Credible mediation on Kashmir possible only by the inclusion of Kashmiris’ voice: Masood Khan

Islamabad  :    (Parliament Times)   Commenting on the offer of mediation made by Donald Trump during his visit to India, Sardar Masood Khan said that the people of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir are open to mediation and intercession. However, he added, such a process should be credible and take aboard all the parties to the dispute – Pakistan, India, the UN and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In any formal or informal negotiations, he said, the voice of the Kashmiri people must be included because no solution is possible without their explicit free expression of political will for determining their destiny and persona.

The AJK President made these remarks while interacting with a multi-national delegation led by Mr. Muhammad Atta ur Rehman, Chairman Institute of International Peace Leaders (IIPL) and Lady Mya Amarise, Vice Chairperson IIPL. The delegation, currently visiting Pakistan and Azad Kashmir consisted of diplomats, media professionals, businesspersons, philanthropists and economists. The delegates present belonged to the UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

IIPL is an international, nonpartisan, independent institute, basically based in Pakistan, dedicated to promoting peace and security, interfaith harmony, and sustainable development.

The President in his conversation reiterated that, in any case, the mediatory efforts should not attempt to supplant the UN SC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir which are the anchor sheet for ascertaining the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Hence, he asserted, these resolutions and the UN Charter should be the starting point and the foundation of the mediatory process.

When President Trump, Masood Khan said, made his initial offer of mediation last July, it was welcomed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan. However, its lustre started wearing thin when caveats and conditions were added to the original offer to assuage India, he said. Besides, the peace deal on Palestine has also raised apprehensions that mediation by a single nation or statesman could tilt in favour of India and might legitimise the status quo.

“This would be disastrous and a repudiation of the 200-year-old struggle of the Kashmiri people for liberty and self-determination”, he said. Still, he said, Pakistan should not close its doors on any good faith offers from the US. It may be recalled, Pakistan was instrumental in getting 12 resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir passed from the UN SC during 1948-1957.

“The United States is a preeminent power and an influential permanent member of the UN SC. Raising the issue of Kashmir against the backdrop of bonhomie during Trump’s visit to India was in itself an act of statesmanship”, he said, adding that words or intentions alone will not stop genocide and land grab in Kashmir but instead, it requires urgent and concrete actions.

Sardar Masood Khan said that humanity as a whole is in danger. In the present day, terrorism and the war against humanity are great challenges and as global citizens, we should work for peace, stability and sustainable development.

President Masood thanked the delegates for coming to Pakistan and planning to visit AJK. He said Azad Kashmir is no less than a paradise on earth. While complemented the efforts of the IIPL for their initiative, he said that the common thread that binds this diverse group is humanity. He added that they should avail this opportunity to fully understand the Kashmir dispute and help create global awareness on the issue.

The AJK President informed that the people of IOJK are facing genocide, women are being raped and sexually molested, and thousands of Kashmiris have been abducted and illegally detained in jails all over northern India. He added that the IOJK is being converted into a colony where the Muslim majority is being converted into a minority by transforming the ethnic demography in the region. “Kashmiris in IOJK are facing a human rights crisis which needs to be stopped”, he said.

Masood Khan said that the BJP-RSS led Indian government is advocating an extremist Hindu-nationalist agenda. The Citizen Amendment Act, he said, has been introduced by the Indian government to target the Muslim population and exclude them from the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Rioting in major cities of India, he said, have led to mob lynching of Muslims, desecration of Mosques and destruction of properties belonging to Muslims.

President Masood said that we must bring an end to the killings taking place in IOJK by calling out India and breaking the silence that is being observed by the major capitals. “As citizens of this global community, we must stop genocide, land grab and the gag order imposed in IOJK. India is not a sacred cow and their actions should be called out”, he said.

Referring to President Trump’s recent visit to India, he said that by signing arms and trade deals, India has tried to build a wall to hide their war crimes in IOJK in the same a manner a wall was erected before the US President’s visit to hide the slums that would have been visible on the route where his entourage was to travel through.

The President urged the delegates of the need for setting up peace tables and promoting peace leaders. The international community must raise its voice and only effective and timely interventions can bring peace.

The State President said that here in AJK we don’t hide things and have opened our doors to the world.

“You are welcome to see the beauty of the land and also see the freedom and civil liberties enjoyed by the people in AJK. We are not deprived in any sense and are making efforts to rapidly develop AJK’s infrastructure, industrial and educational sectors. We welcome foreign investment in the private sector and we are keen to attract foreign tourists by creating investment opportunities in the hospitality industry”, said Masood Khan

Masood Khan while lauding the diaspora community said that its efforts have been very impactful in internationalising the issue. He thanked the British Parliament for opening their doors and for providing an opportunity to hold debates and conferences on the Kashmir issue in the British Parliament.

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