London, 26th October 1996 - Thousands of Kashmiris, including hundreds of women and children along with the supporters of the Kashmiri cause, demonstrated against the five-decade long Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and pledged to continue their struggle till India ends its illegal seizure of Kashmir and Kashmiri people gain their freedom.
Demonstrators, from all parts of Britain, had gathered in a big rally at the Hyde Park in London where they were addressed by community leaders. Leaders gave called fervently for greater unity and solidarity among the Kashmiri people both inside and outside Kashmir.
Mr Farooq Rehmani, Chairman, J&K People's League (Azad Kashmir Chapter) stressed that only united jihad would bring Kashmiri people to their cherished goal of freedom, and, for which they should not depend anybody else's than the help of Allah Almighty for deliverance from Indian subservience.
Dr Ayyub Thukar, President, World Kashmir Freedom Movement said, Kashmiri sacrifices of 50, 000 lives would be negated if Pakistan and India reportedly enter into the most favoured nations trade deal between them.
Dr Thukar said, that All Parties Hurriyet Conference has already apprised Pakistan about its stand against any such deal. He, however, called for a delegation to go to the Pakistan High Commission in Britain to convey the Kashmiris and their supporters strong reaction against any trade deal with India, till such time the Kashmiri struggle for the right of self-determination achieves its goal.
He appealed to the participants as well as all to Kashmiris and their supporters to sign the Petition to Her Majesty's Government on Kashmir in large numbers, for which, he added, the last date has been extended to 18 November, 1996. He also reminded the audience that on 21 November this year, Kashmiris and their supporters would be lobbying MPs in the House of Commons and urged them to join the lobby in huge numbers.
Those addressing the rally included Choudhry Alla Ditta, Chairman, All Parties Kashmir Coordinating Committee, UK; Abdul Latif Malik, President of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, UK; Ms Firdous Hakeem, Chairperson All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA) Midlands; Dr Abdul Rehman Mahroo of Secretary, Kashmir Coordinating Committee, UK.
Others who also spoke were Mohammad Ghalib, Secretary, General, Tehreek-i-Kashmir, UK; Zulfikar Ali of J&K Liberation League, UK; Maulana Mohammad Yakub Chisti.; Kawaja Shaukat Hussain of J&K Peoples Party, UK. Shabbir Hussain, Azad Kashmir Jamaat-i-Islami, UK, and leaders of religious and political organisations in UK and Councillors of British Boroughs.
From Hyde Park, the demonstration, headed by women and children, marched through principal streets of London and ended at the Trafalgar Square in the evening. Demonstrators were carrying numerous anti-Indian placards.
Separate memorandums, one to the British Prime Minister, John Major and the other to the Indian Prime Minister, Deve Gowda were handed at 10 Downing street and at the Indian High Commission respectively.
Memorandum to John Major said, "Kashmiris have braved India's long betrayal of its solemn commitments that they would be able to decide their own political destiny. And, it seems to the Kashmiris now that certain governments in the world would like to go along with this century's greatest perfidy, impregnably armoured as they are with their self-interest and apathy towards five decades of Kashmiri deprivation and suffering".
It said, "No conscientious human being could be wallowing at the recent electoral victory of India's yes-men in occupied Kashmir. More so because of the continuing repression of the people, the constant threats on the lives of popular Kashmiri leadership, perpetual ban on the leaders' political activity. If New Delhi thinks it has conquered the crisis in occupied Kashmir or there would again be normalcy in the territory, the recent incidents of bomb-blasts in various sensitive places destroy such misconception".
It added: "Given the will, the British Government in concert with other major powers, can bring about a change in Kashmir by promoting a dialogue between all the parties concerned, i.e. the Governments of India and Pakistan and genuine representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This is surely not much to ask for".
Memorandum to Deve Gowda said: "The long history of India's unlawful approach to Kashmir, beginning from the fraudulent accession of 1947, to the 1952 Delhi Agreement and the 1975 Kashmir accord, has been well documented and remains a record of India's betrayal of Kashmiri people".
It said: "And, as long as Indian deception continues, so would the Kashmiri struggle persevere steadfastly in its objective of securing the right of self-determination to the people. Already, the government of India's yes-men which the fraudulent elections has brought about, is facing tremendous difficulties, including the one flowing from the fact that it is regarded illegal by the people, and that its writ would not run in the occupied territory".
It added: "Prime Minister, representing as you do the aspirations of India's small and far-flung states, you could prove a catalyst in bringing about a major and beneficial change in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir - beneficial to India, Kashmir and to the region at large. And, provided you come to terms with the reality in Kashmir and with the genuine aspirations of its people, you could promote a trilateral negotiation for a meaningful and permanent solution of the Kashmir conflict".
Press Release: World Kashmir Freedom Movement
Photos: Gharib Hanif
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