|By: Ghazanfar Ali Khan|
Riyadh: Kashmir is the core dispute between India and Pakistan and unless it is resolved, durable peace in South Asia would remain elusive.
This was the central theme of the speeches delivered by a number of officials and Pakistani community leaders including Prince Abdulaziz bin Bandar M. Al-Saud and Pakistani Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan, who addressed a meeting convened here at the Pakistan Embassy auditorium Saturday to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day (KSD).
Prince Abdulaziz, chief guest, pledged support to the cause of Kashmiri people. Pakistan has been marking the day since 1990 to highlight the plight of people of Kashmir.
Speaking on this occasion, Ambassador Khan said, “It is the obligation of the world community to ensure a United Nations sponsored plebiscite in Kashmir according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir.” He said that the people of Kashmir must get their right to self-determination.
A cross-section of Pakistani and Kashmiri community of Riyadh and officials from the embassy attended the event.
Prominent speakers in the event were Ahmad Nawaz Baksh, a Saudi journalist; Abdul Malik Mujahid, chief of the Darrusalam Publishing House; Asghar Qureshi, a Pakistani businessman; Asif Qureshi, academician, and important community leaders Rana Khadim Hussain, Khalid Akram Rana and Reyaz Rathore.
Khan said, “Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan.”
He thanked the Saudi government and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for their support on the issue of Kashmir.
“It is our firm belief that when (the Kashmiri) people are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their cause, then nothing can stop them… and we Pakistanis are also ready to join this freedom struggle with our brothers,” he said.
The envoy recalled the genesis of Kashmir problem and said that the UN resolution, which calls for a referendum on Kashmir, is some 60 years old now.
He criticized the Public Safety Act enforced by India in occupied Kashmir, saying that this draconian law has been promulgated to torture and kill innocent Kashmiri people.
“The gross and systematic abuse of human rights… in Kashmir must end,” said the envoy.
Saudi journalist Baksh said, “We have taken serious note of the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir.” He said, “more than 100,000 Kashmiris had been killed by Indian troops in Indian-held Kashmir so far.”
Mujahid called to step up pressure on the government of Pakistan and other Islamic countries to take up the situation in Jammu and Kashmir seriously with the international community.
He also proposed to set up a network of Saudi and Pakistani NGOs, which are active in the Kingdom on the issue of Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Rathore said that 800,000 Indian soldiers remain stationed throughout the year in Kashmir alone to kill the innocent protesters.
Qureshi appealed to the international community to help Kashmiris in their struggle for freedom.
The meeting concluded with adoption of a resolution whereby the Pakistani and Kashmiri Diaspora undertook to make every effort to project the need for an early just settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
A resolution was adopted to call on multilateral and UN organizations including OIC to exert pressure on India to solve Kashmir problem.