‘Incredible Response to the Million-Man-March’: Barrister Sultan
Keansburg, New Jersey: Addressing a huge gathering of friends of Kashmir in Keansburg, New Jersey, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, former prime minister of Azad Kashmir, announced a “Kashmir Million-Man-March” is being organized in New York on October 25 to pave the way for a just and durable resolution of the longstanding Kashmir dispute. He said the world community was concerned about the latest situation in Kashmir which can lead the whole region of South Asia to a nuclear disaster. The world powers, including the United States, are trying to persuade both India and Pakistan to resume the peaceful negotiation to settle all disputes, including the dispute of Kashmir.
Barrister Sultan urged the Pakistani and Kashmiri Americans as well as those who believe in human rights and human dignity to participate in the “Million-Man-March” to make it a success.
Speaking via Skype, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and the keynote speaker, expressed full support to the ‘Million-Man-March.’ He thanked the people in the audience for their show of solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their willingness to help the people of Kashmir to achieve their right to self-determination.
Mr Malik informed the audience about the latest human rights violations taking place in Kashmir. He said the PDP-BJP coalition government has handed over Jammu & Kashmir to chauvinists like RSS. He added that the coalition was directly responsible for the murder of innocent Kashmiri driver Zahid Rasool Butt who was attacked on October 9 by gangsters.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness and the Chairman of the event underlined that Kashmir was not a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad but an internationally recognized dispute and the dialogue process should include all the three parties – India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people. He added that in order to give Kashmiris what they demand - the right of self-determination – India must be persuaded to initiate a meaningful dialogue without any preconditions from any party.
Dr Fai emphasized that Kashmir was a flashpoint between India and Pakistan, two nuclear power states, and it deserved the attention of the world powers.
Sardar Sawar Khan, former advisor to the prime minister of Azad Kashmir said that it was our duty to support the people of Kashmir who are struggling to exercise their right of self-determination. The objective of our ‘Million-Man-March’ is to draw the attention of the world powers to the situation in Kashmir and to exert pressure on the government of India to resolve the dispute and to stop human right violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Dr Taqdees Geelani, a renowned scholar from Azad Kashmir, said that the resolution of the Kashmir issue could enable both Pakistan and India to spend their finite resources on the development of their people rather than on defense. She expressed her admiration to the Pakistani and Kashmiri American community for being the ambassadors of peace in the United States for the cause of Kashmir. She said that it is indubitable that the Indian army has committed thousands of human rights violations in Kashmir.
Dr Asif Rehman, a prominent Pakistani-American physician, explained the role of Pakistani-American physicians in mobilizing the community to volunteer for free healthcare clinics for all, irrespective of their religious affiliations. Dr Rehman said that the United Nations has a moral responsibility to persuade both India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir conflict through a meaningful dialogue.
Ishtiyaq Hameed, representative of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) said that the way the Kashmiri youth is confronting the Indian forces and turning the entire Kashmiri movement into a peaceful resistance not only impresses the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also the international community. He added that today the mantle of the freedom struggle of Kashmir has been successfully passed on to the younger generation and they are resolute and determined to take it to its logical conclusion.
Sam Khan, a compassionate conservative, who became the first South Asian candidate to run for Mayor in Edison, the 5th largest town in New Jersey, said that our objective should be to motivate our community to participate in the American public square and be active participants in the civic discourse or our neighborhood. That will undoubtedly promote better understanding of our community before the wider American audience. He urged the audience to become involved in the public offices at the local level. He said that the Kashmir dispute is about the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The people should be the makers of their destiny and not India or Pakistan.
Dr Zubair expressed his unconditional moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir for a just and peaceful solution to the long-standing dispute. Dr Zubair said that we stand should to shoulder with our Kashmiri brethren.
Dr Shahid Farooqi said that the main priority of everyone should be to attract attention to the issue and to put India in a position where it has to heed to popular will. He said the wars between India and Pakistan only result in problems for the people who live in the Kashmir region.
Sardar Zarif Khan said that the Indian army is responsible for many untold atrocities but one thing is quite clear that she could not break the will of the people for their right of self-determination.
Raja Kafeel Ahmed, Editor, Kashmir Link said the participation of Pakistani American community in highlighting the issue of Kashmir at the international level couldn’t be forgotten by the people of Kashmir. And they deserved the gratitude and appreciation of the people of Kashmir. He said the killings of innocent civilians in Indian occupied Kashmir must shake the conscience of all peace-loving people. He condemned the efforts to muzzle the press and expressed the need to restore the right to assemble and freedom of expression in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Mumtaz Khan urged the community to join hands to put an end to the atrocities in Kashmir. He felt the international community needs to pay attention to the situation in Kashmir which has been under occupation for the last 68 years.
Sidra Khan, a young Kashmiri American student recited a few verses from the Holy Qur’an.
Imtiaz Khan, the organizer and ‘Master of Ceremony’ thanked the participants for their continued support to the cause of Kashmir. Mr. Khan said Kashmiris desire peace, but peace with dignity and honor. He said no country has the right to decide the fate of Kashmir; it were the people of Kashmir who were granted the right to determine the political future through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite. The Indian military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir are using brute force to crush the genuine and legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir for freedom and self-determination.