Kashmiri Americans stood firm during heavy rain at historic Times Square in New York

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New York: (Parliament Times): Kashmiri Americans along with friends of Kashmir — men, women and children — staged a huge rally at historic Times Square, despite heavy rain, to commemorate the abrogation of Article 370 & 35 A and subsequently enactment of Domicile Law by RSS led Modi government. The participants condemned the Indian government’s attempts at changing the demographic status of Jammu & Kashmir by introducing politically motivated laws.

They also condemned the life imprisonment sentence of Indian special court in New Delhi against Muhammad Yasin Malik, one of the most prominent leaders of Kashmir, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. The participants were demanding United Nations –to assured right of self-determination. To the people of Jammu 7 Kashmir. Raising slogans of: ” “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir” “Demilitarize Kashmir” “U.N: Implement Resolutions on Kashmir” “India: Stop Genocide in Kashmir,” “Wake Wake: UN Wake Up”; “India Out Of Kashmir”; “We demand justice for Yasin Malik”; “India: Release all political prisoner.”, etc. The protest rally was initiated by JKLF, North America and endorsed by all political, civil and social organizations. Sardar Haleem Khan, Chief Organizer of the rally and President, JKLF, North America said that the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A was in violation of all United Nations Security Council resolutions. These resolutions were agreed upon by both India and Pakistan and endorsed by the world community.

The right of self-determination was enshrined in all these resolutions which remain unfulfilled until today. We appeal the United Nations Secretary General to persuade India to rescind all these illegal and unconstitutional laws without delay, Sardar Haleem Khan added. Sardar Haleem Khan reiterated that Yasin Malik is the symbol of nonviolence who tried his best for the last three decades to convince both India and Pakistan to initiate a peace process along with the Kashmiri leadership. He must be released unconditionally and without any delay. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum thanked the participants for expressing their solidarity with the people of Kashmir. He said that it is one thing to deny a people their right to freedom of speech and the freedom to vote. It is another thing to deny them the right to live. Fai added that there is no freedom in Kashmir.

Only death, destruction and oppression. Fai emphasized that Kashmir is facing worst kind of oppression unleashed by Indian army. Innocent people are being killed, maimed, blinded, incarcerated, tortured and humiliated by the occupational forces. India is using its military might to crush the peaceful resistance movement of Kashmir. And this all is being done with impunity. Fai expressed his sadness that no civilized nation, not even the United States seems to be concerned with the human rights atrocities being committed in this unfortunate land. Not a single word has been uttered by them against human rights violations taking place in Kashmir. Fai said that Kashmiri Americans still hope that the Biden administration can help the people of Kashmir to achieve peace, freedom and self-determination by initiating a peace process which will be all inclusive – India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership. Sardar Niaz Khan warned that the Kashmiri youth, who had laid down their arms to pursue their struggle by peaceful means, were again becoming restive and the prevailing tensions in occupied Kashmir might explode and lead to a conflict. He therefore urged the international community to resolve the Kashmir dispute for the sake of peace and stability in South Asia. Sardar Imtiaz Khan of New Jersey suggested that it is better for Indian authorities to shun its stubborn approach and resolve this long pending issue.

The Indian army is unleashing a new wave of terror, killing dozens and maiming hundreds of unarmed protesters, utilizing bullets and lethal pellet-guns aimed to kill and maim. Manzoor Hussian of DUNYA news said that the movement in Kashmir reverberates with cries of freedom and believes in a simple truth: a fair, impartial referendum in Kashmir. Attempts at delegitimizing the Kashmiri struggle have fallen entirely on deaf ears. No amount of wishful thinking has successfully persuaded growing international opinion that Kashmir was an integral part of any society other than its own. This belief is unshakeable, consistent and formidable. Sardar Haleem of New Jersey warned, if India or Pakistan or any other power would like to bring pressure on the people of Kashmir to capitulate, or to agree to any terms which will compromise their freedom, then any so-called peace process is foredoomed. The people of Kashmir wish to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind on that score. Aftab Shah hoped that the United States and the world powers will realize that what is at stake in the dispute is not only the peace in the region of South Asia but the peace in the rest of the world. Sardar Taj Khan warned that the overwhelming presence of 900,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces serves as a constant reminder to Kashmiris that they are a people subjugated and enslaved against their will. Every person has one or more tales of weeping and sobbing to recount. And their pain is compounded by the silence and indifference of the international community, especially from the United States, that beacon of human rights and civil liberties. Sardar Sajid Sawar Khan said that he believes that an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides.” Of course, the Indian government continues to ignore such calls for investigation, because it believes that such ruthless tactics are the only way to deal with opposition to its policies. Such policies are almost a guarantee that yet another great tragedy in the UN’s history will occur.

Dr. Shafiq said that the Kashmir dispute has an international dimension because it has the sanctity of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions and has become a big hurdle or obstacle in the growth and stability of both India and Pakistan. The unresolved conflict over Kashmir threatens the international peace and security of the world. It is far past time for the UN to take forceful action in order to restore peace to Kashmir. Raja Mukhtar said that to the horrors of the repression from which they suffer are added two other circumstances, each cruelly adverse. One is the apathy of the world outside, including the United States that otherwise are justly proud of their championship of democracy and human rights. The second is the fog of myths and evasive arguments, like Kashmir being an integral part of India. Shahid Comrade said that corporate priorities, international banking interests, and the needs of Wall Street have taken control of governments everywhere, particularly in both India and the United States. It is extremely difficult to see any value in even discussing human rights, because these have taken a backseat, if they even have been permitted a seat, at any discussions concerning national interest. Trade and commercial deals are important but not at the expense of the high moral ground American exceptionalism has always claimed. Moral values and human rights are the very essence of even being called civilized. Shahbaz Syed said that it is quite unfortunate that the United Nations has chosen to adopt India’s view that this is simply a bilateral issue. This is a political mask. And it is the Big Lie, and an extremely dangerous one.

Zainab Taj (7 years old student) said that the United Nations has the moral obligation to respond to the cries of children coming from the streets of Kashmir, Sobia (10 years old student) urged the United Nations Secretary General to use his good offices to bring peace to Kashmir. The participants unanimously adopted a resolution to convey to the Government of Pakistan that making Gilgat-Baltistan a province of Pakistan or changing the status of Azad Kashmir in any shape or form, will have disastrous consequences for the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Those willing to advance its cause among the international community will have lost a major ally. The rally ended after making dua’ for an early recovery of our beloved leader of New York Kashmiri American community, Sardar Sawar Khan Sahib. Others who spoke included: Sardar Vakil Akhtar; Haji Mohammad Shafi; Sardar Imtiaz Garalavi; Khawaja Zafar; Iftikhar Choudhry; Mehmood Bhatti; Ashraf Gulshan; Rashid Mehmood; Suhail Anwar; Mushtaq Khan; Raja Ahmed; Sardar Asim; Fazal Baig; Khan Saghir; Farooq Mirza; Khalid Awan; Mushtaq Ali Butt; Farooq Balouch; Sardar Zahid Khan; Mohammad Sabir Khan; Mehmood Akhtar Khan; Saghir Khan; Chowdhary Bilal; Mushtaq Butt; Khalid Mughal

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