‘Kashmiri ethnicity on verge of extinction’

Rasheed Khalid
Friday, May 24, 2024

Islamabad:Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairperson, the World Forum for Peace and Justice, has said that Kashmiris worldwide must speak up for the right to self-determination as their identity was facing a threat of extinction.

Dr. Fai was addressing a roundtable discussion on ‘Kashmir cause and the role of diaspora’ organised here by the Institute of Regional Studies. Dr Fai noted that following the repeal of Article 35-A, India has accelerated demographic shifts in Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Asma Shakir Khawaja, Executive Director, Centre for International Strategic Studies, AJK, said that the Kashmiri diaspora had been at the forefront in promoting the Kashmir cause and they deserve greater appreciation and support.

Dr Mujahid Gillani, the nephew of Asia Andrabi, said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been facing atrocities for decades, but their stories had not been conveyed well to the world in an impactful manner, therefore, he urged that the young Kashmiris should be sent to international forums to galvanise the international support for the rights of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Altaf Hussain Wani, Chairperson, Kashmir Institute of International Relations, expressed concern over the lack of literature on the Kashmir issue from Azad Kashmir and Pakistan and thus emphasised the need for extensive writing to combat Indian misinformation.

Dr Serena Hussain, Associate Professor at the University of Coventry, stated that diasporas being displaced from their homeland were actively working to preserve their identity. For instance, the British Kashmiri diaspora initiated a campaign in 2021 to gain recognition in the UK as Kashmiris, aiming to establish “Kashmiri identity” as a distinct ethnic group. Dr Waleed Rassol, Farzana Yaqoob and Maryam Mastoor from IRS unanimously called for a change in policies and approach towards Kashmir in the light of present-day challenges faced by Kashmiris.