ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi on Tuesday asked the international community to stop India from committing genocide of Kashmiri Muslims, warning them that any failure to intervene could trigger a third world war.
Speaking at a seminar held here at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services to mark the World Minorities Day, Mr Afridi said the world community carried a responsibility to provide the right to self-determination to the people of Indian occupied Kashmir.
He said non-Hindu communities were targeted in India that claimed to be secular, as Muslims and Sikhs had been facing atrocities there for the past many decades. Even Dalits and Christians were being exterminated systematically, he said, adding the Muslims specifically were being lynched under a vicious plan of genocide.
Mr Afridi said the Indian atrocities being meted out to the minorities in general and Kashmiris in particular must be brought to an end. Reminding the international community that the first and second world wars had erupted because of the failure to provide justice to the oppressed, he warned that if the United Nations and the developed world failed to stop systematic bloodshed and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris in India, Kashmir could become a nuclear flashpoint that would have an impact beyond the region.
He said the world needed to learn from the way Pakistan had set a model of equal treatment to its minorities, as non-Muslim communities here enjoyed all rights.
Indian govt trying to change demography of held Kashmir, says AJK president
Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said Kashmiri society was very compassionate and there was full religious freedom for minorities in AJK.
He said the RSS regime of India was propagating and practising fascism. He said India was created in the name of secularism, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had unleashed a reign of terror on Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits. He said Kashmiris had been killed, maimed, incarcerated under a plan to turn the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir into a minority.
“The world community needs to take notice of the systematic cleansing of Kashmiris,” the AJK president said, adding that if the world failed to intervene and stop the massacre, it would be equally responsible along with the RSS for the genocide of Kashmiri Muslims. He said a large number of Hindus were being brought to occupied Kashmir in an attempt by the BJP government to change the demography of the valley.
Todd Shea, the head of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services and a US citizen working to help quake victims in AJK, said the hypocrisy of the United States and its media reflected a very wrong picture of Pakistan. “When I came to Pakistan to help the earthquake victims, I was shown a negative picture of Pakistan. But Pakistanis gave my colleagues and nuns more dignity and respect than others. This reflects how well minorities are treated here,” he added.
Mr Shea said it was deplorable that just across the border how [badly] minorities were treated in India. “Pakistan is far ahead of the countries of the region in terms of treatment of minorities. Pakistan is a great nation and it needs to be treated better by the world,” he added.
Former prime minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf urged the developed world to intervene and pressurise the Indian government to ensure equal rights to non-Hindu communities. He expressed his firm belief that one day Kashmiris would get free from the illegal Indian occupation.
Bishop Dr Azad Marshal, President of National Council of Churches of Pakistan, said there had been 15,000 reported incidents of looting, vandalising and burning Christian churches in the neighbouring country. “We also condemn the atrocities against Kashmiris and we pray that Kashmiris are freed from the occupation of India soon,” he asserted.
MNA Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said the maltreatment of other religious communities in India had put a question mark on Indian claim of being a secular state.
Lawmaker Ranjeet Singh said no doubt minorities enjoyed equal rights in Pakistan. “We observed Black Day on August 5 and the way we see treatment meted out to Kashmiris and the atrocities being committed by Indian army, we feel proud Pakistanis. I condemn the Indian atrocities against Kashmiri Muslims and also Sikh community in India,” he added.
Peerzada Adnan Qadri, head of Jamia Junaidia, said Islam always taught respect for other faiths and religions.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2020