US lawmaker pledges to raise Kashmiris’ rights abuses in Congress

NEW YORK - An American lawmaker Saturday promised to raise in the US Congress the plight of Kashmiri people still languishing under a military lockdown in Indian occupied Kashmir, as she spoke to members of the Pakistani community celebrating the US Independence Day in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of New York, who was the chief guest at the event organized by the Pakistani American Association of New York, said she remained concerned over the human rights violation being committed in Kashmir and called for ending those atrocities.

India annexed Jammu and Kashmir and placed the disputed region under lockdown in August last year, imposing curfews, cutting off communications links and making hundreds of arrests of Kashmiris, especially young people. This year’s July 4th marked the 244th anniversary of US independence, but celebrations were mostly muted because of the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus cases in the United States have risen steeply in recent weeks, and more cases were reported on Thursday and Friday, leading into the holiday weekend, than on any other days in the pandemic. In her remarks, Congresswoman Clark, a Democrat, thanked Pakistani-Americans who she said had supported her in her election and promised to do everything possible for their welfare. The Association President, Chaudhry Aslam Dhaloun, welcomed Congresswoman Clarke at the celebration which took place in the part of Brooklyn known as “Little Pakistan” where she raised the US flag and cut a big cake to mark the occasion. “I’m extremely proud of this (Pakistani) community,” she told a large gathering that included some prominent local figures. She urged the Pakistani community members to go out and vote in November to elect an administration that would bring the U.S. to the right path. A right administration and a right secretary of state would challenge the atrocities being perpetrated against Kashmir and deal with them. At the same time, Ms. Clarke said she, along with her colleagues, would highlight in Congress the issue of Kashmiri people’s sufferings under the repressive lockdown.