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Zakaria mobilises UK public opinion on IOK

By Murtaza Ali Shah
February 09, 2020

LONDON: A seminar organised by the Pakistan High Commission in London on 5th February clearly demonstrated the significant support Kashmir issue is receiving and the level of interest generated in the United Kingdom.

A large number of members of the British Parliament, eminent scholars, academics, legal experts, members of the civil society and British Kashmiris were there at the seminar to express their support for the oppressed Kashmiri nation.

High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria has been proactively reaching out to political leadership of the UK and cross-section of the British society to create awareness about the humanitarian crisis and garner support for the Kashmiris who are living under siege since 5th August, 2019 when Modi government unilaterally took illegal measures in violation of UNSC resolution to change the status of Kashmir dispute.

The participants of the seminar brought out an “Outcome Document” of the seminar based on their review of human rights situation in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK). They noted with concern the grievous human rights abuses, inaction of the UN to resolve the dispute, long trail of human rights violations including massacres, mass rapes, mass blinding and enforced disappearances in the occupied territory. Serious concerns were raised on siege of 08 million Kashmiris since 5 August, cut off from the outside world due to communication blackout and no access to media as well as human rights organisations.

The participants called for immediate and unconditional lifting of siege and revocation of the unilateral measures of 5th August, 2019; immediate, unconditional and independent access to the Fact-Finding Missions; international community’s immediate intervention to ensure delivery of justice to the Kashmiri victims; reduction of military presence in J&K; repeal of draconian laws; immediate measures to de-escalate tension in the region; and resolution of the Kashmir dispute on priority in accordance with relevant UN Security Council’s resolutions.

Bringing out a unanimous outcome document on Kashmir dispute is being termed to be a tangible achievement of the High Commissioner. Mr Zakaria was posted as High Commissioner in London in January 2019 and his first major event was holding Kashmir Solidarity Day conference at the British Parliament with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as the chief guest. Since then, the High Commissioner has organised a large number of literary talks and photographic exhibitions highlighting the plight of the Kashmiri victims of Indian atrocities. The Kashmir issue has also been discussed in the British Parliament in unprecedented number of times. Mr Zakaria has been reaching out to masses through his interviews on British television channels as well. In many other ways and through a variety of novel initiatives, the High Commissioner has effectively mobilised public opinion and created awareness of the issue of Kashmir. As a spokesperson also he had effectively campaigned for Kashmir and made it an essential part of weekly briefings.