Islamabad - Speakers on Thursday dedicated UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities to the victims of pellet guns in Indian occupied Kashmir.

The blind community of Pakistan gathered at the National Press Club and expressed solidarity with the pellet-gun victims blinded in the Indian Occupied Kashmir over the past one year.

The gathering was organised under the platform of True Sight Organisation for the Blind (TSOB) in order to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The speakers stressed the need to implement the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

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 and culturally, Kashmir was part of Pakistan and we should work for peaceful resolution of this dispute. Zahid Abdullah from Fafen, Maria Iqbal Tarana, rights activist, and Zulfiqar Ali, a journalist, made detailed presentations to highlight the plight of persons made disabled by the use of pellet guns in IOK.

The participants of the conference included members of the TSOB, students and teachers of special education institutes, representatives of human rights organisations and media personnel.

The participants recalled that thousands of Kashmiris suffered pellet injuries to their eyes during the 2016 unrest in the held 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 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 put forth a resolution for submission to the UN chief through its Pakistan office, which said that the blind community of Pakistan strongly condemns the blinding and disabling of innocent people through the use of pellet guns in held Jammu and Kashmir by Indian army. It is an inhuman practice unacceptable for the civilised world. The UN should take serious note of the human rights’ violations and should play its role to stop them.

The resolution also called upon the UN representatives in India to make arrangements for rehabilitation of the pellet-gun victims and their families. The UN should also implement its own resolutions and ensure that Kashmiri people are given the right to self-determination, the resolution demanded.