What is India hiding in Kashmir?


By: Syed Ali Geelani

New York. October 27, 2018.

“Human rights violations in Kashmir perpetrated by Indian army with legal immunity dwarf in scale the violations that provoked international humanitarian action in other international disputes. Human rights violations in Kashmir have been documented by all international and neutral human rights organization. Very recently, it was also documented in the United Nations report issued by the High Commissioner on Human Rights. The High Commissioner urged India to allow the United Nations delegation to visit Kashmir to asses the situation. But India does not allow such a delegation to visit Kashmir. It clearly shows that India has something to hide. May be, India does not want the world powers to know the following: tens of thousands indiscriminately slaughtered and countless rapes, abductions, custodial disappearances, arbitrary detentions, arsons, and brutal suppression of peaceful political protest,” this was conveyed in a message to the conference attendees of Pakistani American Society of New York (PASNY) by Syed Ali Geelani, Chairman, All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Jammu & Kashmir.

The Indian army is involved in serious war crimes. They open fire on unarmed civilians at their will because they have been given immunity under draconian laws, like Armed Forces Special Powers Act. (AFSPA). We demand an inquiry into these war crimes by a neutral agency, like the United Nations, Mr. Geelani added. Geelani Sahib insisted that the movement in Kashmir is indigenous, popular and people’s movement and rejected the notion that it is Pakistan sponsored. Geelani said,

Speaking as a guest speaker, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum reminded the audience of the injustice, tyranny and inhumanity of the Indian military as it occupies Kashmir. He cautioned that at this moment in our historic struggle for self-determination, the Kashmiri people with poise, confidence and unity are taking their inalienable struggle in a new direction of non-violence and peaceful agitation.

Dr. Fai reiterated that major challenge faced by activists interested in a peaceful, just and lasting resolution to the Kashmir problem was the manner in which world powers spoke for Kashmiris and not to Kashmiris. This form of hegemony was most pronounced by constructing a false history and destroying Kashmiri identity. How often do we hear outlandish statements like, ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’ or ‘Kashmir is a bilateral issue between New Delhi & Islamabad.’? These statements do not exist in a vacuum. They are loaded and violent. This form of violence is more insidious, more difficult to confront, for it is attempting to indoctrinate Kashmiris about their past, their present and direct them to a future that does not belong to them. They had become the objects of history rather than the masters of it.

Col. Maqbool Malik the Secretary General, (PASNY) reminded that it happened 71 years ago when Indian troops invaded Kashmir under the auspices of a fraudulent Instrument of Accession. British Scholar, Alistair Lamb has convincingly demonstrated that the Instrument was as bogus as an original has never been found, and there is no plausible explanation for a disappearance if an original had ever existed.

Mr. Malik reminded the audience that the conflict began in 1846 with the illegal, immoral and inhumane sale of the historic state of Jammu and Kashmir to a non-Kashmiri Dogra family for services rendered to the British Raj. From that point, onwards, Kashmiri’s have long for self-determination. Yet, tragically, their legitimate aspirations were crushed with the grotesque, irregular and illegal ascension, by the brutal foreign ruler Maharaja Hari Singh who did not have the consent of the people. With the arrival of Indian soldiers – the historic Black Day of Occupation begins its most recent and insidious manifestation.

Mr. Ashraf Aazmi, the President of PASNY and emcee of the event said that the world powers should exert its considerable powers of persuasion to mediate a peaceful conclusion of the Kashmir conflict with India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiri leadership. Bilateral talks and negotiations over Kashmir between Pakistan and India have proven sterile for 71 years, and nothing in that dismal equation has changed.

Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalvi said that October 27th is celebrated all over the world as the day of occupation. Today, we are observing October 27th as a day of grief and sorrow, because it was on that day in 1947 that India sent its army to occupy our land without the consent of the people and in defiance of international norms. He said that Indian forces are using brute and excessive force against unarmed civilians and taking revenge from innocent citizens.

Sardar Taj Khan emphasized that Kashmiris will resist India’s colonial occupation for as long as necessary to enjoy their right to self‑determination as prescribed by international law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and a long series of United Nations Security Council resolutions that were agreed upon by both India and Pakistan and accepted by the International Community.

Ms. Amna Taj Khan urged the leadership of India and Pakistan to include the accredited leadership of Jammu & Kashmir in all future negotiations. Any Kashmir solution that fails to command the consensus of the 22 million people of Kashmir, Amna underscored, is doomed to shipwreck moments after its launch. She however, emphasized that with Kashmiri participation, anything is possible. Without it, nothing is.

Shahid Comrade of Pak USA Freedom Forum said that Kashmir continues to be a nuclear flashpoint in South-Asia, periodic eruptions will continue to risk the nuclear neighbors and violence will continue to chase the region unless the Kashmir problem is resolved to the wishes of the people of the state.

Shahid believes that a just and lasting settlement of the dispute is possible only through tripartite negotiations between the Governments of India and Pakistan and the legitimate leadership of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Others who spoke included: Mr. Naeem Iqbal Cheema, Pakistan Consul General, Dr. Amarjit Singh, President, Khalistan Affairs Center, Dr. Syed T. Ahmad, Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, Dr. (Professor) Tamkeen and others.

Dr. Fai can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435 or gnfai2003@yahoo.com

54 patients died waiting for Israel to let them out of Gaza


54 patients died waiting for Israel to let them out of Gaza

Cancer patients take part in a December 2016 protest in Gaza City demanding that they be allowed to travel for treatment. In 2017, 54 patients died in Gaza after Israel denied or delayed such permits, the majority of them cancer patients. 

(Mohammed AsadAPA images).

Fifty-four Palestinians died last year waiting for Israeli permits to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment.
One of them was Faten Ahmed, a 26-year-old with a rare form of cancer. She died in August while awaiting an Israeli permit to travel for chemotherapy and radiotherapy not available in Gaza.
She had previously missed eight hospital appointments after Israeli “security approval” was delayed or denied, according to the World Health Organization.
Ahmed was one of five women who died from cancer in that month alone waiting for Israeli permission that never came.
Overall, 46 of those who died last year waiting for permits were cancer patients.

Shocking number of deaths

This staggering toll highlights the lethal impact of Israel’s ever-tightening siege on the two million people who live in Gaza.
“We’re seeing Israel increasingly deny or delay access to potentially life-saving cancer and other treatment outside Gaza, with shockingly high numbers of Palestinian patients subsequently dying, while Gaza’s healthcare system – subjected to half a century of occupation and a decade of blockade – is decreasingly able to meet the needs of its population,” Aimee Shalan, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, said on Tuesday.
Her charity, along with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights Israel, has issued an urgent call on Israel to “lift the unlawful sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement of people from Gaza, most critically those with significant health problems.”
In 2017 Israeli occupation authorities approved just 54 percent of applications for permits to leave Gaza for medical appointments, the lowest rate since the World Health Organization began collecting data in 2008.
Israel has dramatically tightened the deadly squeeze; its approval rate for permits fell from 92 percent in 2012 to 82 percent in 2014 and then 62 percent in 2016, before hitting its lowest point last year.
The health and human rights groups note that the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross have declared Israel’s land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, preventing the movement of its population, to be “collective punishment” – a war crime.
“Palestinians from Gaza missed at least 11,000 scheduled medical appointments in 2017 after Israeli authorities denied or failed to respond in time to applications for permits,” the groups state.

Egypt and Palestinian Authority complicit

The groups also note that Egypt and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority played a role in worsening the situation: “Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing mostly closed for the population in Gaza since 2013, which contributed to restricting access to health care.”
“As a state bordering a territory with a protracted humanitarian crisis, Egypt should facilitate humanitarian access for the population,” they state. “Nevertheless, ultimate responsibility remains with Israel, the occupying power.”
The Palestinian Authority also sharply reduced its financial approvals for medical treatment outside Gaza as part of its sanctions aimed at forcing Hamas to hand over control of the governance of Gaza.
These PA restrictions resulted in at least one death, according to the groups. But medical authorities in Gaza have said that more than a dozen people, including a 3-year-old girl with a heart condition, died waiting for payment approval from Ramallah.
All of this comes amid the protracted siege-induced crisis which has brought the collapse of key parts of the health system.
“Amid widespread poverty and unemployment, at least 10 percent of young children are stunted by chronic malnutrition, up to half of all medicines and medical items in Gaza are completely depleted or below one month’s supply, and chronic electricity shortages have caused officials to cut health and other essential services,” the human rights and medical groups state.

End the siege

Earlier this month, hospitals in Gaza began shutting down as emergency generators ran out of fuel, forcing the postponement of hundreds of operations.
On Wednesday, RT posted this report from Gaza about the plight of cancer patients. Correspondent Anya Parampil spoke to Zakia Tafish whose husband Jamil died after he was repeatedly blocked from traveling to Jerusalem for surgery.

The channel also aired a report about the worsening situation in the territory’s hospitals.
Following UN warnings of looming catastrophe, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates last week pledged $11 million in short-term funding to stave off an even worse catastrophe for another few months.
However, as the human rights groups note, there is no long-term solution but to end the siege.
“The Israeli government’s restrictions on movement are directly connected to patient deaths and compounded suffering as ill patients seek permits,” Al Mezan director Issam Younis said.
“These practices form part of the closure and permit regime that prevents patients from a life of dignity, and violates the right to life.”
The UK-based Medical Aid for Palestinians is calling on the public to contact lawmakers in the British parliament and “ask them to urge the UK government to take action and save lives in Gaza.”