Pakistan was invited by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad scheduled to be held in Chennai, India, from 28 July to 10 August 2022. A Pakistani contingent was already training for this event.
Regrettably, India has chosen to politicize this prestigious international sporting event by passing the torch relay of this event through the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The torch relay passed through Srinagar on 21 June 2022.
By passing the torch relay through IIOJK, in utter disregard of the globally acknowledged “disputed” status of the territory, India has committed a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances. India must know that by such provocative and indefensible actions, it can neither seek nor claim international legitimacy for its unjustifiable, illegal and tyrannical occupation of IIOJK continuing for over 7 decades.
As is well-known, Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized “disputed” territory between Pakistan and India. The IIOJK has been under forcible and illegal occupation of India since 1947 and this dispute has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for more than seven decades. India is responsible for widespread atrocities and egregious human rights violations in IIOJK. Since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, Indian occupation forces have extra-judicially killed more than 650 innocent Kashmiris. More ominously, India has been seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory in flagrant violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, international law, and the 4th Geneva Convention.
Pakistan condemns India’s mischievous attempt to mix politics with sports. As a protest, Pakistan has decided not to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad and will also raise the matter with the International Chess Federation at the highest level.
Pakistan also strongly urges the international community to call upon India to end its gross and systematic violations of human rights in IIOJK, revoke its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, and free all political prisoners including the true Kashmiri leaders.