Canberra: Kashmir Solidarity Day was commemorated across Australia, with multiple events organized across major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Car rallies featuring pictures that expressed support for Kashmiris and their quest for justice and self-determination also gained a lot of public attention on Monday.
The main event was organized at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Sydney, bringing together Australian parliamentarians, human rights activists, media personnel, and members of the Pakistani and Kashmiri Diaspora. The participants underscored the need for a collective commitment to just resolution of the longstanding Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
High Commissioner Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, in his address, highlighted the political, legal, and humanitarian aspects of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He underscored the gravity of the situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). He informed that India has maintained its occupation of IIOJK for seventy-six years, making it one of the oldest unresolved dispute on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agenda.
The situation worsened after India’s illegal actions on August 5, 2019, aimed at further disempowering the Kashmiri people. The recent events, such as the Indian Supreme Court’s judgment on December 11, 2023, further signalled India’s intent to consolidate its illegal occupation of IIOJK.
Expressing concerns over the human rights situation in IIOJK, the High Commissioner stressed that India needs to ensure the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people. He commended the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their resilience against Indian oppression and brutality.
Reiterating Pakistan’s unwavering support for the just struggle of the Kashmiri people, the High Commissioner emphasized that Pakistan will continue to lend full moral, diplomatic and political support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir till just realization of their right to self-determination.
Senator David Shoebridge, renowned for his commitment to human rights, in his message emphasized the collective responsibility of the international community to protect the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
He urged that commercial and political considerations should not supersede universal human rights, and international relations should be based on shared values.
Former Member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane, and other Speakers echoed concerns over the humanitarian and human rights crisis in IIOJK, calling for an immediate end to gross and systematic human rights violations and a just resolution of the longstanding dispute based on international legitimacy.
A photo exhibition highlighting the atrocities faced by Kashmiris at the hands of Indian forces was also organized, serving as a powerful visual testament to the ongoing struggle for justice, peace, and the realization of the right to self-determination for the people of IIOJK.