The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Webinar on Illegal Use of Pellet Guns in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir on June 26, 2020 to mark the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture. The webinar brought together distinguished speakers and legal experts on the issue. Ambassador Zahoor Ahmad, Additional Secretary (Asia-Pacific), Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the Chief Guest at the occasion. The panelists included: Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, President, Research Society of International Law (RSIL) and former federal Minister for Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights, Barrister Ali Sultan, Vice-President, RSIL and Dr. Andreea StoianKaradeli, an independent expert, on Human Rights and National Security, Istanbul.
In his welcoming remarks, Director Research ISSI, Mr. Najam Rafique stated that even as Kashmiri dispute lingers on as longest unresolved disputes at the United Nations Security Council, Indian occupation forces have carried out systemic state terrorism and brutal killings to quell the struggle and agitation of the people of the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir for the exercise of the right of self-determination. The Indian brutality in Kashmir and torture of men, women and innocent children is not a new phenomenon but many new dimensions have been added among others the growing use of pellet guns against unarmed civilians who dare to raise their voices against the illegal Indian occupation of their land. Thousands in Indian Occupied Kashmir have been blinded by the increasing use of pellet guns which has left severe psychological trauma among the Kashmiris in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Quoting a survey conducted in a government medical college in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Najam Rafique stated that it was found that 85 percent of the people blinded by pellet guns exhibited severe psychiatric disorders with high suicidal tendency. It is also evident from the fact that this weapon is not used anywhere else in India but only in Kashmir. He said that it is encouraging that the use of the pellet guns by Indian armed forces has not gone unnoticed and there have been concerns raised by the United Nations Secretary General, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Amnesty International on this issue, and who have called upon New Delhi to immediately end such practices. The dream of peace and prosperity of this region will remain elusive as long as India is accorded a free rein to carry on with its brutal tactics.