Webinar on the occasion of Kashmiris' Right to Self-Determination Day

New York, 07 January 2022

Today, the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to United Nations (New York) organized a webinar to mark the completion of 73 years since the United Nations committed that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute would be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite by adopting resolution of 05 January 1949.

The webinar was moderated by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to United Nations, and featured other distinguished panelists including Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General Kashmir Awareness Forum, Ms. Victoria Schofield, a renowned historian, Mr. Muzzamil Ayuub Thakur, Director of the Justice Foundation: Kashmir Institute of International Affairs, Professor Halil Toker, Mr. Lars Rise, Norwegian Politician and Professor Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi among others.

In his keynote address, Ambassador Akram underscored that for the last seven decades India has denied Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination granted to them by the UN Security Council resolutions, including UNCIP resolution of 05 January 1949, which provided that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. He regretted that having accepted the principle of self-determination, India has since obstructed all attempts at holding a UN supervised plebiscite in violation of UNSC resolutions 47 (April 1948), 80 (March 1950), 91 (March 1951), 98 (December 1952), 122 (January 1957), 123 (February 1957), 126 (December 1957).

Briefing the participants, Ambassador Akram noted that since 5 August 2019, India gave up all pretenses and proceeded to outright annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir in what its extremist rulers have ominously called a "Final Solution" for Jammu and Kashmir. During the last two years, India imprisoned the entire Kashmiri political leadership; illegally detained 13,000 Kashmiri youth; tortured many of them; extra-judicially killed hundreds of young Kashmiri boys; used rape as a weapon of war; put down peaceful protests violently, blinding even young children with pellet guns; imposed collective punishments, by demolishing and burning entire neighborhoods and villages; and curtailed the freedom of religion and expression.

He underscored that Pakistan' strategy on Jammu and Kashmir was threefold a) raising the issue at all international forums; b) reviving the legitimacy of the Kashmir cause and c) to deter and prevent Indian aggression against Pakistan. He underlined that India's ploy to portray Kashmiri struggle as being externally sponsored was designed to enable the Modi government to delegitimize Kashmir cause. Therefore, one of the key objectives of Pakistan's foreign policy was to secure support within the capitals of the major countries which were partnered with India both strategically and economically to denounce the massive violations of human rights that were taking place in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He underlined that the Kashmiri and the Pakistani diaspora in the United States and Europe could play a major part in generating such a support.

Recalling the statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the General Assembly, Ambassador Akram noted that resumption of dialogue with India was contingent upon three conditions. The onus was on India to: a) reverse the unilateral and illegal measures instituted in IIOJK since 5 August 2019; b) stop its oppression and human rights violations against the people of Jammu and Kashmir; and c) halt and reverse the demographic changes in the occupied territory.

Other panelists also spoke about the history of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and fully supported the inalienable right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people. They called out the extremist "Hindutva' inspired RSS-BJP Indian government for denying the people of IIOJK their basic human rights through its long and cruel occupation which had brought unimaginable suffering to the Kashmiri people. They also highlighted how the illegal and unilateral Indian action of 5th August 2019, accompanied by a huge security clampdown in the occupied territory, a communications blackout, and an excruciating curfew and deployment of additional troops had turned IIOJK into world's biggest open-air prison. Mr. Raees warsi said his poetry and Ms. Muzdalfah presented Kashmiri youth's perspective in her remarks.

In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Munir Akram called on the international community to act in support of the fundamental freedoms and basic human rights of Kashmiris. He reiterated that Pakistan would continue to extend all possible support to the Kashmiris till the realization of their unalienable right to self-determination in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The webinar was watched by many people through live broadcast on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.