International conference calls for resolution of Kashmir dispute

International conference calls for resolution of Kashmir dispute

Lawmakers, activists and civil society members attend conference in Istanbul hosted by Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK

By Alperen Aktas

ISTANBUL (AA) – Calling for respect for the fundamental rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, speakers at an international conference in Istanbul on Friday sought the resolution of the Kashmir dispute on the basis of UN resolutions.

Lawmakers, diplomats, activists and civil society members from Türkiye, Kuwait, Pakistan and Kashmir were speaking at the conference, which was hosted by Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, a Britain-based Kashmiri rights organization.

Delivering the resolution of the conference, Kashmiri activist Fahim Kayani said: “It is a fact that the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir has dramatically changed, particularly since Aug. 5, 2019, and it will not be an exaggeration to say that the people of occupied land are facing an existential threat.”

Lauding the principled stand taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Kashmir, the resolution called India’s move to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 “illegal.”

The resolution also “rejected any process to justify local elections in any form whatsoever and present them before the international community as a vote of confidence in the Indian settler regime in Kashmir.”

Seeking the “unconditional and immediate” release of Kashmiri leaders, the participants called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “to remind India…that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved in accordance with the UN Charter and applicable UN Security Council resolutions.”

The Indian government rejects the allegations.

Turkish lawmakers including Mustafa Kaya, Dogan Bekin and Tugba Isik Ercan, Kuwaiti lawmaker Mohammad Almutairi, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly speaker Ch. Latif Akbar and Pakistan’s ambassador to Türkiye Yousaf Junaid, as well as Kashmiri leaders Mehmood A. Saghar, Altaf Ahmed Bhat, Abdur Rashid Turabi and Dr. Mubeen Shah were among the speakers at the conference.

On Aug. 5, 2019, India repealed Article 370 of its Constitution which allowed Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution, flag and two-house legislature that could frame its own laws.

Previously a single state, Jammu and Kashmir was downgraded and divided into two centrally ruled union territories called Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This drew sharp reactions from both Pakistan, which claims the region in full, and China, which claims parts of Ladakh and controlled a sizable part of Jammu and Kashmir before the formation of India and Pakistan in 1947.

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