only fair that the Kashmir dispute must be decided in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. We must accept whatever the people of Kashmir decide.
Zafar Shah said that the people of Jammu & Kashmir want Azadi (freedom). Our message to the people of Kashmir is: Continue your peaceful struggle; Freedom is ours; and don’t compromise on your basic principle of self-determination.
Sardar Zarif Khan, main emcee of the rally said that nothing better could be said about human rights in Kashmir. Every human rights group that has examined the convulsed scene in Kashmir has reported harrowing human rights violations, including tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings, rape, torture, plunder, arbitrary arrests, and ruthless suppression of free speech and press. The United States State Department annual human rights report invariably paints an ugly human rights dispensation in Kashmir.