Seminar: India changing occupied Kashmir demography, say speakers

Our Correspondent
Saturday, May 14, 2022

PESHAWAR: The Indian government and extremist organisations like RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were bent on demographic engineering of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) by changing the demography of the held valley unilaterally in complete violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the Geneva Convention which is tantamount to a war crime.

This was the crux of the one-day special seminar on “IOJK- Indian Attempt to Change Demography is War Crime” held at the Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia), the University of Peshawar on Friday.

President, Institute of Regional Studies Centre, Islamabad Nadeem Riyaz, was the chief guest on the occasion, while the seminar was also addressed by Prof Dr Shabir Ahmad Khan, Director, Area Study Centre.

Dr Shabbir, in his welcome remarks, spoke about the importance of the Kashmir issue in the context of the national interest of Pakistan. He said only annexation of Indian Occupied Kashmir to Pakistan could heal the wounds of the separation of Eastern Pakistan in 1971.

Nadeem Riaz said the Modi regime in India was trying to change the demographic pattern of IOJK. He spoke at length about the demographic changes in IOJK and the status of the Indian-held valley as occupied territory.

Nadeem Riaz discussed the armed conflict in Kashmir, various international conventions, war crimes committed by the Modi regime and the way forward for Pakistan. Explaining events about Kashmir in chronological order, he put forward his arguments about the legal status and complications along with changes in legislation with special reference to Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution.

He opined that the imposition of “New Domicile Laws” would affect the Muslim majority of Kashmir adversely. Nadeem Riaz spoke about the armed conflict in Kashmir in light of the Hague Regulations, Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Geneva Convention. He mentioned the “Rome Statute of 1998” and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Speaking about war crimes, he argued the genocide in IOJK and the efforts for changing demography could be termed a war crime. As a way forward, he said, Pakistan must plead the cause of Kashmir at the UNSC, Under Article 13(b) of ICC, which empowers the UNSC to refer a crime to the prosecutor of the ICC.

Pakistan should approach the UNSC under Chapter-VII, Article-39 which is related to ‘Threats to International Peace and Security and Pakistan can also seek an advisory opinion on Occupied Kashmir from the ICJ under UN Charter.