Volume 92, Issue 41

Tuesday, November 17, 1998

no. 1 where it counts


Politics belong in Equity Week

Re: Helping the right, Nov. 6

To the Editor:

Many in the Western community are probably aware of the fact that the Pakistani Students Association took a stand on the issue of Kashmir during the recent Equity Week. The PSA felt and continues to feel, that the genocide taking place in Kashmir needs to get more public attention in Canada. It is a PSA policy to promote this issue as much as we can.

When the PSA was asked to participate in Equity Week we made sure that the pertinent authorities knew what the nature of the display would be. The USC told the PSA on several occasions that we could present whatever political issues that we wanted to. In fact, in a meeting with the USC president, among others, the PSA was informed that the material we proposed to present was allowed.

Many people in recent days have expressed the opinion that political issues should not be presented during Equity Week. The PSA is of the opinion that politics and culture are inherently intertwined. However, many do disagree with us on that point. Those who believe that political issues have no place in Equity Week should lobby the USC to have the rules of this week changed. The PSA will never apologize for shedding light upon human suffering.

The Indian government is no angel. From the suppression to the Khalistan independence movement in the 1980s to its current fight against the people of Kashmir – the Indian government has continually shown disregard for international law. It is true that human rights abuses occur in many places. When a group of people, however, are continually denied their basic right to self determination, the world must act.

The PSA does recognize when we make mistakes. One of the pamphlets that was being distributed by us referred to a "Tyrannical rule over Muslims," supposedly carried out by Sikhs. I, as president of the PSA, take full responsibility for this mistake. I should have been aware earlier that such a pamphlet was being handed out. On behalf of all Pakistani students at Western, I would like to offer my sincere apology to the Sikh students of Western.

That being said, the PSA will continue to promote knowledge of the genocide taking place in Kashmir. It is the duty of all civilized human beings to oppose the oppression, especially if that oppression is systematic, of a nation. The people of Kashmir have no voice. If the PSA can educate only one person about their plight, then we have done our job.

Omar Yar Khan
PSA President
Social Science III

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Copyright The Gazette 1998