The world observes Peace Day on 21st September. The day is dedicated to promote the ideals of peace through observing cease-fire and non-violence across the globe. It is an established fact that peace not war is the solution of the problems, and that’s how the world has to counter the major issues like poverty, human right violations, hunger, water scarcity and terrorism. Pakistan as a prominent state has been the center of attention due to its geographical location and strategic circumstances. Over the past decade, Pakistan survived through toughest times fighting the war against terrorism, and afterwards reviving the areas that have gone through the worst under the garb of terrorism. As a developing state, Pakistan went through tremendous challenges on international, diplomatic, social, and political fronts. However, staying consistent and firm to the resolve of fighting all the challenges, Pakistan has made the world recognize its efforts to be one of the strongest nation.
In pursuit of the peace activities and to raise voice for humanity, the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, and Parliamentary Kashmir Committee has organized a seminar titled “Piecing Peace Together for A shared Future for Humanity to Observe International Peace Day”.
The seminar commenced with the recitation of Holy Quran followed by the National Anthem.
Welcoming Remarks by Ms. Sabah Aslam
The seminar was hosted by Ms. Sabah Aslam, founder and director of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution. In the welcoming remarks she highlighted and questioned the role of UN in establishing peace in Palestine and in Illegally Indian occupied Kashmir. Furthermore the change global political scenarios require a new discourse for attaining peace. This seminar is expected to be a key step in achieving the desired outcomes of peace in the region.
Nabeel Munir – Additional secretary United Nations
Mr Nabeel Munir in his presentation explained the Role of Pakistan in UN Peace keeping throughout the world. He said that the policy to join UN was based on the principles of founding fathers of firm commitment to peacekeeping.
Pakistan’s role -Tangible manifestation of our contribution in international peace keeping
200,000 personnel have contributed in peacekeeping missions, over past six decades including army, police, and other institutions. They have participated in 47 missions across 26 countries. Over 157 peacekeepers lost their lives. Currently there are 4400 Pakistani peacekeepers in 9 peacekeeping missions. Apart from peace keeping, Pakistan is also focused on providing financial aid, norm building, and on close collaboration with UN secretary general, along with different training institutes. Mr Nabeel also highlighted the role of women who made their impact in UN missions. He also mentioned the prominent ambassadors of Pakistan in UN, and the military commanders who have participated in UN peacekeeping missions.
ASAD QAISER- Speaker National Assembly
Mr Asad Qaiser was the chief guest of the seminar. Asad Qaiser began his address thanking Shehryar Afridi to arrange the seminar on International Peace day. He said that Islam and Peace are strongly interlinked with each other. It is worth noticing that anything linked with Prophet Muhammad SAW, was connected with peace. Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also emphasized on an Islamic state based on the principles of peace and Islam. However, Islam has never asked us to compromise on the principles that garb freedom and protection of religion and dignity.
Palestinians and Kashmiris have not surrendered to the anti-Islamic states. He said that Human rights violations by India has resulted in 22,000 women becoming widows, martyrdom of thousands of youth, and hundreds of women were raped. The speaker urge the UN to enforce the peace in these states, while Kashmiris will never give up on their cause. Human rights violation have crossed their limits, whereas they won’t stop to sacrifice their lives for the greater cause of freedom.
Speaker pointed out that out of 75 years of UNO, only 26 days of peace were there and the Kashmir issue must be resolved according to the resolutions of United Nations. He further said that the Government of Pakistan has effectively played its role in presenting Kashmir issue at international forums.
The speaker said that we are committed to provide all sorts of collaboration and support to Kashmir Committee, and said that the international community should play an active role in achieving peace in the world.
Syed Fakhar Imam – Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research
The Federal minister in his address to the seminar expressed his thoughts over peace in the region, and the relation of China and India in Ladakh. He said that with power you can change complex issues. Syed Fakhar mentioned the last year’s speech of PM Imran Khan at UNGA, saying that it was an unprecedented speech in the UN to raise voice for Kashmiris.
Moreover, he admired the foresightedness of Quaid-e-Azam, and said that he was a modernist who understood the power dynamics so he struggled for the freedom of Muslims.
Adding to that, he emphasized that now it is the time to look Kashmir as the fulcrum of our future. We are incomplete without Kashmir. We have to internally make a new start. We must make our systems competitive. We have to empower our youth and create institutions from which the youth can learn. The political will is going to define the future of Pakistan.
Dr. Waheed Rasool
The seminar was further addressed by Dr Waheed Rasool, Director Institute of Multi-Track Dialogue Development and Diplomatic Studies who expressed his thoughts over the peace in the region, and the relation of India and Pakistan from the perspective of Kashmir and human rights violations in the region.
Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, former ambassador to the US, India and China and head of UN missions in Iraq and Sudan address the seminar and presented his opinion on the International Peace Day, and the policies adopted by India in oppressing Kashmiris. Moreover, he suggested the role Pakistan must play in handling the Kashmir conflict along with the other challenges it is facing.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed
Mister Mushahid spoke to the seminar and lauded the efforts with the words “A very good initiative on International Peace Day” He said that Quaid-e-Azam’s principle was “Peace within – Peace Without”
He said that India is the only country in the world apart from Israel who has expanded its demographical borders through annexation and through illegal measures. The senator said that August 5 2019 has been a turning point. Interestingly, the world is also showing their attention as the 14 senators from US have written to Pompeo to sanction India. He said that for once a secular democracy is now an architecture of fascism under Modi’s regime. Stating further he said that India is in conflict with its own people and it has become aggressive towards its neighbors. China, Nepal and Pakistan are having issues. Ladakh was claimed by India to be its territory, and China countered it.
For the future, we have to observe the Palestine issue. We have a principle position on Palestine and we are very clear on Kashmir. Peace of Pakistan is inextricably linked with peace of Kashmir. We are firmly committed to the resolve. “Kashmir and Palestine issues are two important issues in the world at the moment and we want these issues to be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the people and the resolutions of the United Nations (UN)”, he said.
Ms Ghazala Saif expressed here remarks at the seminar saying that piecing peace together is the need of the time. If two nuclear powers get into a war, we have to think about the consequences. India is showing all sorts of atrocities that are unacceptable. Conflict resolution will come when both the countries go through a dialogue on Kashmir, and Kashmiris deserve the right of determination. Kashmiris have wrapped their loved one in the flag of Pakistan, and peace is the only solution.
Nations cannot be built with hate.
Sardar Masood Khan – President Azad Jammu & Kashmir
Speaking on the sub-theme “Peace Quest for Kashmir: Hunting ways under Indian occupation and global moral regression”, the president said that UN has failed to resolve the Kashmir conflict. The UN couldn’t held India accountable for the war crimes against the Kashmiris, and the settlement of Non-Kashmiri Hindu citizens in IIOJK. He said that there is no agenda of UN on Kashmir. He added that “The UN has no agenda for peace in Kashmir; no process for peace-making, peacekeeping or peacebuilding for the 14 million people living in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir who are under direct attack of 900,000 strong occupation forces.”
The silence of the global powers have encouraged India to continue its reign of terror in Kashmir. “With the exception of Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, China and a few Nordic countries, no other country spoke up openly for Kashmir,” he said.
The AJK president said that the dialogue with India is impossible without having Kashmiris at the table. He said that India has used the ruse of bilateral talks as a method to buy time. “India is insincere in its claims for peace in the region.”
Chairman Shehryar Afridi was invited for concluding remarks and he delivered a strong message to the world and invited the opposition parties to join hands for Kashmir cause, keeping aside the political differences. Shehryar Afridi said that my aim is to convey a message loud and clear to movers and shakers of the world. He said that today is one of the most important day for peace and Kashmir Committee is endowed with huge responsibilities.
The Chairman explicated the five major contributions of Pakistan for the world peace.
- For the sake of humanity – Pakistan’s sacrifices for saving the people from narcotics
- Being an unprecedented host for Afghan muhajireen
- Pakistan’s peacekeeping role
- Pakistani diaspora making an impact on international fronts of peacekeeping
- Internally displaced persons and their sacrifice for peace of the world
Shehryar Afridi said that there is a rule that “economically dependent cannot be politically independent” and put forth the example of China, who came out of crisis and are now the powerful leading competitors of the world. China’s position has been so strong that they dominantly controlled the region of Ladakh.
He said that this is the commitment of PM Imran Khan and Kashmir Committee to raise voice for Kashmir. He emphasized on the fact that unity has to be shown by all parties of Pakistan, irrespective of the political ideologies. The time is come, we need to be one! We need to convey and represent the Kashmir issue on the international forums. Youth has to come forward, it’s the digital world and we have to take the initiatives. The stake holders, the political parties to please join hands, to convey a message to those who matter the most, through a proactive approach.
The whole needs to realize the importance of peace and that Kashmir issue must be solved on priority bases.
The seminar ended with a photo session of the honorable guests with the participants of the seminar.