ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that Indian occupational forces are waging a ‘rape war’ using rape as a tool of genocide against the freedom-loving Kashmiris and the failure of the world community in punishing the culprits of Kupwara mass rapes may lead to the eruption of a new war between two nuclear neighbours.
He expressed these views while addressing the participants of a seminar held in Islamabad on Monday with the title “Bombardments, Massacres, Genocides. Crimes Against Humanity”.
The event, dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide occurred on February 26, 1992, was held under the auspices of the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (ISCR) in liaison with the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Islamabad.
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.
He said that 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 reflect that the world has 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 Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Khojaly have been used by occupational forces as tools of genocide.
Kunan Poshpora in Kupwara is the most scenic area of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir but the mass rapes of 1991 have left scars in the minds of the people of Kashmir.
He said the international community has done nothing to punish the culprits of Kupwara, the genocide in Khojaly may not have happened.
He said that expansionist designs of India are a threat to world peace and if the world fails to bring resolution to conflict zones like Jammu and Kashmir, no one can rule out the possibility of a new war erupting between Pakistan and India.
“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 is being ruled by a fascist regime of Narendra Modi who believes in Hindu supremacist ideology and all minorities in India are under a threat of genocide.
He said that unfortunately, rape is also used a tool of punishment in conflict zones and history suggests that this one element of violence is 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 is more of associated with masculine identity commonly but in war times there is often a 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 targets are more of victims of rape in war precincts. There are many examples of such mass rapes during conflicts and war times during Rwanda 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 incidents ensued in the area of Kunan Poshpora in February 1991 and the social stigma generated out of this incident is that women still face difficulties in getting married.
He said that the South Asian subcontinent is 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 the 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 a plebiscite in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Defence analyst Lt. General (retd) Amjad Shoaib and the Assistant Professor Dr. Salma Malik also addressed the seminar.