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Voice of Kashmiri people heard at UN: Maleeha Lodhi

Lodhi said: “We stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. This meeting nullifies India’s claim that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter. The whole world is discussing….

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Maleeha Lodhi on Kashmiri

United Nations, Aug 17 : After the UN Security Council (UNSC) concluded its informal consultation on Kashmir, Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said the voice of the Kashmiri people has been heard in the highest diplomatic forum in the world.

Following the UNSC closed-door consultation here on Friday, Lodhi claimed the people from Jammu and Kashmir may be in locked up state, but their voices were heard at the UNSC.

The UNSC meeting was held on Friday after China’s insistence to hold a discussion on the current situation of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir following India’s decision to revoke its special status.

The UNSC had earlier declined Pakistan’s request to hold a formal session on Kashmir with its participation.

Lodhi said: “We stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. This meeting nullifies India’s claim that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter. The whole world is discussing….

“The fact this meeting took place is testimony that this is internationally recognized dispute, and there was also an effort to stop this meeting… This meeting confirmed the validity of UNSC resolution on the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The meeting was not attended by India and Pakistan, and it was only open to five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.

On August 5, India scrapped the provisions of Article 370 and as a result, Jammu and Kashmir lost its special status. It was also bifurcated into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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London’s 1st Trans Pride receives Overwhelming’ support

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London Trans pride

London, Sep 15 The first-ever Trans Pride in London’s Soho Square has received “overwhelming” support as hundreds of people turned out for the event, the media reported on Sunday.

Organiser Lucia Blayke said about 1,500 people turned up for the event on Saturday, the BBC reported.

The event started with a march from Hyde Park Corner to Soho Square, the capital of London’s LGBT+ scene.

“It’s been absolutely incredible and overwhelming. I was not expecting this many people to turn up and to march with such unity,” said Blayke.

The organiser added that the response to the event was far more positive than she had expected.

“I was concerned about safety, concerned about numbers but it’s been really smooth, it’s been safe…”

The sentiment was echoed by an attendee who said: “Everyone here knows what you’re going through, it was definitely needed.”

The event had a celebratory feel to it, with many trans and non-binary people being supported by friends.

“I’ve only recently come out as trans and it was the first event for trans so we all came down to celebrate it,” another attendee said.

According to the UK government, there are approximately 200,000-500,000 trans people in the country.

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Help Kashmiri children return to school: Malala to UN

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Malala Yousafzai

London, Sep 15 Nobel Prize laureate and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai has urged the UN to act and work towards helping Kashmiri children return to school amid the ongoing restrictions in the valley.

“I am asking leaders, at #UNGA and beyond, to work towards peace in Kashmir, listen to Kashmiri voices and help children go safely back to school,” Dawn news quoted Yousafzai as saying in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday.

Restrictions were imposed in the Kashmir Valley since India on August 5 revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.

“I am deeply concerned about reports of 4,000 people, including children, arbitrarily arrested and jailed, about students who haven’t been able to attend school for more than 40 days, about girls who are afraid to leave their homes,” she wrote.

In her tweets, Malala also shared her account of corresponding with people over the past week belonging to various walks of life, including journalists, human rights lawyers and students.

“I wanted to hear directly from girls living in Kashmir right now. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get their stories because of the communications blackout. Kashmiris are cut off from the world and unable to make their voices heard,” she said.

Yousafzai has also commented on the Kashmir issue in the past where she had appealed for an end to the conflict in the region after relations between India and Pakistan nosedived following the revocation of Article 370.

She had called on all South Asians, the international community and authorities to respond to the Kashmiris’ suffering.

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‘Kashmir restrictions hindering Muharram processions a negative’

Reporter asked him about the Babri Masjid, which he said needs to be preserved as a centuries-old site, and about overcoming inter-faith tensions surrounding it.

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United Nations, Sep 14 : The head of a UN body to promote cultural and religious harmony has said that the restrictions in Kashmir that prevented Shias from holding their Muharram procession is a “negative”.

“Anything that puts obstacles or don’t allow people to respect each other is negative,” Miguel Moratinos, the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), said on Friday while replying to a reporter’s question.

“The time has come that we are all one humanity, and we have respect each other,” he said.

The reporter had asked him about the restrictions in Kashmir that hindered the holding of the Muharram processions this week to commemorate the martydom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad.

Another reporter asked him about the Babri Masjid, which he said needs to be preserved as a centuries-old site, and about overcoming inter-faith tensions surrounding it.

Moratinos did not directly answer the question, but spoke about a project of the UNAOC in association with UNESCO to identify and map historical religious sites.

“We already know some of the main historical centres, but with this mapping exercise we will identify the symbolical places, the ones that have historically played a fundamental role in their communities in their faith. And so they will have special treatment,” he said.

On Thursday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, a programme to be led by Moratinos.

Guterres asked Moratinos to develop the plan after the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand in March.

The plan provides an “action-oriented” programme to prevent attacks against places of worship and guarantee the safety of the faithful to worship in peace, the UNAOC said.

Guterres said: “When people are attacked because of their religion or beliefs, all of society is diminished. Houses of worship around the world must be safe havens for reflection and peace, not sites of bloodshed and terror.”

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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