Kashmiris demonstrate near Indian embassy in Washington DC


Date published: Tue, 8 February 22

WASHINGTON, Feb 06 (Associated Press Pakistan):Braving freezing temperatures, a large number of Kashmiris, Pakistanis and their allies Saturday staged a demonstration in front of the Indian embassy here at which speakers drew attention to the grave situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and urged the world community to implement the UN-pledged right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people.

Wrapped up in woolies, the participants raised vociferous and waved placards reading: “We Demand Human Rights”, “Wake up, wake up — UN — wake up”, “Indian army out of Kashmir” and “India: free Kashmir.”

The protest, marking Kashmir Solidarity Day, was organized by World Kashmir Awareness Forum, an advocacy group, and the Council for Social Justice of ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America).

The speakers urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to persuade India to rescind the Domicile Law designed to change Kashmir’s demography; release all political prisoners, including Yasin Malik, Khurram Parvez, Shabir Shah, Aasia Andrabi, Masarat Alam; repeal all special repressive laws; restore fundamental rights and freedoms, and create condition to allow the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, the forum’s chairman, said that a series of draconian laws enacted by the Indian government in Kashmir provide an enabling environment that encourages and even rewards human rights abuses by its military and paramilitary forces.

Despite the growing international awareness about India’s heinous crimes, New Delhi has kept on killing and torturing innocent civilians in Kashmir, and UN reports and those various international NGO’s testify the ongoing murderous campaign.

“UN Secretary-General Guterres – the custodian of human rights – cannot simply stand by and allow India to continue to kill, torture and maim the people of Kashmir in this way,” Fai said.

“This must not stand,” he added.

Fai said it was also incumbent upon the United States to take a leadership role in resolving the Kashmir conflict, adding Washington was in a position to resolve it.

Dr. Zahid Bukhari said that his organization has always supported the Kashmiri struggle for freedom against Indian occupation. “We are here today, on February 5th., to demonstrate our unwavering solidarity with Kashmiri people who are living in the largest open prison under the Indian military rule. The below freezing temperature of Washington, DC demands us to focus on the following three items with our boiling energy:

1- We have to use the word “Azadi” with Kashmir so persistently that it should become the English language word as the words “Intefada, and Insha’Allah” were accepted in the English language.

2- We should regularly contact our elected officials on Kashmir issue at all levels — city, county, state, and federal — including the congress members and Senators. The main talking point should be that Kashmir is more than a human right issue, it is a freedom struggle for 23 million Kashmiris. They are demanding their self-determination right according to the UN resolutions.

3- We should also appraise the Indian policy makers that it would be impossible for India to become a big-league player with its continuous cruel occupation of Kashmir. India may only achieve its dream if the Kashmiris enjoy living as free people.”