Round Table titled “Commemorating Kashmiris’ Right to Self-Determination Day”


ISLAMABAD, JAN 5: To express Pakistan’s firm support for the Kashmiri people, the India Study Centre (ISC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Round Table titled “Commemorating Kashmiris’ Right to Self-Determination Day” on January 05, 2022.

In his introductory remarks, Dr. Saif ur Rehman Malik, Director ISC, said that ISC focuses on all events and commemorate the special days on Kashmir. On January 05, 1949, a promise of right to self-determination through a free and fair plebiscite was made to the Kashmiri people. That promise so far remains unfulfilled. The ISC at ISSI is commemorating the Right to Self-Determination Day with the aim of highlighting the Kashmir cause, he added.   

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, DG ISSI said that today is the special day in the annals of the Kashmir. There are number of dimensions of the Kashmir dispute that include legal, humanitarian and political- dimension. He said that Kashmiris do not want to live with India and the day is reminder for us that Kashmiris must be granted their right to self-determination.

Mr. Nasir Qadri, Advocate, a Human Rights Lawyer from IIOJK who also heads the Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK) opined that Kashmir deserves the right to self-determination. He said that Kashmir is being seen through a small prism when it should be looked through the lens of armed conflict. We are losing the ground and losing the case and Pakistan has to recognize the Kashmir liberation movement, he added.

Dr. Waleed Rasool Sheikh, Director General at Institute of Multi-Track Dialogue, Development and Diplomatic Studies maintained that the primary responsibility of presenting a solution for Kashmir issue rests on the shoulders of academicians and scholars who are not consulted enough. He highlighted the fragility of the international system and criticized the fact that it is manipulated by countries for their own benefit. In this case, he mentioned the instance of India breaching the sovereignty of Pakistan in 1971 in Bengal, breaching Simla agreement and breaching international protocols again in 1984 by invading Siachen yet no legal action was taken against it by the international community.

Dr. Sameera Imran, Assistant Professor (IR) Department at NDUanalyzed the Kashmir issue in the philosophical context and said that the idea of freedom is only based on consent. Men are born free and the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is linked with idea of freedom. Pakistan has both historical and philosophical reasons to support the Kashmiris. Continuation of resistance of the Kashmiris shows that they have rejected the Indian occupation of the Kashmir. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has threatened the Indian democracy, she concluded.

Barrister Needa Salam, a practicing lawyer in the Islamabad High Court condemned the grave human rights violations carried out by Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir calling them the worst crimes against humanity in the modern time. She pointed to the violation of Article 1 of the United Nations Charter which provides every individual with the right to self determination. She further highlighted how India was responsible for breaching both the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir as well as the sanctity of the bilateral agreements with Pakistan. Paying tribute to the sacrifices of the Kashmiris, she called for the world to take immediate action against the fascist policies of the Modi government with regards to Kashmir and treatment of minorities.

Ambassador Riffat Masood, a seasoned former diplomat, stated that India falsely tries to present Kashmir case as a bilateral affair when it is a global issue, very much in accordance with the United Nations charter and identical to the cases of previous national liberation movements. She emphasized on the need to viewing Kashmir from a humanitarian lens first and stated that Pakistan needs to build a strong economic foundation to be able to present Kashmir issue more effectively in the global arena. She emphasized that Pakistan must mobilize the Kashmiri youth and diaspora to expose the flaws of the so-called largest “democracy” of the world.

Mrs Midhat Shahzad, Secretary tourism, Information and Information technology at Govt of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, maintained that India itself took the Kashmir issue to the UN in 1948, henceforth internationalizing the matter but gradually began to shift its stance to bilateralism after realizing that it had no moral and legal ground over Kashmir. She pointed to the fact that even the Article 1 of the Simla Agreement clearly maintains that the UN Charter shall be instrumental in governing the relations between the two states. She highlighted the fact that since Pakistan enjoys clear legal supremacy of this affair, the Kashmiri diaspora must be educated on legal grounds for a better representation of this case internationally.

Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Convener of APHC said that throughout the world, Kashmiris are celebrating this day as the day of right to self-determination. India has been desperately trying to mislead the world by insisting that the UN resolutions on Kashmir stand invalid. The UN resolutions on Kashmir still stand valid and the presence of United Nations Military Observer Group in both the countries is evidence of it. He also mentioned the persistent violations of UN resolutions on Kashmir by India and maintained that this behaviour should legally result in the termination of India’s membership from United Nation’s Organizations under Article 6 of the United Nations Charter. He further added that despite 7 decades of waiting, the people of Kashmir are still looking forward to the implementation of relevant UN resolutions on Kashmir.

Dr Prof Muhammad Khan, Head of IR Department at IIUI and a seasoned analyst from AJK affirmed that Pakistan is Kashmir and Kashmir is Pakistan. Kashmir issue is a desperate affair looking for solution under the very basic ambit of United Nations after its establishment in 1945, promising right to self- determination to people under colonialism. He discussed the historical perspective of Kashmir and how under PM Nehru, the Indian authorities tried to stretch the Kashmir matter but failed due to the unparalleled struggles of the Kashmiri people who kept the struggle alive. He emphasized on the vitality of the Pakistan’s Foreign Office in this aspect and stated that Pakistan must utilize its diplomatic channels to raise the Kashmir issue more strongly in front of the world.

Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI in his concluding remarksreiterated that till date, more than 28 UN resolutions have been passed on Kashmir but failed to be implemented. He nullified the Indian claims of bilateralism by stating that in the presence of an international agreement and a UN resolution, the UN resolution must prevail according to Article 103 of the its Charter. He dilated the spectrum by stating the relevance of Kashmir’s right to self determination with identical cases like South Sudan, Kosovo, Montenegro and Eritrea and pressed on the question of why the right to self-determination has still not been granted to the Kashmiris. In his final remarks, he highlighted the necessity of persuading the UN Secretary General to look into Kashmir issue more actively and suggested that special UN representatives should be appointed for Kashmir and the international community must be consistently kept informed of developments in Indian Occupied Kashmir.