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Event Title: Public Hearing highlights Kashmir as central to Pakistan's Foreign Policy

Event Date: 2018-12-13

The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee today held a Public Hearing on the issue of ways and means to internationalize the Kashmir issue which was largely attended by a diverse and distinguished audience at the PIPS, Islamabad.  Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that this was the right time to internationalize the Kashmir issue since the UN Human Rights Council and the House of Commons, UK have spoken up on Kashmir after a long time and 2019 should be the year where we take up the cause of Kashmir forward at all global fora.

Senator Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan from day one since its creation in 1947, has been committed to the cause of the oppressed peoples be it Kashmir or Palestine and he referred to the vision of the Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in this regard.  He also referred to Pakistan's support to the liberation movement of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia in the 1950s, the Palestine cause in the 1960s and 1970s, the Afghan peoples struggle in the 1980s as well as the struggle of the people of Bosnia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Dr. Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights while speaking at the public Hearing said that Pakistan has not been consistent and proactive in dealing with the Kashmir issue. She said that the time for rhetoric is over and Pakistan needs to have and present to the world a proper plan because too many Kashmiris have been martyred and Pakistan cannot let this happen continuously. She observed that nothing is impossible in diplomacy and international politics and proposed a set of parallel dialogues with all stakeholders in a series of engagements.

Dr. Imtiaz Khan from Kashmiri American Council said that more than 135,000 Kashmiris have been killed and more than 20,000 women have been raped in Indian-Occupied Kashmir with 15-20 Kashmiri youth dying every day on average. He said that Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of partition and India is trying to change the demographics of Kashmir. He called for lobbying by Government of Pakistan to have permanent Kashmir chairs in 10-12 leading universities of the world so that a strong voice can emerge on the issue.

Former Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar said that India is presenting a systematic example of genocide through its atrocities in Kashmir and is making it evident that it is the territory it wants and is not concerned about the people. He called for taking both humanitarian and territorial aspects of the conflict side by side and also called for having a strong Kashmir Committee that can present the case well at international forums. Dr. Farhan Chak from Qatar University also called for internalising the event b reaching out to more countries and regions and by having Kashmiri representation in all leading international engagements. Dr. Nasim Zehra while addressing the hearing remarked that Pakistan is a party and not an aggressor in this conflict and Pakistan can and should do better than what it has done till date.