Sydney: A community seminar in Sydney on October 27, 2023, commemorated Kashmir Black Day to express solidarity and support for the people of Kashmir in their quest for the right to self-determination and to shed light on the challenges faced by the people of Kashmir under Indian military control.
Historically, this day, October 27, marks the moment in 1947 when Indian forces entered Srinagar, forcibly occupying Jammu and Kashmir against the will and wishes of the Kashmiri people. This event effectively denied them their right to self-determination, a breach of numerous UN resolutions.
The event, organized by the Australian Forum for Kashmir (AFK) in collaboration with the Pakistan Consulate General in Sydney, took place at the Himalaya Restaurant in Granville. It attracted a considerable audience, including community leaders and human rights activists.
Mr. Rab Nawaz, the coordinator of AFK, emphasized that the Kashmir issue often remains underrepresented in mainstream media and international forums. However, he stressed that it is no less significant than the Palestine issue in terms of the severity of human rights violations.
The gathering featured various speakers who addressed the attendees, such as Mr. Siddiq Buckley, Secretary of the Australian Islamic Mission (AIM), Mr. Usaid Khalil, Secretary-General of the Islamic Forum for Australian Muslims (IFAM), Mr. Nasib Muhammed, Secretary of the Islamic Association of Western Suburbs in Sydney, Mr. Mahmoud Alazhari, an Executive Member of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC), Ms. Lee Rhiannon, a former Australian Senator and Politician, and Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, the Consul General of Pakistan in Sydney, who delivered the concluding remarks.
These speakers highlighted the longstanding challenges faced by the people of Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir, which have persisted for over 75 years and have become more acute since August 5, 2019, when the special status of Kashmir was revoked by the Hindu Nationalist BJP government led by PM Modi.
The participants at the event reiterated their commitment to providing moral, political, and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for freedom. They pledged to continue to expose India’s role as an oppressor and aggressor state, denying Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination, in direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that aimed to grant Kashmiris their fundamental rights through a plebiscite or referendum.
The formal program concluded with a dua (prayer) by Sheikh Mahmoud Alazhari, who invoked Allah’s help for the well-being and freedom of both the suffering Palestinians and the people of Kashmir.