The Kashmir Solidarity Day 2023 was befittingly observed in Norway. The Embassy organized a Seminar/Webinar at the Chancery on 6 February 2023 to mark the day. The Seminar was attended by prominent Norwegian political figures, Members of Norwegian Parliament (MPs), scholars and representatives of the local media and members of the Pakistani and Kashmiri Communities in Norway. Earlier, on 5 February 2023, the Kashmiri and Pakistani organizations carried out a peaceful demonstration in front of the Norwegian Parliament building in Oslo. The protestors called for an immediate end to ongoing human rights abuses in IIOJK and holding of a free and fair plebiscite for ensuring Kashmiris’ right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
In the Seminar held at the Embassy, the speakers included Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, Ex-Prime Minister of Norway and Executive Chair, the Oslo Centre, Mr. Frode Jacobsen, Member of Parliament (Labour Party), Mr. Khalid Mahmood, former MP, Mr. Geir Lippestad, Chairman Sentrum Party, Mr. Akhtar Chaudhary, former MP, Mr. Siavash Mobasheri, Parliamentary leader (Red Party) and Mr. Mahmood Ahmad, Representative of Socialist Left Party. Ms. Mushal Hussain Mullick, Chairperson Peace and Culture Organization, virtually spoke on the occasion.
In his remarks, the former Prime Minister of Norway Mr Kjell Magne Bondevick shared his personal observation when he visited both sides of the LOC in Kashmir. He mentioned that India was hindering implementation of UN Resolutions which demanded a referendum for the future status of Kashmir. It had also not responded positively to any efforts for bilateral dialogue with Pakistan for a settlement of dispute. Mr. Bondevick added that the parties should recognize Kashmir as the central dispute and strive for a solution acceptable to both countries as well as to the people of Kashmir. Condemning the increased oppression since India altered the constitutional status of Kashmir, he called on the Norwegian government to raise the dire human rights situation in Kashmir with the Indian government. The former Norwegian Prime Minister also called on the UN Secretary General to take initiative on Kashmir for lasting peace and reconciliation in the region.
Mr. Frode Jacobsen, Member of the Norwegian Parliament from the Labour Party, underlined the importance of creating an atmosphere of peace and security for sustainable solution to the dispute. He called for a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir under the relevant Security Council resolutions to allow the Kashmiris to exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.
Mr. Geir Lippestad, Chairman Sentrum Party, stated that the Kashmir dispute and the human rights violations in IIOJK is one of the main agenda of his party. He further stated that the resolution of the Kashmir issue is of paramount importance and urged the Norwegian Government to raise and pursue the Kashmir issue at UNSC. He also urged Norway to impress upon the Indian Government to respect the human rights of Kashmiris and allow the people of Kashmir their right to self-determination.
Mr. Khalid Mehmood, former Parliamentarian from the Labour Party, highlighted India’s double standards vis-à-vis the accession issue of princely states of Junagarh & Manawadar and Jammu & Kashmir. He condemned the draconian policies of the RSS-BJP regime to alter the demographic structure of the disputed territory of Kashmir and their continued spree of egregious human rights violations. He added that lack of will of international community to address the dispute had caused incalculable human loss and had turned Srinagar into a military fortress under the fascist extremist regime of RSS-BJP. He mentioned that the solution to the dispute is embodied in the UN binding resolutions on Kashmir, calling for a free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices.
Mr. Akhtar Chaudhry, former Member of Norwegian Parliament from the Socialist Left Party, called upon the participating Members of Parliament to urge the government to play a meaningful role to stop the gross human rights violations in IIOJK and take a principled position for holding a plebiscite, in accordance to the UN Security Council Resolutions.
Mr. Mahmod Ahmad, City Counsellor from the Socialist Party, noted that he will raise the issue within his party and urge the government to take notice of the human rights violations in Kashmir. He added that the issue had relevance to Norwegian policy of peace, reconciliation and protection of human rights.
Expressing his views, Mr. Siavash Mobasheri of Red Party regretted that Kashmir had been under the longest siege. He stated that Modi was not heeding attention to the plights of Kashmiris. He bemoaned that the international community was not playing its due role by stopping India from worst human rights violations. He stated that his party supported nations fighting against oppression including Kashmiris and Palestinians. He further stated that the issue of the Kashmir should be resolved in accordance with relevant UNSC Resolutions.
In an emotional speech, Ms. Mushaal Mallick, wife of Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik and Chairperson of Peace and Culture Organization, shared her ordeal and suffering that she and her daughter were passing through due to incarceration of Yasin Malik. She highlighted the plight of Kashmiri people and urged the international community to play its role in the resolution of Kashmir dispute as per the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people and in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions. She recalled her visit to Norway and appreciated the support for Kashmir she received during her visit. She further stated that India had terribly violated human rights of Kashmiris under the watch of UN and international community. She lamented that all diplomacy aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue was marred by various false flag operations by India on one pretext or another. She underscored that India was creating hindrance to peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute. She highlighted that Indian Occupation Forces used draconian laws to silence the voices of freedom. She stated that India was directly ruled by terrorist organization RSS who subjected minorities in India to exemplary punishment. Alluding to the regional tensions at a potential nuclear flashpoint, she appealed to Norway and international community to urge India to come to dialogue table so as to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
In her concluding remarks, Ambassador Saadia Altaf Qazi thanked the speakers and guests for attending the Seminar and raising their voices in solidarity with the people of IIOJK. She stated that the Kashmir resolution lies in implementation of relevant UNSC resolutions. She stated that Norway being a torch bearer of human rights and conflict resolution should not lag behind in support the Kashmir issue.
Besides speeches, a documentary on the atrocities committed in IIOJK was also shown to the participants of the Seminar. The whole programme was live-streamed on the official Facebook page of the Mission, and received wide projection through the social media platform.
6 February 2023