International Community shall commit to end India’s use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in IIOJK, experts assert while commemorating Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day
Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK) and Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolutions (IICR) organized a roundtable debate titled Targeting Vulnerable Groups as a Weapon of War: India’s Abuse and Impunity in Kashmir. Every year on 23 February Kashmiris throughout the world along with the survivors of Kunan Poshpora mass rape in IIOJK organize acts of resistance, remembering, and contemplating in commemoration of the horrific rape and torture of women in twin villagers in district Kupwara, north of Kashmir. The survivors of these atrocities continue to fight for justice and recognition even in the face of overwhelming odds. The fact that they are still seeking legal recourse is a testament to the power of the law as a form of archiving memory, as well as to their own resilience and determination. The expert speakers for the roundtable discussion included Ms Mushaal Hussain Malik, chairperson Peace and Culture Organization; Ms Farzana Yaqoob, Former Minister of Social Welfare and women development AJK; Dr. Salma Malik, Professor at the department of Defense and Strategic Studies Quaid e Azam University Islamabad; Dr. Waleed Rasool, Lecturer, International Relations at Riphah International University and Ms Urooj Raza Sayyami, Political Assistant to Ex-Chief Minister Punjab on Human Rights.
The roundtable conference was moderated by Ms Neha Ayub, Research Scholar, Centre for International Peace and Stability, NUST.
Ms Urooj Raza Sayyami expressed her serious concern about the role of media towards Jammu and Kashmir. She stated that India is illegally using weapons and are violating the human rights in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. People are not aware about the situation of Jammu and Kashmir all because of the silence of Media. She stated that media and international organizations must come forward and full fill their duty. India has not only abrogated the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir but they are snatching the jobs and property rights from the people of Kashmir. Moreover she stated that it’s the need of the time Pakistan being a party to dispute must come forward and raise voice for Kashmir on international forums and seek opportunities to highlight the violence perpetrated on defenseless Kashmiri’s.
Ms Farzana Yaqoob while expressing her views on the topic said that it’s the responsibility of the state to raise voice for the oppressed and depressed people of Jammu and Kashmir. She stated that Kashmir women have been facing worst kind of abuses. Kunan Poshpora is world’s worst rape incident and Kashmir is the only part of world where half widows are found. Innocent Kashmiris have the right to defend themselves in a state of war, she further added.
Dr. Waleed Rasool while delivering his speech stated that stupidity is declared as patriotism and nationalism as terrorism. He stated that all the brutalities that are going on in Jammu and Kashmir is legal according to Indian constitution. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are powerless. Occupational forces have been given unlimited powers to use force. He expressed his serious concern about the flaws in international laws and silence of Muslim states particularly the signatories of UN and UDHR. It’s not possible for Kashmiri people to get remedy in occupation where the laws are against them. He stated that India has failed to win hearts of Kashmiri people and are only controlling the land. We must use digital platforms to create awareness among the people throughout world.
Ms Mushaal Hussain Malik highlighted the issues of Kashmiri women and expressed that the women in Kashmir are living under constant fear. Despite the threat of being abused or humiliated, they are playing an important role in freedom struggle of Kashmir. There are huge number of Kashmiri women living in refugee camps in Azad Kashmir who have faced worst kind of abuses by Indian occupational forces. We must present those cases at international forums and make joint petitions and educate people.
Dr. Salma Malik highlighted the rape cases of Kashmiri women committed by Indian occupational forces especially the Asiya and Nelofar case, Asifa case and many other cases. She stated that there are hundreds of cases which are unknown to the world. Everything is available on google but unfortunately actual facts of Kashmir are missing.
She further underscored that the overall situation in Kashmir requires imperative, comprehensive and lasting solution that respects the rights and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. This will require a commitment to ending the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, as well as greater accountability for those who have committed such acts. It will also require a recognition of the unique cultural and political context of Kashmir and a commitment to finding a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict.
At the conclusion of the working session of the Round Table Conference, an exhaustive factsheet report by Legal Forum for Kashmir titled “The Great Land-Grab: Disempowering People in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir” was also launched. The factsheet report exposes India’s systematic settler colonial program in IIOJK on the lines of Israeli model in Palestine.