Afghans, Pakistanis and Kashmiris bonded by mutual love and respect: Masood Khan

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Muzaffarabad: (Parliament Times)     Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have very strong ties that transcend boundaries and their destinies are intertwined; there is kinship and close association amongst the people of the two countries. Similarly, Kashmir and Afghanistan have a historic relation and the people all these three (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir) regions are tied in the bond of mutual love and respect, he said.

The President made these remarks while addressing a webinar hosted by Ambassador of Pakistan to Kabul H.E. Zahid Nasrullah on “Indian Illegal Action and Demographic Apartheid in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir”. The webinar was also attended by former Afghan Prime Minister and political stalwart Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leading diplomats in Kabul, parliamentarians, journalists and academicians.

The President expressed his deepest empathy with the people Afghanistan who over the past four decades have passed through a very difficult period in their history and he said that Afghanis very well understand what conflict is; what suffering is; what carnage is. Pakistanis and Kashmiris, he said, feel the pain of the people of Afghanistan. No nation on the face of the world has suffered as much as the brave people of Afghanistan, he added. Masood Khan said that he believes that in a similar stride, the people of Afghanistan also understand the sufferings and hardships of the oppressed Kashmiris.

Recalling his stint as the Permanent Representative to the UN, the President said that he along with his Afghan counterpart worked closely towards reducing the difference and divergences in policies and played a positive role in cementing ties between the two brotherly nations.

The AJK President while apprising the participants of the genesis of the Kashmir issue said that the people of Kashmir had vowed to accede to Pakistan as there were close cultural, economic, family and religious ties between the two people; similar to what can be observed between the two populations of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The President said that after the independence of Pakistan and India, the people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan waged a freedom war against the Dogra Raj and liberated these areas from the clutches of the Maharaja. Masood Khan expressed his deepest gratitude to the tribals of both present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan who, at that time, came to Azad Kashmir.

“They were the only people who came and helped us in liberating and subsequently defending this territory we now know as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan”, he said.

The AJK President said that the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir have identified the Kashmiris as the key party to the dispute and has said that a free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the UN will be held in the disputed territory. Both Pakistan and India, he said, had agreed to the resolutions passed by the Council but over the years India shamelessly backtracked on its commitments and took several measures to integrate the occupied territory claiming it to be an integral part of the Indian federation. He said that through a new pro-Indian political class, India tried to present legitimacy to their rule and held sham elections, year after year, he said.

“Despite the passage of over seven decades of trying to legitimise their occupation and using brute force to suppress the masses, Kashmiris are still chanting slogans ‘Go India. Go back’ even today”, he said.

President Masood said that since the first genocide that took place in November 1947 in Jammu resulting in the martyrdom of 237,000 Muslim Kashmiris, a total of 500,000 Kashmiris have sacrificed their lives for freedom from Indian occupation. Using rape as an instrument of war, thousands of women have been raped by Indian forces and RSS goons.

The President said that this past year has been the darkest period in the history of Kashmir. Thousands of people have been killed, blinded, maimed, forcibly disappeared, incarcerated and tortured, he said.

Masood Khan said that various steps have been taken after the invasion and pervasive siege of the territory on August 05. On October 31, India went a step further and colonised the territory by first bifurcating it and then bringing those areas under the direct control of New Delhi as Union territories. Thereby, he added, Kashmiris were made aliens in their homeland. In April 2020, they took another dubious step by introducing the New Domicile Rules whereby Hindus from all over India are being brought in to IOJK. “Already 400,000 non-state Hindus have been given Kashmiri domiciles and by this rate, in a few years, they will be in a position to import 4-5 million Hindus. The demography of the occupied territory will be permanently changed and the Muslim majority will become a minority”, he said.

The President maintained India didn’t stop at that and continues to threaten to annihilate Pakistan by the use of nuclear weapons and occupy Azad Kashmir and GB. Any level of nuclear engagement would result in devastation for not only Pakistan and India but the whole of South Asia, he warned. President AJK said that according to international law, conventions and statues; India is culpable to the heinous crimes being committed by them in IOJK.

The President apprised the participants of the menace of rising Hindutva in India that is being sponsored by the BJP-RSS regime. He said that according to this extremist fascist policy, they desire to purge the whole of South Asia including Afghanistan of non-Hindus and materialise the dream of the so-called Akhand Bahrat.

The President said that economic cooperation is essential for progress in the region, for which we must leverage our strengths towards achieving these goals. He said that Pakistan would welcome the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor up to Afghanistan to benefit the masses in both Pakistan and Afghanistan

Former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar expressed the sincere support of the Afghani people for the inalienable right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people. He said that India should learn a lesson from the Afghan Jihad and understand that by the use of force no population can be suppressed and the only solution to the Kashmir dispute is to give Kashmiris their right to self-determination. He said the Kashmir issue is a grave wound in the body of the Muslim Ummah.