ISLAMABAD: (Parliament Times) Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has called upon for collective and multilateral efforts to find a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
The President made these remarks while addressing an international seminar on “Beyond the Global War on Terror: Building Bridges for Peace and Harmonious living” organised by the National Defense University here.
The bilateral track for resolving the issue, he said, it has failed to produce any results. “It is time that the UN steps forward to fulfil its task in pursuance of the UN Charter and its own resolutions to give the Kashmiris their right to self-determination”, he said adding that repression in the IOK will not and cannot produce peace and harmony in South Asia; nor ever bludgeon Kashmiris into submission.
The President said the war on terror has spawned ethnic nationalism and re-ignited racial, xenophobic and religious fault lines in the west. He said that despite all its complexities, terrorism must be fought collectively and resolutely, not just by military means but by strengthening law enforcement and judicial institutions, as well through de-radicalization and socio-economic development.
The AJK President said Pakistan has lost more than 40,000 of its civilians and 10,000 military in making the region and the world a safer place. He added: “Pakistan has purged Al Qaeda from the region and dismantled its backbone; the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, which has had external sponsorship, was routed; and a successful crackdown on violent extremists is underway.”
President Masood Khan added that Pakistan has demonstrated zero tolerance for militancy. Pakistan, he said, had achieved success in fighting terrorism by dismantling terrorists’ communication networks, destroying their IED factories and disrupting their operations.”
Pakistan’s sacrifices in blood and treasure in the war against terrorism, the President said, were second to none. “Pakistan’s key role in the war on terrorism should therefore be applauded, not berated nor dismissed on the advice of a new ally who directly threatens Pakistan’s interests”, he said adding that “cooperation, not containment, will ensure success”.
The President said that all Pakistan was trying to do was to to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity against threats on the Western and North Western flanks. “After all”, he said, “Pakistan does have an existential threat from India whose leaders have openly discussed their use of non-state actors, terrorists, intelligence agents and proxies to destabilize the state of Pakistan. This they say is punishment for Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir”.
“Fracturing the coalition (against terrorism) or scapegoating will only enable terrorists to regroup, restock and recalibrate to strike with lethal effect. It will undermine the mission and prove to be counterproductive”, the President warned.
Referring specifically to Afghanistan the President said that terrorists do cross borders using ungoverned spaces. “All stakeholders”, he said, “must work together to interdict their movement and enforce governance and legal writ on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border”.
The best prescription, he said, for ushering in regional harmony is to end the war in Afghanistan by finding a formula for peace acceptable to all political actors.
Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, as anchors and harbingers of peace, he said, would continue to strive for amity and cooperation by leveraging economic geography and investing in regional connectivity.
“Pakistan’s geography”, said Masood Khan, “provides an ideal platform for building bridges for harmonious living in the region and implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will create a win-win situation for the region and pave the way for peace and harmony.” The CPEC, he said, threatens no regional or extra-regional power.
The seminar was also addressed by Lt. Gen. Majid Ehsan, President NDU, scholars, academicians and students from various departments of NDU and from abroad.