“Sopore Massacre 1993: The barbarity that still haunts”, A webinar by IICR and LFK

Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR), in collaboration with Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK), organised a webinar titled “Sopore Massacre 1993: The barbarity that still haunts” on Thursday, January 6, 2022, commemorating the anniversary of the Sopore Massacre. The esteemed panellists included Ms Sabah Aslam, Founder IICR, DrMuhamadSajjad Khan, Director KPRI, Prof. DrShaheen Akhtar, Associate Professor National Defense University, Dr Muhammad Khan, Professor IIUI, and Dr Sheikh Waleed Rasool, Director IDDDS.

While speaking to the panel, DrSajjad laid out the context by elaborating the history of the massacre. He highlighted that the massacre was state-sanctioned, and Indian paramilitary troops did butchery. It was the 9th battalion of Border Security Forces (BSF). He added further that laws and legislation provide blatant impunity to the perpetrators. The Indian judicial system is highly militarised, abolishing every rule of law to protect humanity, said DrSajjad. Furthermore, he also mentioned that roads leading to justice are being deliberately blocked, and Indian Occupying Forces have been given a license to kill while the world watches in silence.

Dr Sheikh WaleedRasool gave an emotional account of the massacre as he was present in the same town during carnage done by Indian Occupying forces. “It is a haunting memory that still haunts Kashmir people,” Said Dr. Rasool. He added further that Indian miseries started much before Independence and are still being perpetrated by Indian forces through draconian laws. Calling out the international community Dr. Rasool said that the international community is biased when it comes to Kashmir and international humanitarian law stands nowhere in the case of Kashmir. He recommended that all those involved be held accountable for war crimes by identifying them and taking them to

international forums. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the researchers and scholars to devise a strategy using data and building case studies.

The third speaker on the panel was ProfDr Muhammad Khan, who emphasised that Kashmir fought for Pakistan and is still fighting. At the same time, a complete cover is being provided to the Indian forces to engage in violence. Adding more, Dr Khan said that massive human rights violations are happening every day in Kashmir; from using rape as a weapon to staged encounters, Kashmir is witnessing the horrors, yet the international community is turning a blind eye to it. The Kashmiris have the right to self-defence under the UN charter, said Dr Khan. While giving recommendations, Dr Khan said that there is a need to have a systematic and organised collection of evidence and documentation of case studies that can be presented. History needs to be preserved, remarked Dr Khan. Furthermore, he said that human rights activists are being muzzled by the Indian state, and it should be brought to the world.

The last speaker on the panel was Prof. DrShaheen Akhtar. Dr Akhtar overviewed Indian atrocities upon Kashmiris for decades and are still going on. She said every time Kashmiris voice for their fundamental rights; there comes systematic violence from Indian forces with absolute impunity from the Indian government. Dr Akhtar further added that India is advancing in their extremist ideas and implementation of Hindutva ideology through exterminating Muslim identity. If the world does not act at the right time, there would likely be more incidents of systematic and organised massacres said, DrShaheen. While highlighting the role of the government of Pakistan, Dr Akhtar urged that the government of Pakistan shall facilitate the Kashmiri victims to approach international forums like ICC so that perpetrators of war crimes could be brought to justice.

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