PERTH, Australia: Hundreds of people from different communities gathered at a peaceful demonstration on Sunday in Perth to express their support for the people of Kashmir and their struggle against Indian brutalities.
The event was organized by several organizations including Islamic Circle of Australia and New Zealand (iCAN), Australian Islamic College (AIC), Pakistanis Association of Western Australia (PAWA), Pakistanis in Australia (PIA) and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (WA Chapter).
A working group comprising of representatives of various organizations was formed under the leadership of Abdullah Khan who is the head of AIC which operates in WA as well as SA.
A large number of people, including women and children, gathered at Forrest Place Perth CBD in a peaceful demonstration. They strongly condemned Indian atrocities and human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The venue echoed with slogans of freedom and right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir.
The speakers included senior academic at Murdoch University Dr Toni Pikos, senior leader at AFIC Dr Rateb Jneid, community leader Omair Chodhry, senior academic at University of Western Australia Dr Atif Malik, filmmaker and activist Tarek Chamkhi, community leader and member of Islamic Circle of Australia and New Zealand Muhammad Nabeel Musharraf, community leader Dr Zarin Seema Siddiqui from PIA and community leader Dr Jahangir from PAWA.
They also called on the United Nations and the international community to take notice of human rights violations in the disputed region.
The demonstrators highlighted the recent violation of human rights carried out by the Indian government in the state of Kashmir and termed it unconstitutional as well as a breach of international laws supported by the United Nation resolutions.
The speakers said the change in the status of Kashmir was unacceptable and a matter of grave concern for the neighbouring counties as well as the international community. They unanimously rejected the actions taken by the Indian government to abolish the special autonomous status of the state of Kashmir. The volatile region of two nuclear states should be handled carefully and a denial of basic human rights in Jammu and Kashmir has all the possibility of escalation of the conflict to unbearable consequences.
The Indian government has been trying to suppress the voice of people of Kashmir through barbaric use of force. The protesters also urged the international community and leaders in general and in Australian government, in particular, to step up their peace efforts, help reverse Indian government’s actions and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect the people of Kashmir.
The speakers also urged the Australian government to play a leading diplomatic role in giving the people of Kashmir their fundamental right of a plebiscite to decide about their future to join India or Pakistan.
They demanded that curfew be lifted immediately and the international humanitarian aid agencies be allowed in Kashmir to address the aggravating humanitarian crisis. Seeking unrestrictive access of the UN observer to all areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the speakers demanded the release of Kashmir people arrested by the Indian forces. The participants of the demonstration also made an unequivocal call for the withdrawal of all armed forces from the disputed territory.