Lahore: US President Biden pleaded the case of Bosnia in the US Senate and declared the situation there as genocide. The current situation in Kashmir is no different than the situation of Bosnia in 1995.
These views were expressed by Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary general, World Kashmir Awareness Forum, during a webinar titled “Violations of Human Rights in Kashmir and the Role of Media” organised by Human Rights Department of Punjab University.
The webinar was also participated by Professor Dr Niaz Ahmed Akhtar, vice-chancellor, Panjab University; Dr Abida Ashraf, chair, Human Rights Division, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary general, World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Professor Faizul Haq, State University of New York, Dr Muhammad Khan, International Islamic University and journalist Sheikh Tajammul Islam.
Dr Niaz Ahmed Akhter formed a steering committee to pursue the cause of Kashmir both nationally and internationally. Dr Faizan Haq said raising Kashmir issue at global level is important. “This is where we need to connect all the dots from personal level to political level,” he said. The strategic goals require a thought-out plan for the narrative, expressions, and political positioning for the sake of elevating Kashmiris and their lives.
Dr Haq proposed initiation of ‘Kashmir Cause Awareness Coordination Committee’ that will strategise all awareness efforts to achieve and measure effect of actionable items. India’s economic well-being must be directly connected with granting Kashmiris their rights according to the UN resolution, he said.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai said that Kashmir conflict has many dimensions, “Political, diplomatic, humanitarian. But the goal of all these dimensions is just one: to have a greater understanding of world powers to help us exercise the right to self-determination as was guaranteed under UN Security Council resolutions. The most crucial elements that can facilitate that understanding is the media. As Marshal McLuhan has said that the medium is the message. It is a fact that the media becomes instrumental in shaping the foreign policies of world powers.”
Fai added, “a timely editorial or article, even a letter to the editor in a major newspaper can influence the outcome of a Congressional debate or encourage a shift in the policy of the administration.
“I must write what is in my mind. As God has not created anything stronger than the word. Words are the ultimate form of communication. From perception to reality, from inception to existence, from thought to theory, its words that take us places,” Dr Fai said.
“Unfortunately, both Obama and Trump administrations favoured India over the people of Kashmir. They did not protest at the United Nations Security Council over India's violations of human rights or its plebiscite resolutions. That was tantamount to acquiescence in India's illegal claim of sovereignty over Kashmir. They gave India a veto over any third-party intervention knowing it would be employed to the disadvantage of Kashmiris,” Fai said.
Fai expressed hope that US President Biden has always been very sensitive to the human rights violations across the globe. Biden pleaded the case of Bosnia in the US Senate and declared the situation there as genocide. The current situation in Kashmir is no different than the situation of Bosnia in 1995. “Let us hope that the saner elements in Biden administration realise that resolution of Kashmir dispute will unlock another tragic situation which we know as Afghanistan,” he said.
Prof Abida Ashraf, professor of communication at Punjab University, said, “We can bring about change in public opinion only with coordinated efforts.”
Sheikh Tajammul Islam said after abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A, the so-called accession of Kashmir became annexation. Legally speaking it is now total occupation. More so, India would like to impose its will on the hapless people of Kashmir through draconian laws which have given total impunity to Indian army in Kashmir. The reports issued by international NGOs testify to the fact that Indian army is involved in crimes against humanity. It is the moral duty of the world powers to bring the criminals of these war crimes before International Criminal Court.
Sheikh Tajammul Islam emphasised that there is absolutely no doubt that Indian media is not only dominated but also controlled by fascist ideology of RSS and BJP. It needs to be exposed before the world community. He said that despite all these atrocities committed on the innocent people of Kashmir, the people of Kashmir have never resigned to the military occupation of India.
Dr Muhammad Khan said that the people of Kashmir are facing atrocities which are unparalleled in the region of South Asia. Three nuclear powers, India, Pakistan and China in the region share borders. India is fighting with China on one side and with Pakistan on the other and making it the most dangerous place on earth and nuclear flash point.
He emphasised that the demand of the people of Kashmir has international legitimacy. The right to self-determination was guaranteed by the United Nations as early as 1948. The world body has yet to fulfill those promises.
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