Keep Kashmir alive, Masood Khan urges community members, activists

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Masood Khan, Saturday called for “keeping the issue of Kashmir alive” at all forums, including the United Nations, despite the lack of adequate attention paid to it by the world community.

“Although we are passing through a very dark period of the history of Jammu & Kashmir– don’t lose heart,” he said in his remarks at a special event held to mark the fourth anniversary of India’s brutal siege of the disputed territory.

“Your despondency would also be weaponized by those who want to deny Kashmiris their right to self-determination,” the Pakistani envoy told the Pakistani-American diaspora, Kashmiris, members of civil society and human rights activists gathered to observe ‘Youm-e-Istehsal’.

Ambassador Masood Khan assured Kashmiris that the people of Pakistan were the custodians of their UN-pledged inalienable right to self-determination. The illegal and unilateral act of the Indian government of revoking special status of Jammu & Kashmir, he said, was driven by the fear of the international momentum towards a resolution of the decades-old dispute generated before August 2019.

The Pakistani envoy encouraged the youth to establish their own ‘information ecosystems’ to promote the Kashmir dispute.

“Today, the existing digital ecosystem was not so hospitable to the Kashmir issue because of the hostile forces. You need to have your own information ecosystem to highlight the right of self-determination,” he said.

Pointing out that Pakistan asked India to engage in a meaningful dialogue on the issues of concern between the two countries, Masood Khan, said, “There should be some resonance of reciprocity from New Delhi as well — It takes two to tango. It can’t be a monologue. It needs to be a dialogue,” he said.

Messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read on the occasion.

In his remarks, UK Shadow Minister for Legal Aid MP Afzal Khan said that Labour MPs have been urging their government to take action and to hold India accountable. He regretted that similar resolve which was shown by the international community in the case of Ukraine was missing towards Kashmir.

He urged the UK government not to abdicate its historical responsibility and to play its part in promoting sustainable peace and prosperity in the region.

Afzal Khan reiterated his commitment to continue striving for the people of Kashmir “till they achieve their rightful demand which is the holding of a plebiscite, according to UN resolutions.”

Human Rights activist Shamim Shawal highlighted the plights of Kashmiri youth especially the girls subjected to inhuman treatment. With the settlement of outsiders in Indian-occupied Kashmir, she said, the locals were being denied decent jobs leading to massive youth unemployment.

Ms.Shawal said that 9000 girls were missing since 2019 and 181 children were missing since 2022. Quoting figures provided by Indian Ministry of Women and Children Development, she said that 20,000 Kashmiris were languishing in jails.

The President World Kashmir Freedom Movement, Muzzamil Ayub Thakur , said, “We must learn to adapt and innovate. We must use every available mechanism to disrupt India’s insidious plans. Today, our remembrance should be a catalyst to act more efficiently and effectively for Pakistan, for Kashmir and for Islam,” Thakur said.

The Chancellor of East West University, Chicago, Prof. Wasiullah Khan, said that India from the day one had no intention to hold a plebiscite. He said that European model of cooperation could serve as a model for the Asian countries to cooperate and iron out their differences.

Senator Lt. General Abdul Qayyum emphasized that Pakistan and all peace-loving countries who wanted to make United Nations a success must work for a stronger U.N. that stand with all oppressed and suppressed nations.

Mohsin Ansari, President Islamic Circle of North America, offered continued support of his organization, the largest humanitarian organization in the Muslim world, for the people of Kashmir.

Dr. Imtiaz Khan of George Washington University said that the international community has an obligation to resolve the issue of Kashmir. He urged Muslim Ummah to collectively become the voice of Kashmiris and make efforts in support of their just cause.

The World Forum for Peace & Justice Chairman, Ghulam Nabi Fai, highlighted that Gregory Stanton, Founding President of Genocide Watch, had forewarned that Kashmir was on the brink of genocide.

He also recalled the statement of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres immediately after August 05, 2019, that the Kashmir dispute has to be settled in accordance with UN resolutions.

He urged the greater role of OIC countries in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Ambassador Masood Khan thanked the speakers for acknowledging the immense sacrifices of the people of Pakistan for the Kashmir cause.

Web Desk