Kashmiri Americans held a peace rally in front of the Indian Mission to the United Nations in New York City to ask the world powers, “Should India Get Away With The Flouting of International Agreements?” and “Should India Be Granted a License For The Genocide of the People of Kashmir?”
The demonstration was reverberating with the slogans of “Kashmiris Demand Right to Life.” Protesters were carrying placards demanding “Indian Army: Quit Kashmir”; “We Demand Self-determination”; “India Honor UN Pledges”; “Stop Killings in Kashmir”; “Stop State Terrorism in Kashmir”; “Kashmiris Demand Peace & Justice.”
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American council/Kashmiri Center said that we demand that Indian Government stop the killings and agree to an impartial investigation into the recent killings, and into the human rights violations ongoing in Kashmir for the longest time. To resolve this outstanding dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the international community and the leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir must be involved for lasting peace in South Asia.
Dr. Fai reiterated that the people of Kashmir demand an end to the military occupation of their land by India; and they demand what they have been pledged by both India and Pakistan and guaranteed by the Security Council, with the unequivocal endorsement of the United States demilitarization of Kashmir and a free vote organized impartially.
Fai reminded President Obama about his pledge that he gave to the whole world on September 25, 2008 that, “I will continue support of ongoing Indian Pakistani efforts to resolve the Kashmir problem in order to address the political roots of the arms race between India and Pakistan.” Fai emphasized that the people of Kashmir demand that India act as a democratic nation and respect the rule of law. They also demand that Kashmir’s right to self-determination be honored as an inalienable right.
Sardar Sawar Khan said that in the last two months over 60 people have been killed by the Indian armed forces in Kashmir in the massive riots that have taken place. This brutal murder of ordinary people must stop immediately. The armed forces have been silencing innocent Kashmiris from expressing their opposition to India’s occupation of Kashmir. More than four hundred political activists and entire leadership including Mian Abdul Qayyum and Shabbir Shah have been imprisoned in contravention of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hundreds have been detained or arrested including Naeem Ahmed Khan and Mohammad Yasin Malik. In such an atrocious atmosphere of trauma, horror and chaos, your government officials must not be delusional in vehemently declaring that everything is under control.
Hafiz Mohammad Sabir reminded those present that the Kashmir question is one of the oldest unresolved international problems in the world. The experience of nearly six decades has shown that it will not go away and that an effort is urgently required to resolve it on a durable basis. ‘Durable’, in this context is synonymous with ‘equitable’. It is imperative, whatever be the rights and wrongs in the equation as far as arguments go, real populations with a pronounced sense of identity of their own, with their suffering and their aspirations rather than just legal title and merit are involved.
Sardar Haleem Khan said that the real face of India is truly evident in Kashmir where the Indian Army, during the past 20 years, has killed over 100,000 men, women and children and tortured and maimed tens of thousands. Sardar Haleem Khan reminded President Obama what he said on October 30, 2008 that, “We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis.”
Others who were present included Dr. P. Mir, Mr. Aftab Shah, Sardar Zahid Hussain, Sardar Imtiaz Ahmed, Chowdhry Mohammad Ishaq, Sardar Niamat Khan, Malik Nadeem Abid, Choudhary Mohammad Akram.
The following Diaspora political parties showed unflinching faith in their goal for freedom.
Kashmiri American Council; All J & K Muslim Conference; Jammu Kashmir Peoples Muslim League; Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party; Peoples Party Pakistan AJK; Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front; Kashmir Mission; Jamaat-e-Islami, Azad Kashmir; and World Kashmir Freedom Movement.
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