While expressing solidarity with the people of Indian Kashmir, former foreign affairs secretary general Akram Zaki asked the Pakistani youth to launch a worldwide movement to support Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
“Contacting youth throughout the world through different means of communication including social media to mobilise support for the people of Kashmir could be a useful exercise,” Zaki said while addressing a daylong seminar arranged by the Youth Forum for Kashmir (YFK) in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The former Pakistani diplomat was of the view that each youth should join YFK to express their solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
Other speakers including Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ( PTI ), Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party, Dr Abdus Samad Pirzada, Anwarul Haq Kakar, former federal minister J Salik, Qudsia Mashhadi, Brig(retd) Simon Samson Sharaf, Mariah Atiq of National Defense University and YFK Executive Director Ahmed Qurashi also spoke.
Qureshi was of the view that the seminar should be taken as the first step by the youth of Pakistan and Kashmir to initiate lobbying for the people of Indian Kashmir. He said Pakistan cannot ignore Kashmir because it is a geographical extension of Pakistan. “Kashmir cannot be put on the backburner because Pakistan’s national security is directly linked to Kashmir.”
Ibrahim was critical of suggestions to separate the Kashmir issue from trade with India. “If trade guarantees prosperity...why do Calcutta and Dhaka continue to be the poorest cities in the world despite the open trade regime between India and Bangladesh?” he asked.
Mazari said Kashmir defines the relationship between Pakistan and India. She said the ‘culture of resistance’ was missing in the Kashmir struggle in terms of arts and culture. She said only indigenous freedom movements can survive and can be successful, and that Kashmir freedom struggle survived for six decades despite ups and downs. “It is important to realise that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and that it is a dispute between Pakistan and India awaiting resolution.”
J Salik said Pakistani Christians are ready to play their role in promoting the Kashmir cause worldwide. He said Christians played a crucial role in passing the Pakistan Resolution in the pre-Independence Punjab Assembly and that they were ready to play a role in Pakistan’s most important cause.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2014.
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