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‘Rights abuse case studies highlight Kashmir issue’

‘Rights abuse case studies highlight Kashmir issue’

Islamabad :Stories of individuals affected by atrocities touch people the most and these should be used through a powerful narrative to tell the world about gross human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK). The Kashmiri diaspora can play a leading role in this initiative, said the participants of a meeting held at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

The fourth meeting of the working group on Kashmir, formed by IPS to keep an eye on the latest developments in IoK post 5 August 2019, also called for exploring all legal avenues regarding these abuses.

The meeting was chaired by IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, while the guest speakers were London-based Kashmiri activists Muzamil Ayub Takur and Shaista Safi. The participants included former ambassador Syed Abrar Hussain, former ambassador Ayaz Wazir, former ambassador Tajammul Altaf, Brigadier (r) Said Nazir, former AJK minister Farzana Yaqoob, Amanullah Khan, former president RCCI, Shakil Turabi, senior journalist, Ghulam Muhammad Safi, Hurriyat leader, Advocate Nasir Qadri and Advocate Rafia Sailani.

The speakers were of the opinion that in the era of the war of narratives it must be kept in mind that many lobbies are involved in the Kashmir issue and care must be taken not to alienate any major group that supports the cause. Instead, the key is to create awareness, which will provide motivation and lead to doable action.

The meeting proposed setting up a Kashmir public war crimes tribunal, with lawyers and judges based in Azad Kashmir, to debate individual cases and present them before the world.

The speakers said proceedings of such cases should be dubbed in major languages and circulated through all available channels, including social media, to effectively highlight the plight of Kashmiris. This will mold public opinion in key countries and ultimately the opinion of their governments and will translate into positive action.

The participants were of the opinion that people are reactively and not proactively involved in the Kashmir issue. The government is playing its role but the civil society has to make extra efforts to make the world aware of the ground realities.

Regarding the importance of media in highlighting the issue, the speakers said media companies know how to sell stories through forceful narrative and visuals. But if the media can’t sympathise with the victims, then it can’t represent the story correctly. Kashmir has gained prominence in the global media and more than 125 articles have been published only by The New York Times in a short span.

The meeting was told that what’s happening in Kashmir should not be termed as human rights violations anymore; it is better represented by words such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

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