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August 6, 2020

Speakers discuss human rights violations in IOJK

Islamabad

August 6, 2020

Islamabad : Kashmir Issue has become an appalling human rights crisis that requires both attention and the active participation of the international community so that justice and freedom can be restored to Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

These views were expressed at a webinar organised by the Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) to explore the human rights crisis in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, marking the one-year siege since the Government of India revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, stripping the Muslim majority territory of Jammu & Kashmir of its autonomy. The illegal occupation and annexation of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) has been followed by a stringent lockdown, wide scale arrests, and an unprecedented communication blackout.

The webinar also featured live screening live screening of award winning powerful short film on the everyday struggles of Kashmiris in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir ‘Faryad: A Wail From Kashmir.’ The film screening marked the launch of ‘Reels for Rights’ digital human rights film festival organized by the MoHR with the support of European Union’s Huqooq-e-Pakistan Project. The film explores the intergenerational violence suffered by Kashmiris at the hands of the Indian Occupation Forces, by delving into the story of a journalist speaking out for the rights of Kashmiris. The film won the Award of Merit at the Indie Film Festival 2016 and the Best Film Award at the Los Angeles Film Fest in 2016.

The panel discussion explored how the situation in IIOJK has deteriorated in the last year, as well as how recent developments relate to International Human Rights Law. It was moderated by Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari. Panelists included Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary, Executive Director of Youth Forum for Kashmir (YFK) Ahmed Quraishi, Senior Partner of Mandviwalla & Zafar & Legal Consultants Syed Ali Mohammad Zafar and Director of the Conflict Law Centre (CLC) at RSIL Muhammad Oves Anwar.

Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari, highlighted the significance of the role played by Prime Minister Imran Khan in terms of changing the narrative of Kashmir amongst the International Community, by equating Modi’s human rights abuses and blatant refusal to comply with International Law, with Hitler’s Fascism.

Advocate Ali Zafar clearly stated that Pakistan’s case is based on self-determination and in today’s world that principle will win against arms and boots. He said that there has been a total denial of Justice for the past 7 decades, which has taken the basic human right to life away from the Kashmiris.

Oves Anwar shared a presentation exploring the issue through the perspective of international humanitarian law. He noted that India has been turned into a warzone where villagers are used as human shields and 100s of rape cases have been documented between1989-2017.

Ahmed Qureshi said that we have seen the narrative shift to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir from Disputed Kashmir. “There is now a sense of hope that we are in a state where the issue can be talked about in International Forums and it’s a good sign that the International Media has started to talk about and take notice of the Kashmir Issue,” he said.

In conclusion, Fawad Chaudhary said that there is a lot of support for Pakistan inside Kashmir, the Indian Army has committed numerous Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the next year is monumental for us as well as the Kashmiris.

Ijaz Masih emphasized that it had been seventy years since India has been committing human rights abuses in Kashmir and the Modi government has committed human rights violations that have affected women, children and the elderly.