Dr Abdul Malik, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in New Zealand, gave a heartfelt talk on Saturday 2 November in the Wellington Kilbirnie Mosque, on the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir that has become a most dangerous global flashpoint.  

It is said of Kashmir that it is more than just a place, it is an emotion for its peoples, for India and for Pakistan. That emotion was born out at the event and then engaged audience with responses.

 Kashmir is bordered in the north by China and west by Pakistan.   In the formation of India as a nation, an arrangement was made between the national government and the Maharaja of Kashmir which gave control to India.

An arrangement that led to war, and a simmering insurgency and resentment ever since, in which up to 10,000 people have been victims of enforced disappearance by the Indian government, but where India claims insurgencies are aided by Pakistan.

The two nuclear countries came to what some analysts have described as to the brink of war in February 2019 after a suicide bomber blew up a convoy of Indian soldiers in Kashmir.

 During the event, Dr Abdul Malik underlined the resolve of the Pakistan government that it would continue supporting the just cause of the Kashmiri people for their right of self-determination in accordance with the UN Charter and the relevant UNSC resolutions.

Yet on the 5 August this year, legislation was pushed through the parliament of India to approve the abrogation of article 370 of the constitution that for over 70 years has guaranteed certain rights to the predominately Muslim region.

Kashmir is an already heavily militarised region that has been placed under strict curfew since 5 August and was yet again flooded with extra troops. As part of this security crackdown, politicians and public figures have been placed under arrest. Thousands of ordinary people also have been jailed. Phones and the internet services have been shut down.

Mr Tahir Nawaz, President of the mosque association spoke of the long history of conflict, himself having been taken to a place as a child by his grandfather, who pointed to a mountain over the border and said: that is Kashmir, that things are hard there. 

A short film of dire Kashmir human rights violations was shown during the evening

Sheikh Nizam, Imam of the mosque concluded the program with  dua and for freeing all Muslims from oppression.