Expansionist designs of India, a threat to world peace: Shehryar Afridi

ISLAMABAD:Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi Monday said that expansionist designs of India were a threat to world peace and if the world fails to bring resolution to conflict zone of Jammu and Kashmir, no one can rule out the possibility of a new war erupting between Pakistan and India.

He expressed these views while addressing the participants of a seminar held here titled ‘Mass rapes’ by occupational forces of India in Kunan Poshpora, Kupwara, Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on February 23, 1991. The event was held under the auspices of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (ISCR) in laision with Embassy of Azerbaijan.

He said Indian occupational forces were waging a ‘rape war’ using rape as tool of genocide against the freedom loving Kashmiris in IIOJK and the failure of world community in punishing the culprits of Kupwara mass rapes might lead to eruption of a new war between two nuclear neighbours.

Afridi said that until recently, there existed no punishment for ‘war rape’ in international law.

“War crimes or humanitarian law specifically focuses on the treatment of the civilian population and ‘any devastation not justified by military necessity’ . Thereafter, war rape has rarely been prosecuted as a war crime. Since 1949 Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits wartime rape and enforced prostitution.

He said the United Nations and the prosperous world needs to take steps to protect the weak and unprotected segments of society”.

He said that repeated incidents of massacres and genocide reflected that the world had failed to protect the oppressed people living in conflict zones as ‘might is right prevails.’

Shehryar Afridi said that the mass rapes of women in IIOJK and Khojaly, Nagorno-Karabakh had been used by occupational forces as tool of genocide.

Kunan Poshpora in Kupwara is the most scenic area of IIOJK but the mass rapes of 1991 have left scars in the minds of the people of Kashmir.

He said the international community had done nothing to punish the culprits of Kupwara, the genocide in Khojaly might not have happened.

“Any new war may suck in other nuclear powers of the region. Hence, this conflict may not remain limited,” warned the chairman.

He said that India was being ruled by a fascist regime of Narendra Modi who believed in Hindu supremacist ideology and all minorities in India were under a threat of genocide.

He said that unfortunately, rape was also used a tool of punishment in conflict zones and history suggested that this one element of violence was used as an effective weapon and strategy for disarming psychological war.

“This weapon of rape was used by many combatants and this global issue has no national boundaries of ideology or religion”.

He said that it was more of associated with masculine identity commonly but in war times there was often violation of men and children too through different means of torture and distress.

“Therefore, it often does not remain gender bound but women being soft target are more of victim of rape in war precincts. There are many examples of such mass rapes during conflicts and war times during Rawanda genocide, Bosnia & Kosovo conflicts, Khojaly massacre by Armenian forces in Azerbaijan and not to forget Kashmir where such incidents occur frequently to suppress freedom movement, ” he added.

Afridi said that in Kashmiri history, mass rape incident ensued in area of Kunan Poshpora in February 1991 and social stigma generated out of this incident was that women still faced difficulties in getting married.

He said that the South Asian subcontinent was the least gender sensitive region in the world. It is the only region in the world where men outnumber women.

Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizade highlighted the genocide perpetrated by the Armenian army in Nagorno-Karabakh area of Khojaly and said that the occupational forces committed massive killings to suppress the voices against freedom of Nagorno-Karabakh.

He said that despite United Nations Security Council resolutions, the world community failed to help the oppressed people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

He also urged the United Nations to hold plebiscite in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Defence analyst Lt General (R) Amjad Shoaib and Dr Salma Malik, Assistant Professor also addressed the seminar.