ISLAMABAD - The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad held a seminar titled 'The Kashmir Issue' here on Thursday.
The seminar was addressed by members of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir including Dr Attiya Inayatullah, MNA-PML, Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel, ANP, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA, PML-N, as well as Akram Zaki, former Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador (Retd) Mohammad Saeed Khalid and Mr Yusuf Nasim, APHC (AJK chapter).
The event was organised to commemorate the Kashmir Solidarity Day observed every year on 5th of Feb. Welcoming the guests, the DG (ISS) Ambassador (R) Ashraf Jehangir said that Kashmir was number one issue of Pakistan's foreign policy. Pakistan will remain true to its principled stand but it must also be kept in mind that such policies are adopted that might help in making the lives of Kashmiri people easier - both in terms of human rights and prosperity. He then went on explaining Pakistan's contribution to the Kashmir cause starting from 1948 when as a result of a war with India, the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir came into being till the time when the policies of former President of Pakistan Gen Pervez Musharaf caused a great damage to the Kashmir cause.
Dr Attiyah Inayatullah, Member of Special Committee of Parliament on Kashmir, referred to the Kashmir struggle as the 'Kashmir Spring' but unfortunately, she alleged that the 'Kashmir Spring' has not been highlighted as the 'Arab Spring' had been on all the fronts. She articulated that this emerged in the summer of 2008 and built momentum in summer of 2009 and 2010. She said that people of Kashmir are being maltreated and thrown in jail by the Indian forces and the conditions have been worsened by the "Jail Bharo Tehreek" by Indians that resulted in harsh curfew and shot on sight orders. She said that the Kashmir struggle has always been non-violent but people of Kashmir have been inflicted with violence from Indian forces.
Speaking at the occasion, Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA, PML-N, and Member Kashmir Committee said that after the incidents of 9/11 and attack on the Indian Parliament, the international community had lost its interest in Kashmir. From 2008-2010 Pakistan had many opportunities to regain that focus but unfortunately, all those opportunities were lost. Today, it is felt that the Kashmiri issue is fading away. A lot of progress is being made between Pakistan and India in the areas of trade and economy, which is good, but at the same time Pakistan should make sure that the issue of Kashmir does not lose its importance. He also demanded that all draconian laws like AFSPA and Public Safety Act should be revoked.
Senator Haji Mohhammad Adeel, ANP, and Member of Special Committee of Parliament on Kashmir, while expressing his thoughts on the subject, said that Kashmir has been the unfinished agenda of the Subcontinent for years and it is still to be resolved. He said that in order for Pakistan to develop a stronger position on Kashmir, it should work to resolve the internal crisis. He said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved as per the will of the people of Kashmir.
Akram Zaki was of the view that although India has failed to hold plebiscite in Kashmir under UN Security Council resolutions, however, referendum is held every year as on August of 14, Pakistani flags are raised whereas on 15 August, there is hardly any Indian flag seen in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Yusuf Nasim, APHC (AJK Chapter), articulated that India has violated the UN Resolution and changed the demography of Kashmir across the Chenab River. He said that people of Kashmir have always stood with Pakistan's approaches and want peaceful resolution of Kashmir. He said that Pakistan should adapt a continuous policy on the issue of Kashmir and that the struggle for the independence of Kashmir would remain uninterrupted till victory.
Khalid Saeed, former Ambassador, while highlighting the concerns of international community regarding the massive abuses of human rights in Indian-held Kashmir urged the international community to assert its weight to promote a peaceful solution to the issue.