Remarks by Mr. Sajid Bilal, Minister, on the Occasion of the “Black Day”

Remarks by Mr. Sajid Bilal, Minister, on the Occasion of the “Black Day”

We are gathered here today to observe Black Day to express solidarity with our Kashmiri brethren and to protest against the most recent reign of terror unleashed by the Indian Security Forces in occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

We salute the people of Jammu & Kashmir who continue to render huge sacrifices for their just cause of freedom from Indian occupation. We must remind the international community that it was India which went to United Nations with the Kashmir dispute and it is that country which brazenly continues to defy UNSC Resolutions calling for an impartial plebiscite in the occupied territory.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

The question of Jammu & Kashmir is not about territory. It is about a peoples’ inherent right to self-determination.

The people of Jammu & Kashmir are still awaiting to exercise their right to self-determination through a free and fair plebiscite, promised to them by the international community. India has made a mockery of the solemn pledges that its leadership had made to the international community and the people of Kashmir to allow them to choose their destiny.

In the absence of any moral or legal authority to rule Kashmir, India has relied on torture and terror against the hapless Kashmiris. The only fault of the Kashmiris is their refusal to surrender the subjugation.

The recent upsurge in the state sponsored violence against innocent civilian protesters in Indian occupied Kashmir has further exposed the tyrannical rule that India has exercised in Kashmir for the past almost seven decades, in shameful violation of a number of UN resolutions. Grave human rights violations have become a norm for Kashmiris, especially since 1989.

After the martyrdom of Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani on 8th July 2016, the people of Kashmir turned in thousands to attend his funeral prayer and to protest Indian oppression. Wani’s death was yet another example of the extra-judicial murders that Indian security forces have committed.

Refusing to address their legitimate grievances and unable to placate the aggrieved Kashmiris, Indian army and para-military forces resorted to killing the civilians. More than 40 innocent Kashmiris have died and thousands are injured, dozens critically, since Wani’s martyrdom. Most reprehensible has been the use of disproportionate force by Indian forces against women and children.

150 of those injured have lost their eyesight on account of pellet gun wounds, the preferred weapon of mass shooting by the Indian occupation army. Civilians are shot above waistline to ensure maximum damage.

In an effort to hide its atrocities, India has imposed a complete media blackout in Kashmir. Copies of newspapers have been confiscated, media offices sealed and journalists arrested. To muzzle the voice of oppressed people, internet and mobile phone services have also been suspended.

Even doctors and patients have not been spared in attacks on hospitals and ambulances by Indian security forces. In blatant violation of democratic norms, India has rounded up a large number of political workers during the current reign of terror. Needless to emphasize that the Hurriyat leaders who are the genuine representatives of Kashmiri aspirations have endured almost perpetual detention by Indian authorities.

To perpetuate its reign of terror, India has imposed a stifling curfew, which has been rejected by people of Kashmir.

The international community must take notice of the culture of impunity, grave human rights violations and state-sponsored terror nurtured by India throughout its illegal rule in Jammu & Kashmir.

It is high time that the international community focused on the nuclear flashpoint in South Asia, which is one of the biggest threats to peace and security in South Asia.

The presence of 700,000 Indian occupation forces in Jammu & Kashmir for the last many decades and commission of unspeakable human rights violations against millions of innocent Kashmiris cannot serve the cause of international peace and security.

The only acceptable solution to this unspeakable human tragedy lies in the just resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and according to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Pakistan stands with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. They are a great and resilient people. They have consistently refused to waiver under the most adverse of the circumstances. A countless brave Kashmiri men and women, children and elders have laid down their lives embracing Shahadat for the cause of freedom.

Ladies & Gentlemen

Pakistan would continue to seek peaceful resolution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. We have consistently emphasized the need for dialogue with India. Unfortunately, India refuses to engage in a Comprehensive Dialogue with Pakistan. That implies, that they refuse to learn from history that reliance on brute force to suppress the sentiment of freedom has never succeeded. Despite Indian intransigence, Pakistan would continue to pursue a policy of peaceful neighborhood in South Asia. We strongly believe that the Jammu & Kashmir dispute lies at the core of all the problems besetting South Asia.

We strongly believe that the peoples of South Asia would hugely benefit from the lasting peace between India and Pakistan. And this could only be achieved by addressing the core issues and not by shoving them under carpet. Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif has once again reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering resolve to continue to support their Kashmiri brethren morally, diplomatically and politically in their just struggle for right to self-determination.

Let us pray for the Shuhada as well as for the injured living in the most adverse conditions in the Indian occupied territory.

July 20, 2016
Washington D.C

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