Toronto:(Parliament Times) Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Kashmir has said that India must act on the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council report to stop rights abuses in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, allow international investigation by the proposed Commission of Inquiry and put an end to massive human rights violations by occupation forces.
The President made these remarks while addressing Canadian parliamentarians and prominent Pakistani-Canadians invited by Pakistan Consul General in Toronto, Mr. Imran Siddiqui.
The Canada Parliamentarians said that in the past scant attention had been paid by the Canadian Parliament to the human rights situation in Kashmir, but now with the deteriorating conditions, efforts would be made to develop a bipartisan focus to seek proper redress.
“It is time”, the President said, “India should take responsibility, accept the findings of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and take steps to cooperate in the conduct of an impartial international investigation of the human rights crisis in the occupied territory.”
He demanded that India’s unrelenting spate of killings, mass blindings by the use of pellet guns, arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances must be terminated. He added that according to Indian official accounts more that 6,221 Kashmiris have been injured by the pellet gun, out of which 17 have died and more that 200, including children, have lost their eyesight completely.
Appreciating Canada’s strong commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, the President appealed to the Western nations to cease appeasement of India, a practice that had emboldened it to commit crimes against humanity with impunity in the Occupied Kashmir. He also urged the international community to put pressure on India to repeal its two draconian laws – the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act – that were being used to brutalize the people of Kashmir.
The President lambasted restrictions imposed by the occupation authorities on Hurriyet leaders – Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Zafar Akbar Butt and Bilal Siddiqi – to prevent various events planned by the Joint Resistance Leadership on the eve of the second anniversary of Burhan Wani’s martyrdom.
Sardar Masood Khan also condemned the illegal detention of Chairperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Aasiya Andrabi, Nahida Nasreen and Fehmeeda Sofi on trumped-up charges. “They are human rights defenders, not criminals; they must be released.”
“Instead of subjecting peace activists to arbitrary detentions and torture, India should cooperate with the Human Rights Council in credible investigations of instances of sexual violence, including use of rape and molestation as an instrument of war, by the occupation forces and of unmarked mass graves, which are remains of forcibly disappeared Kashmir Muslims”, the President said.
He said that frequent communication blockades imposed by the occupation authorities combined with brutal cordon and search operations had turned Jammu and Kashmir into a virtual prison. “The irony is that Kashmiris have been turned into aliens in their own homeland.”President Masood Khan reiterated the resolve of the Kashmiris to win their freedom and get their right to self-determination; and underlined their conviction that the path towards resolution of the Kashmir dispute was dialogue and diplomacy, not India’s use of state terrorism.
Earlier in the day, the President offered his Jumma Prayers at the grand mosque of the Islamic Society of York Region and addressed a congregation of over 500. He appealed to the Canadian Muslims to help protect the rights of the Kashmiris and use Canada’s strong commitment to human rights and multilateral diplomacy to get justice for the Kashmiris. On the occasion, he also met Sheikh Talal, Imam of the mosque. Here in Toronto, President Masood Khan has also extensively engaged the Canadian media. He has addressed and briefed representatives of the print and electronic media about the prevalent human rights situation in IOK and has given an interview to the prestigious Synergy Journal.