A high level U.S. Congressional delegation comprising Senators Chris Van Hollen and Maggie Hassan along with their staffers and US CdA Amb Paul Jones visited Muzaffarabad today. The purpose of the visit was to see the ground situation and gauge public sentiment following the 5 August illegal Indian actions in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
A detailed briefing on the current situation on LoC was given by Maj Gen Amer. The delegation also called on the President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)..
The Leadership of Azad Kashmir thanked the two Senators for the visit and appreciated their support for the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. While offering them to see first hand the vibrant and thriving Kashmiri community in Azad Kashmir, the U.S. delegation was apprised of the historical background of the Jammu & Kashmir Dispute and the deteriorating situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in wake of prolonged curfew and suppression of fundamental rights and freedoms particularly since 5 August.
3. The leadership of Azad Jammu and Kashmir expressed the hope that delegation’s visit to AJK would help them have first hand information, understanding the prevailing humanitarian crisis in IOJK and explaining the ground situation to their colleagues on the Capitol Hill and in the Administration upon return to the United States. It was noted that the Indian Government’s policy of denial to allow neutral observers to visit the occupied Jammu and Kashmir had exposed the specious India’s “all is well “ propaganda.
President Masood Khan and Prime Minister Farooq Haider both urged the U.S. Senators to play their role in saving the people of IOJK from India’s repressive brutal measures and pressing India to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Among other things, they also shared the vision and priorities of AJK Government, which were focused on governance, rule of law and development.
The U.S. Senators said that they shared the human rights concerns and would continue to urge India to lift the curfew and release all prisoners as a first step. They also expressed their resolve to remain engaged for the resolution of the dispute.