International Council for Human Development

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Exhibiting the cultural depth of Kashmir

by: Ali Raza Syed 

Dear friends,

I welcome you all on the occasion of the launch of this extra-ordinary exhibition of the paintings, photographs, handicrafts and books depicting the beauty of the paradise on earth and the situations that have turned it a hell for its people. More than anybody else, one again, I am happy to express my gratitude to the host of this event, Mr. Sajjad Haider Karim who is the sole inspiration and basic strength behind this event. Indeed, he has proved himself as one of the most worthwhile and praiseworthy Pakistanis living in Europe. 

As a native Kashmiri myself, I am always extremely proud of the great cultural heritage of Kashmir, which was made by the collective living of many religions including Budhism, Hinduism and Sufi Islam. I must say that it was the peaceful and trustful collective living that reflected itself at the time of partition as no single event of brutality was seen in Kashmir.

On the other hands, extremely peaceful, respectful and creative people of Kashmir had suffered long periods of dictatorial regimes during thousands of years of their history. Unfortunately, the larger part of the Kashmir is still undergoing sufferings of the worst injustice, torture, rape, humiliation and slavery perpetrated by Indian security forces and armies. The stories of misery are horrendous. In fact, it is shameful to every peace loving and humanist individual of the world. It demands all of us to stand up and struggle for the realising of their rights thorough all the peaceful and legal manners.

I am proud of the fact that this exhibition is one of such events. Without uttering many cliché words, these exhibitions depict the history and the present of hapless nation of Kashmir. The future, however, we have to make ourselves. We have to make this future with the help of humanist forces present in all the societies of the world. I feel satisfied to see that the region of Europe, represented by great institutions such as EU, is an example of the fact that positive thinking and sincere efforts can achieve remarkable goals. We have this glorious human heritage of EU at the back of our struggle for justice, peace and equality. 

I am extremely thankful to Ms. Jamila Saghri who took pain to travel and exhibit here work of passion to all of us. Indeed, her work is the source of inspiration for all of us. And once again, I express my gratitude to distinguished MEPs, diplomats, intellectuals, scholars, journalists and peace activists that have giving us the honour of enjoying their presence here. 

The people of Kashmir want and must have the freedom of movement, freedom to earn a decent livelihood, the freedom to educate their children, in short, they want their basic human rights including right to self determination. 

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