Islamabad, Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, met Shehryar Khan Afridi, Minister of State for Interior.
During the meeting, both the leaders discussed issues of mutual interest. On the occasion, the President also congratulated him on assuming his new position in the Federal Cabinet.
The President while informing about the latest situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir said that in the latest wave of killings, 11 Kashmiris were murdered in cold blood. He said that the Kashmiris are striving to attain their right to self-determination as promised under the UN Security Council resolutions and they desire a peaceful and lasting settlement to this dispute.
State Minister Shehryar Afridi said that the Government of Pakistan will always continue to raise the issue of Kashmir at all international forums and will actively work towards the peaceful resolution of this conflict by implementing the UN Security Council resolutions call for a free and fair plebiscite.
Both the President and the State Minister said that by forging unity and effectively tapping the potential of the diaspora community we will continue to raise the profile of this long-standing issue. Being the only sovereign window for the Kashmiri people, a politically, diplomatically and economically stronger Pakistan is pertinent to help raise the issue of Kashmir at the international front.
The President invited the State Minister to visit AJK and interact with students and youth at AJK’s public sector universities in order to motivate and inspire the next generation.
President Masood Khan informed that the AJK Government is working towards economic development and promoting good governance through transparency, accountability and upholding merit. The Minister of State assured that the Federal Government will take up every effort in facilitating the AJK Government and its people.
Masood Khan stresses need to prepare comprehensive water policy
Islamabad, 22 October: President Masood Khan said that India is not an upper riparian state, it is an occupier of the people, waters and land of one part of Jammu and Kashmir and therefore calls itself an upper riparian.
He made these remarks while speaking at the book launch ceremony of the book Hydro-Diplomacy: Preventing Water War Between Nuclear-Armed Pakistan and India authored by Ashfaq Mahmood, former federal secretary, Water and Power, and published by IPS Press – the publishing arm of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad.
President Masood Khan said that the author has identified the key ingredients for the success of hydro-diplomacy, which he said were building mutual trust, third-party intercession, the commitment of the leadership and expert knowledge-based approach.
The President said that the book also identifies the Indus Water Treaty’s many loopholes and limitations. The limitations, he said, including groundwater, desertification, ecological impact, water quality, and flora and fauna, which in the long run has led to numerous problem.
President Khan said that the issue of water scarcity and shortage is a reality that does not exclusively pertain to the shortfalls of the IWT. He said that Pakistan is a water scarce country and the situation will worsen till 2025 if drastic steps are not taken.
The President informed that the key issue of tension between Pakistan and India, is Kashmir. Till date, he said, India has not accepted the creation of Pakistan and the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to be a part of Pakistan. He said that for India; Kashmir and water are interlinked.
President AJK pointed out that, firstly, India is obsessed in keeping all its issues with Pakistan within the bilateral realm and keep away from third-party arbitration or intercession. Secondly, use dilatory tactics by restricting access to data and refusing to engage in any dialogue. Thirdly, he said India has always used the tensions between India and Pakistan as a smokescreen to complete their dams; like they completed Baglihar during the tensions experienced in the early 2000s. Lastly, he said that Indian lobby with neutral experts by either directly approaching them or the countries from which they originate.
President Masood Khan said that India despite its efforts to pit the people of Kashmir against Pakistan; Kashmiris are not deluded and have not been influenced by the Indian tactics. India, he said, has tried to manipulate Kashmiris into thinking that Pakistan’s just objections against the building of dams is an attempt towards denying them from reaping the benefits of such projects.
He also underscored the need for preparing a comprehensive water policy having an external domain encompassing India and other neighbours, as well as internal domain stressing on water conservation, the building of dams, investment in the environment and the strategies to deal with the challenges of climate change.
The President expressed hope that due to Pakistan’s strategic parity with India and its display of immense restrain will not allow for any escalation. He urged that it would be prudent for both the countries to de-link war and water and the nuclear capabilities of the neighbouring countries. He said that water is a natural resource which needs to be equitably distributed.
The event was also addressed by Ambassador (r) Shafqat Kakakhel, Mirza Hamid Hasan, former secretary, Water and Power and the chairman of IPS’ steering committee on Water, Energy & Climate Change, DG-IPS Khalid Rahman and the author Ashfaq Mahmood. The book launch was attended by senior bureaucrats, academics, scholars and researchers.