REMARKS – Rounds Table with Experts on “Kashmir Crisis: A Way forward”

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Rounds Table with Experts on “Kashmir Crisis: A Way forward”

October 09, 2019

Honourable President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan,

Gen. Agha Mohammad Umar Farooq, Gen. Naeem Khalid Lodhi

Distinguished Participants,

Worthy Guests,

May I extend to you all, a very warm welcome on behalf of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

We are pleased to host this important round table with prominent experts and opinion leaders on a topic that continues to cause deep grief to Pakistanis and the people who care.

The brutal Indian lockdown in IoK is now 66 days old. The humanitarian situation has deteriorated immeasurably. Indian government has violated domestic and international laws and all norms of civilized behavior. There are now growing voices by international humanitarian organizations, global media and prominent politicians around the world against Indian lockdown in the occupied Kashmir.  Most notable are UNSC and some of its permanent members, Human Rights Council, US and UK legislators, and a growing body of prominent personalities like Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia. The question is why is it that Modi’s India is continuing to ignore these voices of sanity and deep concern over the plight of Kashmiris? How long will these atrocities continue? And what would happen when India faces the consequences of its gross excesses in Kashmir.

The global conversations on Indian actions in occupied Kashmir have exposed the false Indian narrative of Kashmir being an internal issue. Alas, the Indian leadership has pulled wool over its ears and is unable to see the logic of reason and power of inalienable rights. No nation can suppress a people for so long; that what’s history tell us.

Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts for the Kashmir cause have been vital to these global conversations. The brutalities, the atrocities, gross human rights violations would grieve any heart. But the heartless in BJP fold remain adamant. What would it take for them to know that Kashmiris are a resilient people? They know how to protect their identity, their Kashmiriat.

Slowly, but surely, pressure is building up on Indians to reverse its brutal occupation of IoK. Pakistan has shown that they stand firmly with their Kashmiri brothers. It is important that the international community also rises to stop a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in IoK.

          This roundtable has been organized to deliberate on how could the Kashmir crisis be resolved. We need new and crafty ideas to better shape the narratives in the service of the Kashmir cause.

          Today we would hear views of prominent Kashmiri civil society groups as well as media representatives and opinion leaders from across Pakistan and abroad. We are truly honoured that the Honourable President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is with us to share his thoughts.

          I look forward on hearing valuable thoughts of our learned participants.

          Thank you.