Islamabad, September 19 : Speakers at a webinar have strongly condemned the Modi-led fascist Indian regime for the unabated and systematic human rights violations in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The webinar “Half Widows; a unique phenomenon in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, was organised by Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) in Islamabad. Moderated by the KIIR Chairman, Altaf Hussain Wani, the webinar was participated by British and European parliamentarians, human rights defenders, former diplomats and experts.
Distinguished panelists including Barrister Margaret Owen, Julie Ward, Raja Afzal Khan, Dr Shahid Amin Malik, Ambassador Nadeem Malik, Ms Sehar Shah (daughter of senior APHC leader Shabbir Ahmed Shah), Duke Salman Ilyas Khan, Prof Shagufta Ashraf and Ms Shani Hamid on the occasion highlighted the plight and unending miseries of the half widows who despite the passage of several years were still wandering from pillar to post to trace the whereabouts of their missing husbands.
The speakers called upon the international community particularly the United Nations to hold India accountable for the heinous crimes being committed by its armed forces in IIOJK.
In his opening remarks the KIIR Chairman, Altaf Hussain Wani, gave a detailed account of the problems faced by the families of victims of enforced disappearances in IIOJK, especially the Half-Widows, whose number has swelled to over 5,000.
Referring to the causes of human rights violations particularly the forced disappearances in the territory, he said that denial of right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir by the Indian government was the main reason behind the heinous crimes being carried out by the Indian forces in IIOJK.
Citing different reports released by the international and local human rights watchdogs, he said, “These reports vindicate our stance besides reflecting the fast-growing realization at global level about the dire human rights situation in IIOJK.”
The panelists, while expressing serious concern over the simmering situation in the occupied territory, condemned the Indian government for the gross and systematic human rights violations committed by its forces in Kashmir and urged the United Nations and international community to take cognizance of the matter.
Referring to the plight of victims of enforced disappearances and Half Widows, the speakers said, to bring the matter to international limelight, there is a dire need to build an international alliance and use all available mechanisms to highlight the issue vociferously both at regional and international levels.
The speakers felt the need for sharing knowledge about the issue with international organizations, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to sensitize the global community. They also condemned the ongoing spree of custodial killing in IIOJK and termed the Modi-led government in India as an authoritarian and fascist regime, which, they said, have broken all records of brutalities in the occupied territory.
The panelists demanded early release of all Kashmiri political prisoners, activists, academics and journalists and also condemned the India’s 5th August 2019 actions, continued military siege and internet blackout that have affected each and every sphere of life in the territory.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Seher Shah apprised the participants of the pathetic plight of Kashmiri detainees languishing in jails of India and the occupied territory. She said, “My father had spent 33 years in Indian prisons just for championing the legitimate cause of Kashmir and Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination, despite various serious ailments, he is still in New Delhi’s Tihar jail for last three years.” She said that as Kashmiri prisoners were held away from their homes, their families continue to face many hardships in meeting them.
Referring to the cheap tactics being used by the Indian government, she said, “To harass and intimidate our family, the Indian government has been trying hard to implicate my mother in a fabricated case”. She said, “My mother is being served notices in false cases, I fear she might be arrested.”
The speakers observed that Kashmiri Diasporas around the world could create a meaningful impact through International mass mobilization. In the era of digital warfare, they said, “Effective use of the social media can be instrumental in sensitizing the world which has turned a blind eye towards the systematic genocide of Kashmiris for the last over seven decades.”
Regarding the Half Widows of Kashmir, Barrister Margaret Owen highlighted her work done in this area and expressed solidarity with the women who have suffered all forms of brutalities at the hands of Indian forces.
About the empowerment of women, the panelists said that the role and visibility of women in key decision-making positions could also play a major role in different international organizations to save the interest of women who are the victims and disproportionately affected by the armed conflicts.
The speakers stressed the need of establishing international network, comprising governments, politicians and civil society to ask their governments to mount pressure on India to immediately stop the human rights violations in IIOJK and resolve the dispute in line with the United Nations resolutions.