Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that Kashmir issue is the core dispute between Pakistan and India adding that if there is war between the two nuclear-capable countries, it would have devastating consequences. He, therefore, urged the international community to responsibly persuade India to settle the Kashmir conflict through dialogue and diplomatic means in order to avoid any escalation in the region
The President – as the Chief Guest – made these comments while addressing a two-day international conference on “Kashmir Conflict: Changing Dynamics and the Prospects for Peace” organized by Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC).
President Masood Khan said that the international community must realise that they cannot abandon their responsibility from resolving the Kashmir dispute. He said that the people of Kashmir and the Government of Pakistan desire to resolve this long-standing issue through peaceful means and as prescribed in the UN Security Council Resolutions. The people of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir believe that the issue must be resolved through amicable means. He said that India falsely claims Kashmir as a border issue between Pakistan and India which can be resolved through bilateral talks between the two nations. He said that no solution to the Kashmir issue is possible without the Kashmiris as they are key constituents to the dispute. He reiterated that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and the territory has been forcefully occupied, and the people of Kashmir are struggling to exercise their right to self-determination for the past seventy-one years.
Lamenting India’s policy of aggression, the President said that India is trying to subdue the freedom movement in Kashmir through the use of brute force and military might. He said that India in its craze is openly killing, maiming, illegally arresting and dishonouring the womenfolk in IOK. despite such manoeuvres, economic and political blandishments, the Kashmiris will continue their freedom struggle, he said.
President AJK said that India is peddling a false narrative that there is terrorism in IOK and continues to blame Pakistan of cross-border infiltrations despite claiming that the Line of Control is impregnable. He said that the freedom struggle in IOK is purely indigenous and is led by unarmed Kashmiris. He said that India will never succeed in winning the hearts of the Kashmiris. Even today, he said, when a Kashmiri is martyred in IOK, the martyr’s coffin is draped with Pakistan’s flag and the gathering chant slogans: “We are Pakistani and Pakistan is ours”.
The President said that the recently released UN Human Rights Commission on the human rights situation in Kashmir is a huge step towards highlighting the human rights vioalations in IOK. He said that the report has recommended that India must respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people, which under international law is a basic right of every human being. The report has also demanded the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safty Act, and the formation of a Commission of Inquiry and be given access to IOK in order to factually assess the human rights situation. He said that other reports on human rights violations are also being compiled by the British and European Parliament. He said that in this regard a delegation of the British All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group has also visited Azad Kashmir.
Earlier, Rector National University of Science and Technology, Lieutenant General (Retired) Naveed Zaman thanked the President of Azad Kashmir and highlighted the importance of Kashmir issue, its historical background and genesis.