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Political and Humanitarian Situation in Jammu Kashmir

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (6)

In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons Select Committee has confirmed that backbench “General debate on political and humanitarian situation in Kashmir” will be held in Committee Room 10 on 11 September 2014. David Ward MP along with members of All Parties Parliamentary Committee (APPG) on Kashmir and a range of Kashmiri Diaspora Community organisations have been campaigning to secure a backbench debate in the House of Commons. He will be member in charge of this debate.

 

Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) one of the leading Kashmiri community development organisation has circulated a briefing paper to members of Parliament welcoming British Parliamentarian support in empowering the voices of Kashmiri Diaspora and it is their hope that through this debate MPs will heighten the need for meaningful engagement of UK Government and international community for peaceful transformation of Kashmir conflict and urgent humanitarian assistance for victims of violent conflict and natural calamities in Jammu Kashmir. Such as recent rains and flash floods that in last two weeks left 450 people dead, the capital City Srinagar and over 2000 villages submerged in water in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, 64 people in Pakistan administered Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and 11 in Gilgit Baltistan reported dead and 166 missing, 120 villages and 27, 700 people affected, 12 main bridges and 9 powerhouse were also destroyed in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. The full scale of devastation and destruction is yet to be established. The victims of this natural disaster needs urgent help and assistance from international community for their relief and rehabilitation.

 

The people of Jammu and Kashmir are continuously suffering for more than 67 years as the collateral damage of the partition of British Imperial India in 1947 and subsequent wars between India and Pakistan over the sovereignty status of former princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in prolonged conflict despite UN mediated ceasefire and establishment of UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to resolve this conflict according to the wishes of the people. These sufferings multiplied in the aftermath of natural disasters such as 2005 Kashmir Earthquake and now in the last two weeks deadliest floods in living memory of the region.

An estimated 17 million people of Jammu and Kashmir are living their life in uncertainty for more than six decades under occupation. Their homeland is forcibly divided by India, Pakistan and China. Kashmir remains one of the most highly militarized regions in the world. People’s right to life, liberty and security of person in all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir is continuously at risk and over 100 thousand people have lost their lives in search of freedom and dignity since 1988. Enforced disappearances, arrests without charge and fair trial is order of the day. The Security Forces allegedly involved in crime against humanity have impunity from holding them to account under The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990.

 

Jammu and Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, It is a question of the right of self-determination of a nation and freedom from five faces of oppression: violence, economic exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism of India and Pakistan.

 

The Kashmiri society is intrinsically an open and peaceful society where people from diverse religions and cultural heritage practice spirit of ‘Kashmiriyat’- multi-ethnic and multi-religious co-existence, mutual respect by fostering good relations among diverse people and communities. The people of Jammu Kashmir aspire to contribute in strengthening international peace and security through shared experience of a society where people right to life, liberty and security of persons is protected and they have civil liberties, social justice, equality, political pluralism, democratic and decentralised participatory governance, and equal chances for their social mobility; a homeland and society where everyone has equal opportunities for socio-economic development and freedom to trade across borders and continents.

 

The people of Jammu and Kashmir wish to re-unite their State and forcibly divided families across Line of Control (LoC) to live in peace as they have lived together for centuries. They want an open, democratic, peaceful and prosper homeland.

In order to achieve this goal they seek international community support to transform J&K Conflict in a manner that all stakeholders should feel compelled in ultimately resolving the issue through dialogue to end their sufferings so that tottering fabric of human civilisation get sustenance in Jammu Kashmir and in India and Pakistan.

 

The people of J&K are keen to see removal of all the barriers that restrict their freedom of speech, political economy and movement across LoC. They are looking forward to engage in a meaningful dialogue with both India and Pakistan for peace as an equal partner being principle party having title of ownership to their destiny and future status of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Over half a million British Kashmiri Diaspora has serious concerns with regards to humanitarian crisis and on-going human rights violations, prolonged occupation and forcible division of their country of origin: Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Therefore, the members of KDF and Kashmiri diaspora community are asking their members of Parliament to join in calling upon UK Government to;

 

1- Assist in mobilising international community to extend direct humanitarian aid for the victims of natural disasters and violent conflict in Jammu Kashmir and issue an emergency disaster relief appeal through Disaster Emergency Committee.

2- Continue to support indigenous peacebuilding and conflict transformation initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir.

3- Invest in the development of infrastructure for peace, conflict transformation and decentralised and democratic system of governance in all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate peaceful settlement of one of the deadliest conflict in South Asia through dialogue and peaceful means as envisaged in the UN Charter and UN Security Council and UNCIP resolutions viz-a-viz Jammu Kashmir, and

4- Impress upon Indian and Pakistani governments;

• to respect fundamental human rights of the people in their respective administered parts of Jammu and Kashmir by further enhancing confidence building measures (CBMs) to facilitate more free movement of civilians, humanitarian aid and Intra- Jammu & Kashmir trade and tourism across LoC.

• Free all political prisoners and allow international humanitarian organisation to work across LoC to help in reliving poverty, advancing education, and health and wellbeing of the people within all the regions of former princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The Kashmiri diaspora Community and Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) would welcome an opportunity to work more closely with the parliamentarian and international civil society and humanitarian organisations to follow up on the recommendations as an outcome of this debate to enhance more meaningful engagement with all stakeholders for peacebuilding and conflict transformation to secure fundamental freedoms, meaningful dialogue and cooperation among the people of Jammu and Kashmir and India and Pakistan.

 

About Author: Sardar Aftab Khan is the Executive Director of the Kashmir Development Foundation and can be contacted via E-mail: kdfajk@gmail.com or visit www.kdfajk.org and follow us on www.facebook.com/KDFUK.

 

British Parliamentarians speaking up for Empowering Kashmiri Voices

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

BritishMembers of Parliament MikeGapes MP member Foreign Affairs Select Committee, SirGerald Kaufman MP, CliveBetts MP Chairman Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Steve Baker MP, David Ward MP andJason McCartney MP called for empowering Kashmiri Voices in the India Pakistandialogue process to resolve long standing Kashmir conflict according to thewishes and aspirations of Kashmiri people. The highly influential and respectedmembers of parliament were speaking at a Parliamentary reception hosted by SimonDanczuk MP to help Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) an indigenous Kashmiridevelopment organisation to showcase their work to empower the voiceof under-represented people and communities.

 

SimonDanczuk MP welcomed the members of parliament support for empowering Kashmirivoices. He emphasised the need for the recognition and inclusion of Kashmiricultural heritage and national identity in ethnic monitoring systems in the UK.

     Click here to see more pictures

TheExecutive Director of Kashmir Development Foundation Sardar Aftab Khanhighlighted the importance of Kashmiri narrative in the wider discourse onJammu and Kashmir conflict and explained how the Kashmiri Diaspora can play aneffective role in peacebuilding in Jammu and Kashmir. He said: “Kashmir societyis intrinsically an open society. We have a centuries old ethos ofmulti-ethnic, multi-religious co-existence, but this openness is threatened byprolonged conflict. We need to secure our open society from danger ofunresolved Kashmir issue. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are striving for apeaceful society – a society where people have right to life, liberty andsecurity. They are in a struggle to secure their right of freedom, a freedomfrom the five faces of oppression: violence, economic exploitation,marginalization, powerlessness and cultural imperialism.”

 

Mike GapesMP, member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said: “India and Pakistandidn’t involve Kashmiris in the dialogue process started some fifteen yearsago. Although both countries have made some progress, domestic politics withinIndia and Pakistan will influence the decisions made by governments. It’s a verydifferent context now, there is an election coming up – looks like Modi mightwin, and not sure what that will mean in terms of the impact on the IndiaPakistan dialogue over Kashmir. In Pakistan, there is a democratic government,but we know that the democratic government doesn’t control all of Pakistanipolitics. Afghanistan’s looming situation, Taliban insurgency in FATA, and appallingtreatment of minorities within Pakistan is complicating the situation massively.”He added that I have a lot of Kashmiri constituents, from both side of the Lineof Control (LoC), so I understand the complexity. “The relationship of diasporacommunities in the UK from that region, working together to build a dialogue isimportant, because it feeds back. It is an important part of process, if we’regoing to build trust.”

 

Sir GeraldKaufman MP said: “the Kashmir Issue is longest standing international issue inthe world – longer even than Palestine – taken to UN Security Council, byIndia. It’s a shame on the international community that this issue has not beenresolved. It’s not just about the dreadful humanitarian atrocities, this is asituation of world crisis – both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons, andthey have fought several wars over Kashmir. The International community isunbelievably short sighted in not understanding that, apart from other aspects,that this is most critical issue in terms of international peace and security.It is utterly deplorable that the UK Government will not involve itself in anyway, and that it’s an issue for India and Pakistan to determine themselves”.

He furthersaid: “Economic development in J&K is essential and Kashmiri voices must beheard.”

 

Clive BettsMP Chairman Communities and Local Government Select Committee said: “The resolutionof the Kashmiri Conflict shouldn’t be left to India and Pakistan only, it should be up to the people ofJammu and Kashmir who are able to make a decision about their future. The rightto Self-determination is key, and I hope that the UK parliament andinternational community see that, and put that first on their agenda.”

 

SteveBaker MP and David Ward MP stressed the need for bringing professionalism in theKashmiris’ campaign for their rights and forging links with all communities.

 

JasonMcCartney MP said: “Time is coming for self-determination. We’re going to havea referendum in Scotland and on the EU within the UK, so I think the time iscoming for self-determination around the world. Often I hear of atrocities inKashmiri– it is important that we have clear, transparent reporting of what’shappening in Kashmir – we need to get this issue out there, on the UK and worldstage.”

 

RenownedKashmiri writer and analyst Ershad Mehmmod stressed the need to highlightthe crucial role of including Kashmiris in any dialogue relating to Kashmir inensuring a sustainable and just peace. He said: “This is a critical time forpolicymakers to devote their time, resources and intellectual energies to theKashmir conflict for multiple reasons. There are an increasing number ofreports from the ground in Kashmir of a likely resurgence in militant activitywith the active participation of educated youth in Kashmir. There are concernsthat governments have not capitalised on the period of relative calm (reducedmilitant activity and a “ceasefire” along the LoC) over the last 10 years toachieve significant progress on dialogue and peacebuilding, making a spike inmilitant activity and violence at the LoC more likely in the immediate future.

It iswidely acknowledged that people of Kashmir aren’t being consulted, and are notpart of a wider dialogue. Both India and Pakistan have been engaged, but nottalking to Kashmiris for over six decades. People living there know that theyshould be consulted – but there’s no mechanism, no official structure, noprocess that can take the local narrative into consideration at the highestlevel. There is an urgent need to establish structure whereby we can promoteideas to both governments. If they’re not talking to us, we should talk tothem!”

 

CouncillorAmna Mir said: “Within our community women don’t have much voice at all indecision making forums. Many women don’t even know what the issue is – don’tknow the impact of division of Kashmir and the non-recognition of our nationalidentity. It is high time for all to work towards women’s involvement atlevels.”

 

Haji Akram,Chairman, Kashmir Development Foundation applauded  the members of Parliament for talking note ofKashmiri Voices and welcomed the opportunity to work with them in building thecapacity of Kashmiri community to speak out for themselves.

 

KDF's is in the process of developing a Sports project:"Sports 4 Connecting Communities".

Posted on November 16, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

As part of this process KDF has started working in partnership with Gilgit Baltistan Polo Association and supported the Association in organising a Polo Tournament 24 Oct - 4 Nov 2013 successfully at Gilgit. 

Click here to see more photo

We are actively seeking partnerships with sports associations and clubs in Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir to become part of this innovative and exciting project to raise our game and influence the policies and practices for the development of sports at local and national level.

For further details, Please visit at; http://www.kdfajk.org/sports-4-communities


Celebrating Kashmir National Day at Rochdale Town hall.

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Members of the British Kashmir Diaspora Community celebrated Kashmir National Day today (Thursday 24 October) with a flag raising ceremony at Rochdale Town hall.

 

Councilor Colin Lambert raised the flag in a special ceremony. Also in attendance were Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk and MP for Heywood and Middleton, Jim Dobbin. During the ceremony, Jim Dobbin congratulated the Kashmir community on their national day.

 

The Kashmir Development Foundation (KDF) is a national charity working for the empowerment of the ‘Voice’ of the Kashmiri Diaspora community.

KDF are leading the campaign to celebrate Kashmir National Day every year on 24 October to advance the knowledge of the general public into the history and culture of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as preserving Kashmiri heritage in the United Kingdom.

Executive Director of KDF, Sardar Aftab Khan said: “I am thrilled that we have been successful in our campaign and a number of local authorities are formally supporting the celebration of Kashmir National day.

“I’d like to thank Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council for their tremendously positive response to our campaign and with them I hope we will reach hundreds of people. I’d also encourage charities and public and private bodies to consider partnering with us next year to make ‘Kashmir National Day’ celebrations even bigger and better.”

Councilor Aftab Hussain, coordinator of the Kashmir flag raising ceremony at Rochdale Town Hall said: “I am delighted to support and take up the request from KDF to hoist the Kashmir Flag at Rochdale Town Hall. Rochdale Council took the lead to formally agree to hoist the Kashmir flag in 2012 and will continue to support the community to celebrate Kashmir National day.”


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