Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that today we must make a vow to make Pakistan amongst the top ten economies of the world by the year 2050. He said that a politically, economically and militarily strong Pakistan would guarantee a strong advocate for Kashmir.
The AJK President made these comments while addressing a youth conference organised by the National Defence University on “Hindu Majoritarian Regime in India and Marginalisation of Muslims in IOK”. The event was attended by students from AJK public sector universities, postgraduate degree colleges and leading religious seminaries.
President Masood Khan in his opening remarks thanked the management of the National Defence University (NDU) for actively organizing workshops, talks and conferences on the Kashmir issue. He said that NDU has been committed to engaging the youth in creating critical awareness on the intricacies of the Kashmir dispute.
Speaking on the recent steps taken by the Indian government on August 5, the President said that these unilateral actions were all illegal and illicit in nature. He said that not only this but these steps are a clear violation of all international laws and conventions including the Fourth Geneva Convention, Additional Protocol I and ICC Statutes. These steps, he said, were taken by India to once again invade, reoccupy, bifurcate and ultimately colonise the territory.
The President while deploring the illegal steps taken by India said that an attempt has been made to revoke the disputed status of Jammu Kashmir. He added that India has made Kashmir an integral part of their union in its constitution, while Pakistan has recognized the disputed status of Kashmir and the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in Article 257 of its Constitution which states: “When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State”.
President Masood Khan condemned the grave human rights violations taking place in IOK, where the Kashmiris have been imprisoned in their homes and hospitals have become graveyards due to the scarcity of medical supplies. He said that young Kashmiris including minors as young as 9, 12, 13, and 14 have been illegally detained and shifted to prisons all over India where they are being subjected to unimaginable tortures. “The Indian forces, like conquerors in the medieval period, are claiming Kashmiri women as spoils of wars. Simply putting it India has adopted a scorched-earth policy in Kashmir”, he said.
The AJK President has said that global reaction to the recent steps taken by India has been mixed. He said that while countries like China, Iran, Turkey and Malaysia have condemned and expressed their concern over this move, major world capitals have been ambivalent and instead have tried to maintain artificial neutrality between Pakistan and India.
Praising the international media, the President said that media outlets all over the globe have provided an exact and factual account of the brutalities taking place in IOK. “We have been provided with a new opportunity to raise the profile of the Kashmir issue and help sensitise the global community over the human rights situation in IOK”, said Masood Khan.
“The role of the UN Security Council has been very disappointing in this connection as it had not been proactive and had to wait for a communiqué from Pakistan to convene a session on Kashmir. No Presidential Statement was issued and no follow-up sessions were called”, he said. The UN Security Council must take action under Chapter VI of its Charter to help take pacific measures to resolve the dispute, he said.
“We must not appease the oppressor. Similar appeasement of the Nazi and Fascist leadership in the last century led to a devastating war and a human catastrophe. We cannot afford the same again”, he asserted.
India, he said, has been hiding behind the veil of bilateral dialogues only to maintain the status quo. The Simla Agreement has been falsely interpreted so as to give the impression that the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral one. He said that Kashmiris are very much a part of the issue and they have been recognised as a key party to this dispute by the UNSC through its resolutions.
President Masood Khan categorically stated that there is no terrorism taking place in IOK except for the Indian state-terrorism against the Kashmiris. “The Indian narrative of terrorism in IOK is dated”, said President AJK.
Speaking directly to the youth, the President urged them to reach out to the international community and their peers by effectively using traditional and modern means of communication. He said that today we should be united for the progress of the nation and shaping Pakistan’s destiny.
The President said that we salute the martyrs and Ghazis who had liberated the areas we now call AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. “Till now 500,000 Kashmiris have laid down their lives for Kashmir. Kashmiris are the most courageous people on earth. They have been resisting the Indian forces for the past seven decades. The people of Kashmir have made their decisions and they will never capitulate”, he said. He praised the resilience and commitment of Syed Ali Gillani, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Yaseen Malik and other Kashmiri leaders. He also thanked Pakistan and its people for standing by Kashmir. He also recognised the Armed Forces of Pakistan for standing tall and defending the areas of AJK along the LoC.
Masood Khan said that today the issue of Kashmir is alive because of three reasons; the commitment and struggle of the people of Kashmir; the resolute stance of Pakistan on Kashmir for the past seven decades and the fact that AJK being the base camp of the Kashmir cause has continued to raise this issue.
The event was also addressed by Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, former Prime Minister AJK; Ahmer Bilal Soofi and Ambassador Afrasiab Hashmi. Deputy President NDU Rear Admiral Naveed Ashraf, Major General Raza Muhammad, faculty members of NDU and AJK educational institutions were also present at the event.
PRESIDENT AJK PAYS HOMAGE TO VICTIMS OF AJK EARTHQUAKE.
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, at an event held at the National Defence University and offered Fateha and prayed for the victims of the devastating 08 October 2015 earthquake that hit areas of northern Pakistan and greatly affecting major areas of Azad Kashmir. He also paid homage to the victims of recent earthquake in Mirpur (24 September 2019).
In a statement issued here, the President said that the 2005 earthquake and the recent earthquake in Mirpur Division has made it evident that Azad Jammu and Kashmir lies on major seismic fault lines. He said this vulnerability calls for concrete measures for disaster resilience which primarily include preparedness, awareness and response strategies.
He said we must take definitive steps to make institutions like the State Disaster Management Authority, Pakistan Red Crescent-AJK Branch and other similar organizations more effective and help create awareness in our society on these issues.
He urged that building codes with seismic provisions need to be comprehensively bolstered and implemented so that public health and safety for all communities are ensured.
The President said that after the recent Mirpur earthquake, rescue and relief operations have been successfully completed by the AJK government. Rehabilitation operations, he said, have been initiated and in the next phase, exhaustive reconstruction activities will also be undertaken.
Masood Khan said that funds for these operations have been provided by the AJK government and the Federal government has also expressed their assurance of aiding further rehabilitation and construction projects. He said that funds from foreign donors, International NGOs and the diaspora community also have to be effectively channelled so as to ensure maximum benefit of the affected communities.