ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Speakers here on Thursday dedicated UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities to the victims of pellet guns in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
The blind community of Pakistan, gathered here at National Press Club, expressed solidarity with pellet gun victims blinded in the Indian Administered Kashmir over the past one year.
The gathering was organized under the platform of True Sight Organization for the Blind (TSOB) in order to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).
Zahid Abdullah from Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) stressed the need to implement UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in every country.
Raja Aamir Hanif, Professor of history at Asghar Mall College Rawalpindi, said that internally strong Pakistan could highlight the oppressions in IOK assertively before the international community.
Sultan Shah, chairman of Pakistan Blind Cricket Committee, stated that historically, religiously, geographically and culturally, Kashmir has been part of Pakistan and we should work for peaceful resolution of this dispute.
Maria Iqbal Tarana, human rights activist, and Zulfiqar Ali, a journalist, made detailed presentations to highlight the plight of persons who were made disabled by the use of pellet guns in IOK.
The participants of the conference included: members of TSOB, students and teachers of special education institutes, representatives of human rights organizations and media personnel.
The participants recalled that thousands of Kashmiris suffered pellet injuries to their eyes during the 2016 unrest in the valley.
Among them, most of those who suffered injuries to their eyes experienced partial or complete loss of vision. Close to 13,000 people were injured, and nearly 6,000 of them suffered pellet injuries to various parts of their bodies.
According to the 2016-2017 report published by Amnesty International, pellet injuries also accounted for scores of deaths during the unrest. The report described pellet guns as “inherently inaccurate and indiscriminate.”
Hundreds of young men, nicknamed ‘stone throwers’, have been blinded in battles with armed forces using pellet guns. The Indian government reacted with an extremity that has not been seen in years, targeting unarmed civilians including protesting youth, journalists and human rights activists.
The participants collectively put forth the following resolution for submission to the UN Secretary General António Guterres through its Resident Coordinator for Pakistan Neil Buhne:-
- The blind community of Pakistan strongly condemns the blinding and disabling of innocent people through the use of pellet guns in J&K by Indian army. It is an inhuman practice unacceptable for the civilized world. United Nations should take serious note of such human right violations and it should play its full role to stop them.
- UN representatives in India should also make arrangements for the rehabilitation of pellet gun victims and their families.
- The UN should also mobilize its good offices to implement its own resolutions and ensure that Kashmiri people are given the right to self-determination.