Islamabad; Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while interacting with a delegation of British Parliamentarians that called on him here at Jammu and Kashmir House emphasized that the international community must play a responsible role in peacefully resolving the Kashmir issue in the light of the UN resolutions and according to the political will of the people of Kashmir.
The Parliamentary delegation comprised Lord David Alton, Liberal Member of the House of Lords; Members House of Commons Democratic Unionist Jim Shannon and Labour Party’s Marrie Rimmer; Amro Hussain, Senior Parliamentary Officer; Professor Javed Rehman, Brunel University, London and Councilor Morris Johns.
During the meeting matters of mutual interest and the latest situation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir were discussed in detail.
The President said that the United Kingdom being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council can effectively influence India to stop its reign of terror and the gross human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir so that peace and stability in South Asia could be ensured.
President Masood Khan informed the British delegation that due to India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir the Kashmiris have been denied their inalienable right to self-determination. The Indian Army, he said, has unrestricted powers under the Armed Forces Special Power Act and the Public Safety Act and is openly killing, mutilating and incarcerating the innocent people of Kashmir. He said the Kashmiris are deprived of the right to education, health, justice, livelihood, movement and speech. He added that in these circumstances, the global community must o raise their voices in the favour of innocent Kashmiris and save them from Indian state-terrorism.
President Masood Khan said that as recommended in the recently published UN Human Rights Commission report on Kashmir, India, should; respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris; repeal the black laws enforced in the valley; and allow the proposed Commission of Inquiry under the Human Rights Council to visit IOK.
President Masood Khan told the Parliamentary delegation that Indian troops continue to violate the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement and target unarmed innocent citizens across the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir, which has resulted in hundreds of casualties and destruction of property. He informed the delegation that at present, more than 40,000 refugees are living in different camps in Azad Kashmir, who had migrated to Azad Kashmir from the occupied territory due to Indian aggression. The government of Azad Kashmir, he said, is taking care of these refugees with their own resources without any external help.
The President stressed on the need to raise the Kashmir issue in the British Parliament especially in the question hour of the British Prime Minister. He said that events on the sideline of the Parliament sessions may also be organised to highlight the Kashmir issue and encouraged debates on the floor of the House
While expressing their views, members of the delegation on the occasion said that the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be respected and human rights violations in IOK should be brought to an end.
Lord David Alton said that stressed the need for the United Kingdom to be more vocal on the issue of Kashmir and raise its voice in the UN Security Council. He said that the solution of the conflict lies in the UN Security Resolutions and its amicable resolution through political means. MP Jim Shannon assured his full support to raising the human rights issue in IOK and pointed to using talks and dialogue as the only solution to the issue.
Councillor Morris Johns also discussed the issue of welfare and rights of minorities living in AJK The President informed that minorities have been granted equal rights and are treated as regular citizens of the state. However, he said those Christians who are not permanent residents of the state and come from different parts of Pakistan and have settled in Azad Kashmir, cannot be recognized as a permanent state subjects under state law. He said this rule applies to all irrespective of their religious beliefs. He assured the members of the delegation that issues of the Christian community will also be resolved on priority in Azad Kashmir.