“730 Days of Hell: Kashmir Under Siege”
August 4, 2021
“Kashmiris know how to sacrifice” This was stated by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Minister of Interior while addressing a seminar titled “730 Days of Hell: Kashmir Under Siege” organised by India Study Centre (ISC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad on August 4, 2021. The Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed went on to say that South Asia is going to be one very important region and Pakistan is going to play an important role . India wants to destabilise Pakistan. It has started hybrid war against Pakistan, particularly on media and social media. Some journalists were coming to Pakistan but India stopped them. Though, most of the Kashmiris don’t have access to internet or connection with outside world, still they are trying their best to fight their case both domestically and internationally. Prime Minister Imran Khan fought the case of Kashmir very courageously and he was supported by Turkey, Iran and Malaysia. OIC too has always extended its full support to the just cause of Kashmir. India is trying to rise economically, socially and politically, but without resolving the issue of Kashmir, India’s dream will not materialise.
Earlier the Director ISC in his introductory remarks highlighted the importance of the event and said that on August 5, 2019 India in a unilateral move revoked Article 370 and 35 A. This move brought with it a whole new level of atrocities against the Kashmiri people in the form of continuous curfew and an effort to change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir.
In his welcome remarks, the director General ISSI Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary said that in pursuit of Hindutva ideology and the desire to create a Hindu Rashtra, India decided to revoke Article 370 and 35 A. India also tried to divid the Gupkar alliance as no Kashmiri will ever accept attack on their identity. He also expressed his fear that in order to distract attention from the situation in Kashmir, India could resort to a false flag operation.
In a video message, Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, secretary General of OIC said the OIC always extended strong support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in many decisions at the Summit and resolutions at the Ministerial meetings. These decisions and resolutions are an expression of the Islamic world’s solidarity with the Kashmiri people in their struggle for the right of self determination.
Ambassdor Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to OIC said that OIC is the only organisation that has a special envoy for Kashmir. He said that the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers is slated to be held in Pakistan next year. Taking advantage of the occasion, Pakistan should come up with an action plan and look at the resolution 2334 of Security Council which on Palestine rejects the Israeli settlements on the occupied territories. Such an acknowledgement by the Security Council on the Kashmir issue is necessary.
In video message, Mr. Arif Hyder Ali, Co-Chair, Dechert LLP International Arbitration and Public International Law Group, USA presented four legal options that included a claim before a Conciliation Commission pursuant to the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discriminaton (the CERD Convention), second, a claim before the International Court of Justice (the “ICJ”) for violations of the Apartheid Convention, third, claims brought by a State partner of the Kashmiri people before the ICJ for discrete human rights violations in Kashmir based on the customary international law of human rights. Fourth option could be the possibility of international arbitration against India under a bilateral investment treaty.
Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Mushaal Hussain Mullick, Human Rights Activist said that after August 5, 2019, there was lot more media coverage of the Kashmir dispute but later the focus shifted towards the fight against Covid -19. Pre August 5, 2019, it was only Indian forces that were responsible for the misery of the Kashmiri people but now, Indian people are also snatching jobs and economic opportunities from the Kashmiri people.
Expressing his views, Mr. Jamal Aziz, Executive Director RSIL, Islamabad said that post August 5, 2019, there is greater realisation about the importance of law fare. However, he stressed that law fare cannot take place in a vacuum and it has to be a part of larger policy making.
Ambassador Arif Kamal also endorsed the fact that August 5, 2019 was an assault on the Kashmiri identity. Modi tried to create new realities. But this assault has been rejected by all in the valley.
Dr. Sheikh Waleed Rasul, Director General, Institute of Multi-Track Dialogue and Diplomatic Studies focused on the demographic trends in Jammu and Kashmir and expressed his concern that following August 5, 2019, it will not take long when the Muslim and Hindu population will be same.
The event was attended by people from different walks of life. The event was concluded with the resolve that Pakistan will stand firm with the Kashmiri people in their just fight for their right to self determination.