ISLAMABAD: Youth Advocacy Network and The Dayspring Media in collaboration with Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum’s Eurasian regional Centre (ICYF-ERC) and the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) Speaking Fraternity hosted a seminar on Humanitarian Tragedies in OIC geography with special reference to Khojaly Genocide on the 27th of February 2023. The speakers for the session included His Excellency Khazar Farhadov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Director SPIR, QAU, Islamabad, Ambassador R. Salahuddin Choudhry, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United Kingdom, Ms. Mushaal Mulllik, human rights activist and advocate from Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) and Mr. Asim Nawaz Abbasi, Founder of the Dayspring, Mr. Fsahat ul Hassan CEO of Youth Advocacy Network and Dr. Syed Qandil Abbas, Assistant Professor SPIR, Naveed Akhtar and Musawar Tanoli. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the causes and impacts of the conflicts in the OIC region. This also marked the 31st anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide.
There was a variety of topics under discussion during the seminar and included conversations from a diverse pool of themes all approaching the Khojaly incident. The discussion remembered the victims of the Khojaly Genocide and the audience narrated the events that led to the Khojaly incident. The discussion went on to explore the impacts that the Khojaly incident has had on the Azeri people.
Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan, Khazar Farhadov being the chief guest of the seminar acknowledged Pakistan’s brotherly relations with Azerbaijan, he said, “we have special place in our hearts for Pakistan as it was the first country to recognize Khojaly genocide”. He said that the Armenian military-political leadership continued its crimes against the civilian population and innocent people of Azerbaijan during the Great Patriotic War as well and this was due to the fact that, the perpetrators of massacres such as the Khojaly genocide still go unpunished. Khazar Farhadov prayed for peaceful resolution of Kashmir soon and emphasized that UN Security Council resolutions should be implemented on Kashmir.
Prof. Dr. Jaspal criticized the power-laden implication of humanitarian interventions by so-called Western states which have carried out trails in absentia for Sudanese leadership but remained quiet for humanitarian brutalities by Indian and Armenian authorities. The discussion informed the participants of the adoption of a resolution by the Parliament of Pakistan to condemn alongside OIC, Association of Turkic States, and 24 other members of UNO who recognized Khojaly incident as a genocide.
Ms. Mushaal Mulllik added to the discourse on Kashmir and pointed out the commonalities in the two tragedies. She said, “I can feel your pain, because beyond a common religion, we are all humans and can feel the pain”. She went further to narrate that, “What keeps the Kashmiris going, as we are unarmed”, and one after another of the highest leadership has been killed. “We are not even allowed to receive the dead bodies”.
Ambassador (Retd.) Salahuddin Chouhary stated that Armenia has been known to commit crimes against humanity, the gravest of them, genocide against Azeri civilians. He also spoke that the “horrific and worst form of indiscriminate ethnic cleansing was part of Armenian policy in the war”. Lastly, the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan stated that since 2008, Azerbaijan has started an international campaign to get the genocide internationally recognized. He reiterated the commitment of the Republic of Azerbaijan to bring the Khojaly Genocide to the cognizance of students at Muslim states around the Muslim world.
Mr. Asim Nawaz Abbasi, Founder of The Dayspring said that, youth should be aware of the brutalities against humanity and urged young people to use online spaces for positivity and fact sharing. He added that youngsters can play a pivotal role in tackling propaganda and misinformation. Mr. Abbasi also appreciated the role of ICYF-ERC for mobilizing Muslim youth and giving them awareness on global issues being faced by Muslim Ummah.
Mr. Fsahat-Ul-Hassan, Founder and CEO of Youth Advocacy Network, while giving the concluding remarks virtually highlighted the efforts of ICYF-ERC for youth development and thanked all the guests, speakers, and participants. He acknowledged and appreciated the support of partners specially QAU, The Dayspring, and ICYF-ERC. Mr. Fsahat added that exchange of youth focused activities between Muslim countries are very much important to bridge the gap between youth of OIC countries.
The conference focused on the great relations between the people of Azerbaijan and Pakistan both at the state and individual level. The conference high lightened the fact that both the states have helped each other internationally in times of their crises. Azerbaijan is as vocal about the Kashmir issue as Pakistan is about Khojaly when it came to the support in international forums.