The Pakistani Consulate-General and the Scottish Human Rights Forum hosts a panel to observe Kashmir Solidarity Day.
February 5th marked Kashmir Solidarity Day, to bring attention to alleged human rights abuses in the Indian controlled region of Kashmir, with allegations of political repression, extrajudicial killings, and censorship in the contested region. The Consulate General, Zahid Raza, along with the Scottish Human Rights Forum jointly marked the event with academics, former residents, and Scottish Politicians speaking about the situation in Kashmir.
Speakers included noted politicians from across Scotland. SNP MP Alison Thewliss, of Glasgow Central, talked about the difficulties of pushing debate around Kashmir in the House of Commons and noted the SNP’s support for Kashmir on the principle of self-determination.
The panel also had Labour MSP, Pauline McNeill, who compared the situation to that of Palestine, noting: “There are a lot of parallels… Parallels of living under occupation, living under a regime that is respected by parts of the world and never questioned about its behaviour.” The panel was moderated by North Lanarkshire SNP Councillor Junaid Ashraf.
Dr Irfan Jahangir, a former resident of Kashmir, called the region “the world largest prison” and further noted how Kashmir has in many ways been cut off from the rest of the world, and how the people in the region have had many rights taken away from them, especially since 2019. He commented on the importance of freedom of speech; a freedom that he believes that many, including journalists, do not have in the Kashmir region. He noted that the government “are completely squeezing any space for [media coverage] about the oppression”. He explained that this is a large cause of the lack of awareness regarding the Kashmir conflict.
Dr Javed H Gill, the president of the Scottish Human Rights Forum, gave details regarding the treatment of the people of Kashmir. He noted that the people of Kashmir are deprived of the “sanctity of life” and “sanctity of honour”, both of which he asserted as basic human rights.
The Consulate General remarked at the event: “Pakistan remains deeply concerned with the worsening human rights and security situation in illegally occupied Kashmir… Since January 1st, at least 24 Kashmiris have been murdered in this unabated reign of terror. The government of Pakistan and our missions abroad have been arranging programmes on this day and will continue to arrange such programmes, which will support our Kashmiri brothers and sisters.”