Maleeha slams Indian oppression in Kashmir

NEW YORK (Monitoring Desk) – Pakistan is pushing the international community to pressurize India into allowing the struggling Kashmiri people to exercise their U.N.-pledged right of self-determination through a plebiscite to pave the way for peace and stability in the region, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said.

Speaking at a large gathering of Pakistani and Kashmiri community members, she denounced the brutal tactics employed by Indian security forces in suppressing the mass uprising, and described the prolonged curfews in occupied Kashmir as “107 days of shame and infamy”.

More than 115 Kashmiri people have been killed and 15,000 more injured, with 150 permanently blinded by deadly pellet injuries in protests against the killing of the popular Kashmiri Youth leader, Burhan Wani.

“Under the direction and advice of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, we have raised and continue to raise the Kashmir dispute at all forms of the United Nations,” Ambassador Lodhi told the meeting held at Pakistan House to mark the anniversary of India’s massive invasion and occupation of Kashmir on 27 October 1947, known as “Black Day.”

She said the prime minister had set the pace when he addressed the UN General Assembly’s high-level session in September and made a clarion call for the grant of UN-pledged right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir and demanded an international probe into the atrocities let loose by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir.

The Pakistan delegation to the U.N. kept up the momentum by focusing the international community’s attention to human rights violations in Kashmir and the people’s struggle for freedom from Indian yoke, she said at meeting, which was organized by Pakistan Consulate General in New York.

“Today is not the only ‘Black Day’ in Kashmir—every day in Kashmir is black as long as the state is under occupation,” the Pakistani envoy said, adding that Pakistan would continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for self-determination.

She debunked the notion that Pakistan was isolated, saying such claims were made to demoralize the people. In this regard, she cited a resolution adopted by 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at foreign ministers level in Tashkent earlier this month. “Does this mean Pakistan is isolated,” she asked.
Ambassador Lodhi called on the doctors in Pakistani and Kashmiri community to volunteer their services to provide the much-needed treatment to the sick and wounded in occupied Kashmir. She also urged the community members to draw the attention of fellow American to the plight of Kashmiri people through all available means to build up public opinion here.

Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz gave background of the Kashmir dispute and reiterated Pakistan government’s pledge to extend its moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle to attain their fundamental rights.

Other speakers included Kashmiri activists Sardar Sawar Khan, a former member of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council, Dr Asif Rehman, Shafiq Siddiui, Imtiaz Guralvi, and Shafqat Tanveer .

They paid tributes to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to breathe new life into the Kashmir dispute. As part of those efforts, it was pointed out that he forcefully spoke out for the rights of the Kashmiri people in the General Assembly, and highlighted the issue during his talks with the world leader

They condemned the large-scale human rights violations taking place in Indian occupied Kashmir, and urged the international community to help resolve the dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, who must have a role in any talks between India and Pakistan to settle the dispute.

Todd Shea, an American who did relief work during the 2008 earthquake, also made a stirring call in support of Kashmiri people’s struggle for freedom.

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