AJK president, PM condemn provocative statements by Indian govt and army chief

ISLAMABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Sunday took stock of the deteriorating situation in India-held Kashmir.

They condemned the provocative statements given by the government and army chief of India who, they said, were working in collusion to brutalise and suppress the Kashmiri people.

The president said Indian occupation forces had turned the disputed region into a war zone where unarmed, non-combatant civilians were being mowed down in the wicked and barbaric cordon and search operations. The latest victim of these operations is a youth in Bandipora.

India, Mr Masood said, was meting out this collective punishment to the Kashmiri population because of their demand for freedom, justice and self-determination, which was their birthright.

When the peaceful people of Kashmir demanded a just, political and negotiated settlement of the internationally recognised Jammu and Kashmir dispute, India retaliated by killing Kashmiri youths, blinding them by the use of pellet guns, arbitrarily arresting and then torturing Kashmiris and abducting them and destroying their houses and means of livelihood, he alleged.

He said New Delhi’s rejection of a mutually agreed meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, was driven by a strong resistance from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

He said that such offers, made in good faith by Pakistan now and in the past, underlined Pakistan’s commitment to dialogue and diplomacy in the quest for all avenues for a lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, whereas India wanted to resolve this issue through the use of state terrorism and brute force against Kashmiris. “Kashmiris want peace and peaceful means to resolve the dispute,” he said.

India, President Masood said, wanted to plunge the region into warmongering and brinkmanship to divert attention from its horrendous human rights violations in held Kashmir and bide time to avert a lasting resolution of the Kashmir dispute. “Our worst apprehension is that India is deliberately making offensive and inflammatory statements to intensify its repression in Kashmir,” he said.

Both the president and prime minister endorsed the three recommendations of the UN Human Rights Commission’s report: a) India to respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people; b) repeal of the two draconian laws — Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act — that empower Indian security forces to commit human rights violations with impunity; and c) Human Rights Council to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in India-held Kashmir.

They also discussed ways and means to intensify political and diplomatic campaign for the self-determination of the Kashmiris and an end to the Indian repression in the occupied territory.

Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider informed the president that a commission had been formed which would work on addressing the grievances of overseas Kashmiris and give them incentives to invest in Azad Kashmir. (Dawn)