The disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir is in a constant state of unrest because Indian forces continue to commit crimes against humanity on a daily basis.
This was stated by National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt Gen (retired) Nasser Khan Janjua on Tuesday while speaking at a seminar on “Crimes Against Humanity — Genocides and Ethnic Cleansing.” The seminar had been organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with the Azerbaijan Embassy to mark the centenary anniversary of 1918 genocide of Azerbaijanis and also the 26th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide.
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“The genocide of Khojaly shows that the world of today still has to go a long way to invest and preserve humanity,” Janjua said.
He added that both, the people of Kashmir and Azerbaijan, had suffered. Moreover, Janjua said that Islamabad and Baku shared identical positions on both the Nagorno-Karabakh and the Kashmir conflict.
He went on to say that more than ever, modern soldiers have to learn to be ethical in the war zone.
In this regard, he pointed out that the situation in Kashmir was a complete antithesis to this belief where there was constant unrest because India was committing crimes against humanity on a daily basis — a testament to how strategic and economic interests can overwhelm humanity.
Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizada gave a detailed overview of the Khojaly genocide. He asserted that as with other such crimes, it can never be erased from history.
He drew parallels with the Kashmir issue and stated that the disputed Himalayan territory too awaits justice, adding that both the Khojaly and Kashmir issues should be solved in an amicable way in accordance with international laws.
“Past genocides and mass atrocities serve as a reminder as to what is at stake if the international community lets genocide happen again,” he said.
“All the tragedies that have befallen Azerbaijan in the 19th and 20th centuries, accompanied by the seizure of our land, have been different stages of a conscious policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing systematically applied by the Armenians against the Azerbaijani people,” Alizada asserted.
He went on to quote Azerbaijan national leader Heydar Aliyev, “Khojaly massacre is a continuation and the bloodiest page of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide continuously conducted by the Armenian chauvinists and nationalists against the Azerbaijanis over around 200 years.”
Turkish Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul said that Azerbaijan’s suffering was Turkey’s suffering as well.
He lamented that humanity was not doing enough to resonate this pain in the collective memory, nor was it doing enough to prevent these crimes from taking place again.
“In order to resolve this issue, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan should be made clear first of all. This calls for engagement, which is falling on deaf ears on part of Armenia since they are busy promoting a very unjust narrative of their own. This needs to be stopped,” Yurdakul said.
Quaid-i-Azam University Politics and International Relations Professor Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal noted that genocides and crimes against humanity were an old phenomenon in the world.
He warned that if such crimes continue to be ignored, they don’t just go away, instead they gain more momentum.
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“Every instance of crime against humankind must be accounted for,” Dr Jaspal said, adding that if security, peace and prosperity are to be established at both regional and international level, the international community will have to adopt statutes without identifying ethnicity or religion.
“Otherwise, the phenomenon of radical extremism will arise.”
Earlier, ISSI Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood talked about how Pakistan has always supported the Azeri stance.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2018.