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Indian nation day; Kashmiri black day

Kashmir Council EU observes the 15th August 2011, the 65th independence day of India, as black day. A peaceful demonstration was held with the collaboration of Kashmir Centre Holland in front Indian Embassy in Hague on the black day. A large number of Kashmiris and the supporters attended the demonstration. The protestors holding placards chanted anti-Indian slogans and called the international community to stop the atrocities in Indian Held Kashmir.

Issuing a statement on the occasion, Kashmir Council EU Chairman, we want to convey a clear message to the world that why we observe black day on Indian National day?  Kashmiris want to show the world that Kashmir was not part of India but New Delhi held the territory by force. He said, about 63 years back then Indian Leader Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru gave a pledge to a huge gathering of Kashmiris at Lal Chawk Srinagar that Kashmiris would be free to decide their future. Indian leaders several times, assured the Kashmiris, “We have no desire to impose our will on Kashmir. Our assurance is that we shall withdraw our forces from Kashmir and leave the Kashmiris to decide freely through a plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nation.”

Explaining the current situation in Indian Held Kashmir, the statement condemned the extra judicial and custodial killings of innocent Kashmiris in the held valley.
The statement called the international community to come forward and pressurize India to let the Kashmiris to decide about their future freely. The right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir should be given them with out any delay.

Briefing to AJK President, Raja Zulqurnain Khan

The chairperson ICHD, Ali Raza Syed met Azad Kashmir President, Raja Zulqurnain Khan at Kashmir House Islamabad on 8th of April 2011. Ali Raza Syed briefed the president about the activities of the ICHD in Europe. He presented a report as well to the president.

President AJK appreciated the services of ICHD for highlighting Kashmir issue at European levels. Especially, he appreciated One-Million Signature Campaign launched in Europe. He also insisted on unity among the forces struggling for Kashmir issue abroad. He said that the unity was the most pressing need of time and that the positive forces should be united and well coordinated to raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the international level. 

Ali Raza Syed briefed him of the ICHD efforts to launch a large scale struggle to set up a grand alliance at international level on Kashmir issue. He said that they wanted a united and effective voice for Kashmiris. Briefing about the activities of ICHD, he said the Council was trying to bridge the cultural and social gaps of the Kashmiri Diaspora while bringing the Kashmiri community closer to the mainstream European society and its highly spiritual and humanist values of justice, peace, freedom, democracy, human equality, gender equality and interfaith harmony. He explained the efforts of the council in raising the Kashmir issue at different forums through meetings, seminars, conferences at the different places including EU parliament and assemblies of the different countries including federal legislative body of Belgium.

“The Council started lobbying with the European Parliamentarians on the gross human rights violations unearthed by the reports of the leading international human rights organizations and parliamentary groups visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir”, he further said.
Giving detail about current movement, Ali Raza Syed said that recent campaign of ICHD for collection of ‘One Million Signatures’ from European citizens attracted large numbers of the people in Belgium, Holland and France. He said ICHD shall take the campaign in every country and big city of Europe. 

Stay connected,Stay committed

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) addressed the media, on 4th of April 2011, and vowed its continued commitment to the cause of the independent Kashmir. The chairperson, Ali Raza Syed addressed the press conference, in Brussels, along with renowned human rights activist, Marjan Lucas who has spend several years in research and activism on the issue of Kashmir. 

Ali Raza Syed said that his organization was committed to continue exposing the crimes of the brutal Indian forces in Indian held Kashmir. He said 13 million Kashmiri Diaspora of the world was not ready to allow anybody to suppress or malign the lawful and peaceful freedom movement of Kashmir. 

Marjan Lucas said that international community should not let the Kashmiris suffer anymore. Responding to the arrest and later release of Dr.Ghulam Nabi Fai, Ali Raza that the just cause of Kashmir was above the personalities and all people that struggle for the just cause of Kashmir shall continue receiving our support. He expressed his concerns over the mysterious silence of international community about the issue of Kashmir unlike the issues of South Sudan, Eastern Tamur and Kosovo. He declared that the One Million Signature Campaign shall continue to achieve its goals because it was based on the real facts and support from the human rights organizations and international forums of the world.

He demanded that the India should demilitarize the Kashmir, immediately release all the political prisoners, punish all the security personals involve in human rights abuses and remove all the black laws from their statutory books.

The grand international alliance of Kashmiri activists

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) announced in a press conference a campaign for bringing all the major Kashmiri forums and organisations to one platform for a joint struggle for the same cause. The chairperson of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed said this in a press conference organised in Islamabad on 14th of March 2011. 
He said, though a number of groups and organisations were working on the issue of Kashmir at EU and other foreign countries but a collective effort was needed to make their voice more valuable and impactful. He said that there was a need to adopt joint strategy as well. He emphasized upon the international community not to ignore the Kashmir issue. He said that the world bodies should take the action on Kashmir as they had taken actions in East Taimoor, Kosovo and South Sudan. 
He identified the lack of coordination between myriad Kashmiri leadership as the main reason behind the weakness of their efforts. He said that the leadership of both AJK and IHK should adopt a joint strategy for their joint struggle. He said that the Kashmiri leadership could not afford the internal disunity since Kashmiris around the world were crying for justice. They were wailing, pleading, protesting, demonstrating, sacrificing their lives to achieve the minimum standard of a collective life as human being.
He introduced International Council for Human Development and Kashmir Council-EU as well. He said that it was a platform of the Kashmiri Diaspora that was struggling to promote the awareness, in the European societies, states and institutions, about the plight of Kashmiri people and their rights as recommended, advocated and demanded by the United Nations, European Union and other international forums, think-tanks and leading international human rights organizations. 
“The Council is a network of active professionals, businessmen/women, human rights activists, women, students, children and workers. The Council bridges the cultural and social gaps of the Kashmiri Diaspora while bringing the Kashmiri community close to the mainstream European society and its highly spiritual and humanist values of justice, peace, freedom, democracy, gender equality and Interfaith harmony”, Said Ali Raza. 
He said that the Kashmir Council EU had raised the Kashmir issue at the different forums through meetings, seminars, conferences at the different forums including EU parliament and assemblies of the different countries. The Council started lobbying with the European Parliamentarians on the gross human rights violations unearthed by the reports of the leading international human rights organizations and parliamentary groups visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir. Introducing recent Campaign of Kashmir Council EU for collection of ‘One Million Signatures’ from Europeans, he said that a large number of people in Belgium, Holland and France had signed the appeal. 
Chairman Kashmir Council EU said that the just solution of Kashmir issue was equally important for India and Pakistan. Further, he said that any dialogue between India and Pakistan should be based on seeking the solution of the central issue of Kashmir. He said that no dialogue could be productive without the solution of Kashmir issue.

Solidarity Rally in Den Haag

The Kashmir Centre Holland, Kashmir Council-EU and IKV Pax Christi jointly organised a demonstration on 5th February 2011 in DEN HAAG Netherland. Like Pakistan, the solidarity Day was observed on 5th February in Europe to renew commitment to continue supporting the Kashmiris brethren for their right to self-determination.
The demonstration was headed by Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed, Executive Director Kashmir Centre Holland and Marian Locus of IKV Pax Christi while Malik Ajmal, senior leader of PPP-Belgium, Sardar Sadeek, president Muslim Conference Europe, Ch Pervez Losar, President of PML-Q, Hajj Khalil and Ch.Khalid Joshi of Kashmir Council EU address the participants. Other prominent leaders of Europe including Haji Muneer, Shahid Farooqi, Raja Javed and Syed Sajid Shah were also present in the rally.
On the occasion, Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed said that they expressed complete solidarity with the people of Kashmiri in their glorious struggle against injustice and repression. He said that the Kashmiris were fighting for their right to self determination for more than 6 decades and still they did not show any sign of hopelessness. He said the voices of cries from the Kashmir were reaching all over the world. Introducing the One-Million Signature Campaign launched by ICHD, he said that they had embarked upon that important initiative to aware the citizen of Europe about the conditions of life in Kashmir. He said that the other objective of the campaign was to mount international pressure on India. He said that such moves shall bring European citizens and Kashmiris closer to each other.  
“It is clear fact that grave atrocities are being committed against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and every day is witnessed of killings of innocent Kashmiris including women and children. Young people are being disappeared and large scale unnamed graves are being discovered in the valley but no one of the world powers supports the Kashmiris and neither any international organisation pays any attention on the cries”, said Ali Raza. 
The participant of the demonstration called upon the United Nations and the international community to help Kashmiri people in getting their fundamental rights to self-determination by implementing its various resolutions in letter and spirit.

Indian Republic Day is black day for Kashmiris

On 26th of January 2011, Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed, addressed a press conference terming the republic day of India as the black day for Kashmiris since continuing Indian occupation of Kashmir had converted the valley into a military camp. He said the day had no importance in the valley since the Kashmiris were struggling for their right to self determination. The members of Core Committee of Kashmir Council EU, Haji Mohammad Khalil and Ch.Khalid Mahmood Joshi also spoke to the media. 

Ali Raza Syed said that Indian troops were using brutal forces against the harmless and innocent protesters in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and last year, exercise of the violent forces against the peaceful protestors resulted in more than 100 deaths in the territory.  Several of the killed and injured were children and this situation prompted anger amongst general public. He pointed out that the children detained for participating in protests by the Indian authorities in IHK were held in jails with adults, which violated the juvenile justice law.

The speakers told that there were currently above 700,000 Indian troops deployed in Kashmir, which was a clear violation of democratic rights of the Kahsmiri people, they said. 
The speakers said that they would continue their drive for awareness on Kashmir issue in Europe. Ali Raza Syed said that the One-Million Signature Campaign was an important part of their struggle in Europe. The speakers said that Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the world observed Indian Republic Day as Black Day to remind the international community that India’s continued denial of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination was contrary to its claim of being a democratic republic.
Commenting on UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya recent visit to the valley, Ali Raza Syed termed the delegate’s visit to Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) as a significance development in the context of Kashmir issue. He said, the visit gained significance in wake of last year’s unrest in Kashmir in which a large number of the civilians were killed and wounded by the Indian security forces.

Ali Raza Syed emphasized that the recommendations of the Rapporteur should be used to improve the situation of the human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and make useful ground for the just solution of the problem. He sought probe into large scale human rights violations during the past two decades in the suppression of peoples. He urged the UN to conduct an impartial inquiry into the extra judicial killings in Kashmir particularly after the discovery of thousands unnamed graves in the valley should be investigated immediately.

The speakers drew parallels as well. They said that if If International community could hold referendum in Southern Sudan and East Taimoor for democratic rights of the people, then why it was not possible to arrange the plebiscite under the UN supervision? They demanded serious actions of the international community for peaceful and just settlement of the Kashmir problem according to the wishes of the Kashmiris.

Right to travel, Right to speak

The International Council for Human Development (ICHD) in a press statement on 30th of December 2010 denounced the denounced the Indian government’s policy of denying the Kashmiris their right to travel abroad. According to the details, there are 75,000 Kashmiri families that are deprived of getting visas despite their requests for the travel abroad.   

The ICHD chairperson, Ali Raza Syed mentioned the Kashmiri families that are in the black lists of the police or other law enforcing agencies operating in the Indian Held Kashmir. He said that such families and individuals are always under surveillance, they are barred from having jobs and they are denied from travelling abroad. He criticised the Indian government’s decision to refuse the visa request of a 20 years old boy that, as a good footballer, was selected for a tournament in Brazil. 
The ICHD also supported the demand of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) for a probe into the cases of custodial disappearances and unmarked mass graves by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) as demanded by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). 
Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed said that the ICRC should be allowed to exercise its global mandate of investigating the cases of disappearances and unmarked graves in the territory. He said that the ICRC was professionally neutral and capable organisation to carry out an unbiased and thorough investigation.

Protest demonstration on arrival of Indian PM

A large number of the peole from different walks of life and presentatives of differnt Europe based Kashmiri organistions participated in the protest demonstration on arrival of Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in Brussels on Friday, December 11, 2010. The protest demonstration was arranged on the occasion of the International Day of Human rights, in  Brussels at Place of  Schuman (in front of European Council,) from  11 AM until  1 PM. The participants were holding different banners condemning the Indian atrocities in Kashmir. 

The protest was organised by Kashmir Council EU under the chairmanship of Ali Raza  Syed with the support of other organisations including Kashmir Scandinavian Council Norway, Kashmir European Alliance (Norway)  KWDA Canada, IKV Pax Christi Holland, Jammu Kashmir Self Determination Movement UK, Council  of Khalistan, Kashmir Centre Netherlands and Jammu  Kashmir Welfare Organization France, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference EU and Jammu and Kashmir PML Europe.
Mir Waiz Umer Farooq, Chairman APHC had a telephonic address on the occassion. He urged EU to use its influence to stop the human rights violation and state terrorism in Indian Held Kashmir. The imortant participants and speakers of the demonstratio were Sardar Ali Shanawaz Khan, Exective Director Kashmir Scandinavian Council, Ch. Mukhtar, the Head of Kashmir European Alliance , Zahid Hashmi, President of Jammu Kashmir Welfare Organization , Raja Liaqat, President MC Holland, Zaib Khan, Chairman Kashmir Centre Holland, Khalil Chaudary, Secretary General Kashmir Council EU, Ch Pervaiz Losar, President PML Q, Sardar Sadeek, President of MC Europe, Khalid Mehmood Joshi, President of WKDA Europe, Raja Javed, the Leader of Jammu Kashmir PML N , Mian Arshaad, the Leader of PML N, Malik Mohammad Ajmal, Senior Voice President of Pakistan Peoples Party, Khawaja Mohammad Sajjad, Abdul Sattar Qadri Chairman, Belgo-Pak Belgium, Amin ul Haq of CDH, Malik Pervaiz of Peoples Muslim League, Chaudary Mushtaq of  JKLF and Dr. urmit Singh President of the Council of Khalistan addressed the huge number of participants.
Chairman of ICHD, Ali Raza Syed said that the organizers of the demonstration wanted to raise awareness about the ongoing wide-spread human rights violations in the Indian Held Kashmir against the people of Kashmir by the military and paramilitary forces.  
“We protest to express our concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and ongoing   denial of the right to self determination  as promised to the  people of Kashmir by former Indian Prime Minister, Late Jawaharlal Nehru, and agreed upon by  the UN in 1948. Over  600,000 troops are stationed  in Kashmir,  on every ten civilians  a soldier or security officer  is at duty, which is  five times more then the  international forces  in  a war zone  as  Afghanistan”, said Ali Raza Syed.
The speakers strongly condemned the government of India for violently crushing the non-violent protests. They said that the curfew, brutal force and merciless repression by  army and security forces could not break the will of the people of Kashmir.  Giving facts and figures, one speakers said that since more than 120 non-violent protesters  (youth, women and children)  had been killed  by police and army bullets during previous five months.
“We  want  Dr. Manmohan Singh to take home  the  message of the people in Europe  that , truth  can never  be buried and  justice  never  be compromised. We want to express support for the people of Jammu& Kashmir and show them they are not alone. We express solidarity with their non-violent struggle against human rights violations and the denial of the right to self determination”, said the speakers.

Seminar in Mirpur

Kashmir Council-EU organised a seminar in Mirpur, Kashmir on November 19, 2010. The EU-based human rights activist and coordinator of the Netherland based organisation, IKV Pax Christi, Marjan Lucas spoke to the seminar as the chief guest. The title of the seminar was, ‘Reflections on Kashmir’. The advisor to President of AJK, Dr.ZU Khan and the Former Chief Justice AJK, Justice Retired Majeed Malik also spoke to the seminar. A number of the personalities from civil society of AJK including doctors, lawyers and journalists, professors, and students attended the seminar.

A very well known passionate campaigner of the human rights of Kashmiri people, Marjan Lucas said that she would continue supporting the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. ‘‘We shall highlight the violation of human rights in Indian Held Kashmir.’’ She said that the innocent people of the IHK were undergoing extreme state torture, humiliations and deprivations while security forces were really acting as the coloniser forces bent upon crushing the will of their subjected nation. She said that the collective will of the Kashmiris had proved its worth in the wake of brutality they are facing. She said that all the human rights workers and peace activists of the world should come forward to put pressure on the Indian state and governments. 

Justice Retired Majeed Malik, the former Chief Justice of AJK High Court hailed the work of Marjan Lucas on Kashmir. He said that Kashmir Council-EU was dong very commendable job for building awareness on the Kashmir conflict. He mentioned the international laws while talking about the plight of fellow Kashmiris under the siege of Indian forces. He said that the UN resolutions and other provisions of the international laws clearly gave the right to self determination to the people of Kashmir. He said that the puppet governments in the Indian Held Kashmir could not be the substitute to the true referendum people. 
Dr.ZU Khan emphasized upon the collective efforts of Kashmiris to their raise voices against the violence being perpetrated in the Indian Held Kashmir. He said that there was a great need to raise the Kashmir issue on every influential international forum. He said that the opinion making in the western societies, institutions, governments and states were the key to realising the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. 
The Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza Syed also spoke at the event. He emphasized upon the need of a united front of the Kashmiris. He said, situation in Indian Held Kashmir was terribly bad and that the hardships for the people had been increased in the held valley. He demanded the withdrawal of the Indian troops from the occupied territory while revoking all the draconian laws including Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). He demanded the release of all the pro-freedom leaders and activists. 
The speakers and participants of the seminar were of the collective view that the United Nations, world powers, forums and institutions should impress upon India to resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. 

Symbolic Prison: A unique demonstration

Kashmir Council-EU held organised unique demonstration in front of European Union Headquarters in Brussels on 22th of Oct 2010. The demonstrators, led by Kashmir Council EU Chairman, Ali Raza Syed presented the symbolic windows of the Indian prison to receive attention of the international community. The demonstration focussed on the large number of 
political prisoners, at the one hand, and ruthless murders of the Kashmiris by the Indian forces, at the other. The protestors standing behind the symbolic jail’s bars chanted slogans against the Indian atrocities in the held Kashmir and demanded for release of political prisoners and stop of killings of the Kashmiris.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Kashmir Council EU, Ali Raza said they would continue raising their voice against the violence in the held Kashmir. He demanded the world community to pay attention on the horrible human rights violations by the Indian forces. He said a large number of people in the Held Kashmir were missing and majority of them were believed killed buried in the un-named mass graves in the different areas of Kashmir. He lamented the fact that more than one hundred of the Kashmiris particularly youth and minors were killed in the new waves of the struggle. He said that Indian forces had targeted particularly the innocent and peaceful youth in the recent months. He said that 
Kashmir was the most important issue in the south Asia and that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was a prerequisite to the peace in the region. ‘The right of self determination of the Kashmir should be given to them for the just solution of the Kashmir dispute’, he demanded.

The chairman of Kashmir Council-EU stressed upon the need of a grand initiative by the international community to address the human rights’ crisis created by Indian troops in the Kashmir. He urged international human rights organisations to pressurize India to stop the state terrorism. He said international opinion was instrumental in the efforts to redeem the right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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