2nd International Parliamentary Kashmir Conference
February 4, 2021
Centre for Strategic Perspectives, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) hosted the 2nd International Parliamentary Kashmir Conference today in collaboration with Jammu & Kashmir Self-Determination Movement International (JKSDMI) and Youth Parliament of Pakistan (YPP) to commemorate Kashmir Day.
The hybrid event brought together Pakistani policymakers, members of the Pakistan and UK Parliament, Kashmiri activists, and members of the Youth Parliament. Honorable Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the chief guest on the occasion. In a virtual address to the participants, the Foreign Minister said that since the brutal Indian siege of occupied Kashmir over the last eighteen months, the support for the people of Kashmir from across the board has been very praiseworthy. He said that the Kashmiri people are very resilient and determined despite the difficult circumstances. India, he said, has been involved in a disinformation campaign against Pakistan and the oppressed Kashmiri people. Pakistan is resolute in its support to the people of Indian occupied Kashmir and the victims of Indian state sponsored barbarism.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Director General, ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry congratulated the conveners of the conference and appreciated the efforts of all the concerned stakeholders in making efforts to highlight the Kashmir cause globally.
In his opening remarks, the guest of honor, Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir, said that we are grateful that we have young committed individuals who are keeping this cause alive with their efforts. He said that cultural and demographic terrorism is being carried out by the Indian government since the abrogation of Article 370 and introduction of other related amendments. He said that there was a need to engage parliamentarians and other related stakeholders as parliament, in a democracy, is the voice of the people. He said that as a guarantor of this multilateral issue, the barbarism being carried out by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir remains a test case for the UN and the international community.
In a video message, Senator Sherry Rehman reiterated that the lockdown in Kashmir since August 2019 strengthens our resolve to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir who continue to suffer at the hands of the Hindutva regime.
Speaking on the occasion over Zoom, several Members of the UK Parliament were unanimous in their views that trade with India will not be acceptable as long as oppression by India in Kashmir continues. All of them condemned the steps taken by India in August 2019 to introduce demographic changes in illegally Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. They also said that this was a day to renew our hope as the people of Kashmir are suffering for the last 70 years and that it is time that they get justice as generations of Kashmiris have suffered for decades with resilience and strong spirit. They also were of the view that the horrendous Hindutva ideology of the Modi government has been ruthlessly engaged in the abuse of civil liberties of Kashmiris by breaking laws and violating Geneva conventions.
Mr. Abrar ul Haq, Chairman Youth Parliament of Pakistan & Pakistan Red Crescent, also spoke at the occasion and said that with the resilience shown by the youth on both sides of Kashmir, freedom is not far. In his remarks, member of the National Assembly, Mr. Zain Hussain Qureshi said that for more than seventy years, India has been showing utter disregard of international law and has been oppressing Kashmiris with impunity. He pointed out the support of both the overseas Pakistanis and the Kashmiri Diaspora in raising awareness on the atrocities being committed by the Indian occupation forces.
The event concluded by a vote of thanks by the conveners of the conference, Ms. Yasmine Dar, Member, National Executive Committee of the Labor Party and Mr. Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman JKSDMI.