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(2017-10-01) A Forum on “Kashmir and Peace in South Asia” was hosted by the Shadow Attorney General Hon. Paul Lynch and the Kashmir Council of Australia in the Parliament House of New South Wales on 29 September 2017.

Senior Parliamentarians from different parties, including Senator Lee Rhiannon from the Greens Party and Mr. Nick Lalich, Opposition Whip and MP from New South Wales participated along with academics, scholars, teachers and members of Pakistani community.

The Participants expressed their serious concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoK). They called upon the government of Australia to address the plight of the innocent and defenceless against whom Indian occupying forces were perpetrating atrocities with impunity. The Participants called for an independent investigation into the gross human rights violations in IoK.

Dr. Ali Sarfaraz, President Kashmir Council, highlighted that Kashmiris were unanimous in their demand for self-determination. Strongly condemning the Indian atrocities, he urged the Australian government and international community to take steps for halting brutalities against oppressed Kashmiris of IoK. The Reverend David Khan, a Kashmiri, shared his personal experiences of the continuing human rights violations by the Indian occupying forces. Kyzer Trad, former President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, while deploring crimes committed against Kashmiris in IoK, termed the Australian businessmen’s economic ties with India as unfortunate. He called for investigation by the UN. Abbas Rana, President Pakistan Association of Australia, called upon the Government of Australia to adopt a bipartisan resolution on human rights violation in Kashmir.

High Commissioner, Naela Chohan appreciated the Organizers of the Forum for raising voice for the innocent and defenceless Kashmiris. She dilated upon the genesis of the Kashmir dispute, sacrifices of Kashmiris for their exercise of right to self-determination, as promised in the UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to extend its moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir, the High Commissioner called for an international investigation into India’s crimes in occupied Kashmir. The High Commissioner recalled Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi’s demand to the UN Secretary General and to the High Commissioner for Human Rights for an independent inquiry and appointing of special envoy. She hoped that the government of Australia would play its due role in upholding the UN Security Council’s commitment to the people of Kashmir for a fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices.

The event was a sign of International Community’s awareness of grave human rights situation in IoK, a condemnation of India for the atrocities perpetrated by its occupation forces and a message of hope for oppressed Kashmiris of IoK.

01 October 2017

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