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Kashmir Solidarity Day celebrated in Qatar

The Pakistan embassy on Sunday hosted a gathering in Doha to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. During his speech, the Pakistani ambassador, Shahzad Ahmad, said that the Government of Pakistan has declared an additional ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ keeping in mind the disturbing situation in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.

The ambassador implored the international community to step forward and help the Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination. He also urged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to send fact-finding missions. It was predictable and laced with a large serving of vitriol.

By raising the issue, Pakistan has once again blatantly disregarded its pledge to the 1972 Simla Agreement. Signed by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and then-Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the two countries contracted that Kashmir is a bilateral issue that has to be resolved without third party involvement.

Dwindling international support and a losing battle

Pakistan’s Kashmir bogey has hardly left any impression in the Gulf or the West. The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has in the past issued statements denouncing the bloodshed in Kashmir, much of it triggered by terrorists reportedly supported and trained by Pakistan. The Gulf States have not issued any announcement so far validating Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, which indicates an erosion of global support, if not a rebuff. Even North Africa, a Muslim majority region, hasn’t come out in Islamabad’s defence.

While Pakistan’s customary allies have, expectedly, maintained their official line, the capitals in the West haven’t shown much interest and have exercised restraint despite several briefings by Pakistan foreign ministry in the recent past. What they have been unable to overlook is the fact that Pakistan protected Osama Bin Laden until he was eliminated by the US and the country still harbours UN-designated terrorists, like Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who roams freely on its soil with its tacit support.

In the current scenario, Pakistan is largely perceived as part of the problem, which is a sign of its failure to sell its outlook on Kashmir to the global community. India, on the other hand, has mostly succeeded in shrugging off the impact of its own faults against the Kashmiris and has managed to expose Pakistan as the culprit.

Kashmiris continue to pay a heavy price

Since the uprising that started in the Valley in 1989-90, Pakistani authorities continue to hold the position that they only provide moral and political support to the freedom fighters for the liberation of their homeland from India, while India maintains that Pakistan is accountable and fuels the insurgents and their terrorist activities. It also alleges that Pakistani army personnel are involved with the uprising. The violence has killed close to 50, 000 people, which does not include people who have gone missing due to the turmoil. Some human rights groups put the death toll at twice that number.

Reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists have recognized Indian reports of organized human rights breaches by militants, ranging from kidnapping to ethnic cleansing of several hundred thousand Hindu Kashmiri Pandits.

A 2010 US state department report held insurgents in Kashmir and other parts of the country liable of committing grave cruelty, including the killing of Indian security personnel and civilians, and of engaging in extensive persecution, rape, beheadings, kidnapping, and extortion.

Pakistan needs to restructure and tidy up its policy on Kashmir. Considering the deeply embedded antagonism on both sides, it will not be easy for a solution to emerge, but India and Pakistan need to seize every given opportunity to come up with a revamped policy that is aligned with today’s realities. Alleviation of the anguish of the Kashmiris ought to be the collective concern.

 

Children are the most vulnerable section of any society throughout the globe and are also the future of a country. Understanding the importance of the proper framework of Child Rights, the Government of Qatar has sought to upgrade its legislation surrounding Child Rights to match the international standards.

Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) recently organised a forum addressing safe childhood in co-operation with Qatar Social Work Foundation under the wise leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The event highlighted that Qatar is committed toward securing Child Rights on both legislative and institutional level. Constitution of Qatar already includes legal provisions that consider family, maternal and child rights.

It was highlighted that Qatar has further ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child making it a part of its internal law. It also adjoined the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of child, child prostitution and child pornography and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of child in Armed Conflict (OPAC), for upgrading the legislation for Child Rights.

The Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Dr. Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi stated the importance of enriching child culture, consolidating, promoting and protecting child rights and extracting their creative energy to create a new generation that is able to lead the future. He stressed that is an important factor in achieving and maintaining a positive communication between the next generation and the society.

Dr. Saad further stressed that this is a combined responsibility of responsible forces in the society such as family, educational institutions, preachers, media outlets, civil organisations and the overall environment.

Protecting Child Rights is one of the major goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, in sync to achieve sustainable development. To achieve the same, the government is taking efforts toward updating the programmes that guarantee rights.

Moreover, as securing Child Rights needs contribution from all sectors of the society, the ministry is planning and taking various steps to spread social awareness and raise intellectual, factual and behavioural levels in children of the society. The aim is to promote and stimulate proper behaviour by which individuals communicate constructively with previous and coming generations, to enhance educational, social, health, cultural, skills, intellectual, creative and literary scenes among children in Qatar in various fields.

Further, the consequences on children in political crises such as the diplomatic blockade was pointed out as a violation of international law and human rights, especially considering the rights of children whose families have been separated.

Qatar Foundation for Social Work (QFSW) chief executive officer Amal Abdullatif al-Mannai committed that QFSW will promote the basic rights of children such as the right to identity, physical integrity, education and access to all information and services, as well as living in the family, physical and psychological rehabilitation, social reintegration, and the right to enjoy all rights without any discrimination, including the right of the disabled and orphan child to lead a decent life.

Celebrating Safer Internet Day (SID) on 6th February, Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) signed a MoU with Vodafone to ensure cyber security.

As per Dean and CEO of Northwestern University Qatar (NU-Q), Dr. Everette E Dennis, the case of QNA hacking was a planned disinformation formulation and circulation, to instigate regional and international insecurity, creating an anti-Qatar sentiment, which further became the basis of diplomatic blockade by GCC countries.

After the information attack caused by QNA hacking, Qatar is taking special measures to prevent cyber-attacks. In the same direction, the Qatar government has dedicated the year as Safer Internet Year. The MoU with Vodafone follows in sync to strengthen cyber safety initiatives.

The 2018 SID is themed “Create, connect and share respect: A better Internet starts with you”. It is a call for action from every stakeholder to play their part in ensuring safe internet surfing, focussing on youngsters being the most vulnerable people.

Vodafone, as partner on cyber safety initiatives is committed itself to double its efforts on creating a secure internet surfing. Vodafone has already been delivering creative and engaging workshops in 10 schools covering 1000 students. With the formal MoU with MoTC, it will now work on number of cyber security initiatives to ensure continuous and effective awareness.

Vodafone has launched AmanTECH in 2014, which equipped thousands of children, parents and teachers with the right tools to navigate the digital world safely. Their team is now committed that the program in long run will provide people in Qatar with everything they need to know and do for their children in today’s ever-expanding digital world.

Mohammed Al Yami, Director of External Affairs, Vodafone Qatar stated that they “look forward to working closely with the Ministry to reach even more people,” as a partner ensuring cyber security.

The ministry is already working with number of programs such as Haseen, SafeSpace, Ammen Taslam (#Secure4Safety), Ethical Responsibility in a Digital World, SID, and the Digital Literacy Curriculum carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education & Higher Education, which will now completed by Vodafone.

The workshops initiated till now in schools has gained immense response. Further such programmes may prove extremely helping in educating youngsters about the various cyber issues and promoting safe internet surfing.