It is imperative to understand that when India undertook its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, it not only violated the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir, international law as well as its own constitution; it in fact, also tried to extinguish the very identity of the Kashmiri people and the concept of ‘Kashmiriyat’.
India hoped that by arbitrarily tampering with the demographic integrity of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, it could dampen the spirit of the Kashmiri people or at the very least, make them compromise on their legitimate right to self-determination. On both counts, India has abjectly failed. The international community, the human rights organizations, international media and the civil society have all called India out on its tyranny. Protests have been held in nearly all major cities in support of the Kashmiri people.
The United Nations and major world leaders have stood by the Kashmiris in condemning Indian actions and the United Nations Security Council has discussed the issue of Jammu & Kashmir three times during the past 6 months. The international community must do more to support the people of Occupied Jammu & Kashmir in this time of trial and tribulation. Each additional second on the lockdown clock is a burden on the world’s collective conscience.
The international community must act in support of the fundamental freedoms and basic human rights of Kashmiris and urge India to allow the UN Fact-Finding Mission to IOJ&K to ascertain the reports of grave human rights violations there. India must allow United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) unhindered access to carry out its duties in IOJ&K.
If India has nothing to hide, it must allow international media and civil society to visit and report on the human rights situation in IOJ&K. In the end, let me reaffirm Pakistan’s unstinted political, diplomatic and moral support for the valiant Kashmiri people in their just struggle for human dignity and their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Pakistan Mission Islamabad Celebrates “KASHMIRI SOLIDARITY DAY “
Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations today organized a photo exhibition in solidarity with the Kashmiri brothers and sisters, says a press release received here today from New York. The event was held in a virtual and hybrid format in view of COVID-19 restrictions. All the proceedings of the event were broadcasted live on Twitter.
The ceremony began with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an. A message of Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Munir Akram was broadcasted. In his message on the occasion of Solidarity Day, he expressed his unwavering support to the Kashmiri brothers and sisters who have been fighting against the brutal occupation for seven decades. “We salute their unparalleled bravery.” Ambassador Munir Akram said, “The heart of Pakistan is Kashmir. In Pakistan, ‘K’ means towards Kashmir. Pakistan’s dream is incomplete without it.” “The people of Pakistan have always stood firm with their Kashmiri brethren against Indian atrocities and aggression.” The deployment of more than 900,000 Indian troops has made IIOJK one of the most militarized areas in the world, he said.
In his message, Munir Akram said that “Since 05 August 2019, India has turned 8 million Kashmiris into prisoners in their own land through the deployment of over 900,000 occupation troops. History has few precedents of such suffocation and violation of the fundamental rights at this scale. For over 500 days, India has imprisoned all Kashmiri political leaders, illegally detained 13000 Kashmiri youth, tortured many of them, summarily executed young boys, put down protest violently, including the use of pellet guns against peaceful protestors and imposed collective punishment by demolishing homes and burning entire neighbourhood and villages”. “The Permanent Mission of Pakistan remains the voice of the Kashmiris at the UN and other international forums.
We have urged the international community to play its role in ensuring respect for the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people and averting grave risks to global peace and security posed by India’s belligerent rhetoric and aggressive action. Through these persistence diplomatic efforts and under the guidance of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Kashmir issue is once again re-internationalized”: said the Ambassador. “Kashmir issue is once again re-internationalized. It’s under active consideration of the UN Security Council.
UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly, High Commissioner for Human Rights and other high-ranking UN human rights experts and Special Rapporteurs have on numerous occasions expressed grave concerns over India’s massive atrocities and crimes in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. During its recent meeting in Niger, the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers have reaffirmed its unwavering support to the legitimate Kashmiri struggle”: Ambassador Munir Akram said. “The day is not far when the people of Kashmir will be able to free themselves from the yoke of Indian occupation. Unity of purpose and a single-minded determination of the Kashmiris remains the biggest strength of the Kashmiri struggle” he concluded with the note of hope.
Later a documentary on the struggle of Kashmiris was shown at the event. A digital album titled: Kashmir: between resistance and resilience, a collection of photographs featured in international media. The album features photographs and impressions taken by Kashmiri and international reporters and photojournalists based on the struggles of Kashmiris, their plight and their current situation.
Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Amir Khan expressed his views in his closing remarks. Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris in his address, Aamir Khan said, “Today is a day to recognize the legitimacy of the Kashmiri freedom struggle in the face of Indian brutality, occupation and state-sponsored terrorism in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir; to express our unstinting solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters; to underscore India’s consistent and blatant disregard of the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and its obligations under international law”.
“As members of the Pakistan Mission to the UN, we are at the forefront of the Kashmiri struggle for freedom. The legal and moral case of our brethren pivots around our representation. In line with the directions of our leadership, wishes of the Pakistani people and the aspirations of millions of Kashmiris, we must continue to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to highlight all aspects of the Kashmir dispute. This is not only our national duty but also a prerequisite of our Imaan”: he said. “We reiterate our collective resolve and commitment to extend full moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir” he concluded. At the end of the ceremony, a special prayer was offered for the liberation of Kashmiris.
Strategic Importance of Kartarpur Corridor
With Pakistan and India making history with groundbreaking Ceremony of kartarpur corridor on both sides of International Boundary to facilitate the people by giving access to Sikhs of India to Baba Guru Nanak Gurdwara- the founder and spiritual leader of Sikhism. Imran Khan conducted Groundbreaking Ceremony of Kartarpur on 28th November in a huge gathering attended by a delegation from India including Navjot Sidhu.
As an agreement, Pakistan will build a corridor of 4 Kilometer up to International boundary and India will build the same from Gurdaspur to International Boundary of just 2 Kilometers.
Apart from a Religious point of view, the corridor will serve a vital role for Trade and Economic relations and improve ties between two hostile Nations for seven decades. The Kartarpur corridor has strategic Importance and can go a long way bringing two countries closer to Diplomatic Dialogue since both countries may turn over a new leaf to build the strong ties and bury the hatchet to spread love and bring peace in the region.
Ever Since Indian Former cricketer Navjot Sidhu Visited Pakistan on the Good Will gesture and bringing in the Message of Peace and Love from India in the Official Invitation from Imran Khan to participate in his oath-taking ceremony, he was warmly welcomed by all including Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa. Sidhu appeared very optimistic about the Growing friendly ties between the two countries and bringing the message of love and Peace for the people of Pakistan.
The Army chief General Qamar Jawed had a big hug with Sidhu and offered to open the Kartarpur corridor for the Sikh devotees to visit their founder Baba Guru Nanak Gurdwara by giving visa-free access in order to honour the Guest of honour, Navjot Sidhu. Sidhu was very excited to know that an Army chief had offered such thing as it was really unbelievable for him that an army chief could offer such gesture.
His immediately discussed the matter with the Indian government upon his return to his country. The BJP Government at first turned down the proposal and the so-called Indian Media criticized Navjot Sidhu of Hugging Army chief as India consider him the murderer of His soldiers. There were debates over the television that whether Sidhu should have Gone to Pakistan or Not.
The Veteran cricketer turned politician Navjot was undeterred and kept pushing Indian Government to accept the Proposal of kartarpur corridor. At last, the Modi Government accepted the offer and the foundation Stone Ceremony took place on Indian side on 26th November 2018 by the Vice President of India m Venkaiah Naidu. The Distance from the Indian side is 4 Kilometers from Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur District to International Boundary to connect the same with the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.
On the Other hand, The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan laid the foundation Stone on 28th November 2018 at District Narowal attended by COAS Qamar jawed Bajwa, Navjot Sidhu and Other delegates from India. PM offered Visa Free Access to the Holy site of Durbar Kartarpur Sahib in order to facilitate the Sikh community pilgrims.
According to Vice President of India, “The corridor will become a symbol of love and peace between both countries,” Naidu was quoted as saying in Gurdaspur. He went on to say that this was very momentous and historic day and they are fulfilling the wish of Sikh Devotees who are excited to visit the sacred place for Sikhs to celebrate 550th Birthday anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak next Year .
Indo-Pak Relations have always remained tense due to various Loc based firing, 26/11 Mumbai Attack and the core issue of Kashmir. There were frequent proposals and demands to have a corridor to facilitate Sikh Pilgrims of India to have access to Gurdwara Baba Guru Nanak so as to perform their religious rituals there.
The Immigration and Visa processes were very exhausting and complicated given the tough hostile relations of these neighbours having fought two deadly wars and frequent cold war that impeded the peace efforts and suspended the meaningful dialogue to discuss the grave issues of Terrorism and Kashmir dispute as per the wishes of Kashmiri People through a plebiscite.
The political leadership of both countries have never been engaged in a proper way that might have paved the way to the resolution of issues, Since there has been a great dearth of Confidence-building measures and trust that might have led both countries to ink an agreement.
Unfortunately, the dialogue process was marred and remained suspended given the growing extremist forces such as Shiv Sina and RSS. The Indian leadership failed to withstand the mounting pressure and consequently, succumbed to pressure and took a U-turn from the dialogue by giving any excuse to justify their distancing from the dialogue process.
However, ever since the PTI-led Government came into power, it reshaped and realigned their foreign policy to suit the interests of the country and defined new terms of engagement with the US and the Neighbours especially Iran, Afghanistan, India and close all-weather friend China.
To break the stalemate and diffuse the tensions between the two countries, the cricket diplomacy came into play when soon after winning the election, Imran Khan envisaged his foreign policy vision inviting India to forward one step and he would go by two steps to reach a lasting solution through dialogue. To display the friendly gesture and using his old cricket fellows of India to bridge the gap and reconnect to Pakistan’s intentions to reinitiate the dialogue process, PM Imran Khan invited Navjot Sidhu to attend his oath-taking ceremony.
Sidhu was given warm reception at the ceremony and the big hug from COAS Qamar Jawed Bajwa was the turning point that melted the ice when he(Bajwa) offered to open the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate the Sikh Pilgrims to visit their Holy place of Guru Nanak Sahib owing to frequent demand. He said to Sidhu to discuss the issue with his Indian Government to make sure whether they were willing or not.
Sidhu was excited and returned home with the proposal but his Indian Government rejected the proposal by giving the traditional excuse of cross-border terrorism and afterwards when Sikh community pushed the Government to accept the proposal. They agreed to build a modern Corridor equipped with all modern facilities on the Indian side and urged Pakistan to build the same from their side.
Pakistan Government welcomed the move and announced groundbreaking ceremony on November 28th and invited Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu besides 17 Indian journalists to Kartarpur corridor.
Sushma Swaraj and Chief Minister Punjab Amarinder Singh apologized to come due to some commitments, whereas few Indian Ministers, Journalists and Navjot Sidhu were the part of Indian Delegation came to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. They termed the development as historic since it would spread the message of love for both countries.
As per the plan, the Indian government will construct and develop the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the border, while Pakistan will build the other part of the corridor connecting the border to the Gurdwara in the Kartarpur Sahib area of Narowal district as per the official statement of both countries.
Geographically, the two sites – Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib – are barely separated by six kilometres but parted by an international borderline between India and Pakistan that is also toughened by a poisonous rhetoric and lack of Mutual trust.
It is high time that both countries should make serious efforts to ensure people to people contacts and melt the ice that hampered development in the regions. The Kartarpur Corridor may open vistas of opportunities between two countries and they may take the bilateral trade relations to next level if the same corridor is used for trade besides the purpose of Sikh pilgrims.
It might be too early to predict , yet to be optimistic , The corridor will play its role to diffuse tensions between two countries and may bring the relations to normalization if the priorities and attitudes start changing as people set aside all the odds and need love since they are fed up from the warmongering from Indian Authorities . War would be disastrous for both Nuclear capacious neighbours and will bring misery by plunging country into an economic crisis that will never be fruitful for these countries and for South Asia as Whole.
Pakistan may offer the CPEC partnership if positive and meaningful dialogue process restarts since we have to forward by burying our past differences as quoted by PM Imran Khan during the Groundbreaking ceremony regarding the two European powers France and Germany by saying that if these two can engage in an alliance then why not Pakistan and India Since animosity and wars cannot stand longer if people Start pushing their Governments to maintain peace and live like peaceful neighbours.
SAARC leadership holds video conference on coronavirus Outbreak
In the wake of the Corovirus pandemic leaders of SAARC nations met via video conference on Sunday to discuss measures to stop the spread of the virus. Pakistan was represented in the conference by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza. Other SAARC countries were represented by the respective heads of State or Heads of Governments.
Addressing the South Asian leaders Dr Zafar Mirza said Covid-19 Pandemic is a global health emergency, the likes of which have not been witnessed in the past century. At the same time, while it has been characterized as a global pandemic, it is deemed “controllable” as well. Least of all SAARC, which is home to one-fifth of humanity, several of the world’s largest mega-cities, and many of the most densely populated regions, he added.
Dr Mirza said Pakistan shares the common concern over the potential of Covid-19 affecting South Asia. All our countries now have confirmed cases. Dr Mirza said WHO’s four-pronged advice offers a reasonable way forward- preparation and readiness, detection, prevention and treatment, reduction and suppression, and innovation and improvement. He said Pakistan has been involved in containment efforts right from the outset of the outbreak.
“We have been alert to the dangers, and have put in place appropriate protocols for the safety and health of our people” he added. SAPM on Health said we have been matching our measures to real-time threat assessments. While, we have stressed the need for caution, we have strongly advised against panic. A calm and deliberate response is the need for the hour, In consultation with WHO, we have been taking steps to restrict movement to and from the affected areas, regulate lights, institute detection measures at entry points, and establish quarantine controls at border crossings Diagnosed cases are being quarantined, and contacts traced proactively.
Dr. Mirza shared that Prime Minister Imran Khan is personally overseeing these efforts. Resultantly, Pakistan has managed so far to contain, an achievement the WHO has recognized and commended. Our National Security Committee met on 13 March, for the first time on a national health issue, and has decided to take further steps to contain the spread he informed.
The four pillars of our response strategy include Governance and Finance, Prevention, Mitigation, and Communication. Dr Zafar Mirza mentioning the steps taken by Pakistan Government said we have decided to close all educational institutions for three weeks, close the entire western border for two weeks, restrict international flights to three airports only, ban all public gatherings, and reinforce screening and administrative measures at seaports.
The National Disaster Management Authority has been mandated to lead the inter-agency effort at the federal and provincial levels he said. Effective coordination at all levels is deemed critically important. The pandemic forces us to think not in terms of nations and States, but as a collective. The unprecedented challenge, therefore, warrants unprecedented responses. We must recognize that national and local responses remain the most critically important.
It is equally important to pursue evidence and science-based responses. Stigmatization and stereotyping are counter-productive. The SAARC Secretariat is best placed to coordinate SAARC’s endeavours With this in view, Pakistan proposes that the SAARC Secretariat be mandated to establish a Working Group of respective national authorities for information and data exchange as well as coordination for responses in real-time, learn from and disseminate the experience of SAARC Observer States, particularly China that is effectively addressing the challenge and can share valuable insights. The challenge at hand, demands sagacity, vision and synergy stressed Pakistan SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza.
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