Maleeha Lodhi slams Indian oppression in Kashmir, calls curfew ‘107 days of shame, infamy’

  • Every day in Kashmir is Black Day, says Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN

Pakistan is pushing the international community to pressurize India into allowing the struggling Kashmiri people to exercise their U.N-pledged right of self-determination through a plebiscite, to pave the way for peace and stability in the region, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has said.

Speaking at a large gathering of Pakistani and Kashmiri community members on Saturday, she denounced the brutal tactics employed by Indian security forces in suppressing the mass uprising, and described the prolonged curfews in occupied Kashmir as “107 days of shame and infamy”.

More than 115 Kashmiri people have been killed and another 15,000 injured, with 150 blinded for life by deadly pellet injuries, due to Indian security forces brutal and inhuman crackdown on protests against the killing of the popular Kashmiri Youth leader, Burhan Wani.

“Under the direction and advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, we have raised, and will continue to raise the Kashmir dispute at all forums of the United Nations,” Ambassador Lodhi told a meeting held at Pakistan House to mark the anniversary of India’s massive invasion and occupation of Kashmir on 27 October 1947, known as “Black Day.”

She said the prime minister had set the pace when he addressed the UN General Assembly’s high-level session in September and made a clarion call for the people of Kashmir to be granted their long overdue UN-pledged right of self-determination and demanded an international probe into the atrocities set loose upon a civilian population by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir.

The Pakistan delegation to the U.N. kept up the momentum by focusing the international community’s attention to human rights violations in Kashmir and its people’s struggle for freedom from the Indian yoke of oppression, she said at the meeting, which was organized by Pakistan Consulate General in New York.

“Today is not the only ‘Black Day’ in Kashmir – every day in Kashmir is black as long as the state is under occupation,” the Pakistani envoy said, adding that Pakistan would continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for self-determination.

She debunked the notion that Pakistan was isolated, saying such claims were made to demoralize the Pakistani people. In this regard, she cited a resolution adopted by the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at foreign minister-level in Tashkent earlier this month. “Does this mean Pakistan is isolated?” she asked.

Ambassador Lodhi called on doctors in Pakistani and Kashmiri communities to volunteer their services to provide necessary treatment to the sick and wounded in occupied Kashmir. She also urged the Pakistani and Kashmiri expat communities in the US to draw the attention of fellow American to the plight of Kashmiri people through all available means.

Other speakers included Kashmiri activists Dr. Asif Rehman, Shafiq Siddiui, Imtiaz Guralvi, Shafqat Tanveer, and Sardar Sawar Khan, a former member of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council.

Todd Shea, an American who did relief work during the 2008 earthquake, also made a stirring call in support of Kashmiri people’s struggle for freedom.