Altaf Hamid Rao.
ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times): Terming unresolved Kashmir conflict as one of the perilous threats to global peace and security, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has called upon UN Security Council to help resolve the decades-old issue pending on its agenda for the last seven decades.
In an interview with a national magazine on Sunday, he asserted that mobilizing the UN Security Council to implement its own resolutions on Kashmir, persuading the governments of powerful nations to call out India’s government, and to move the Kashmir movement from closed chambers to streets and squares across the world are some of the most serious challenges people of Kashmir and Pakistan are facing right now, AJK President office said Sunday night.
Commenting on the overall development of the Kashmir issue at the international level, the state president said there is more awareness around the world about the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for self-determination. The US Congress, he said, has held hearings on Kashmir, the European Parliament has held a plenary, a UK all-party group on Kashmir has been active, and some ASEAN parliaments have also established Friends of Kashmir Groups.
He maintained that the international media has been reporting on the dire developments in Kashmir, especially since August 5, 2019. Kashmiri and Pakistani Diasporas have regularly held demonstrations in scores of the world capitals, and have played an important catalytic role in making Kashmiris’ struggle an international civil rights movement.
About Pakistan and Azad Kashmir’s diplomatic outreach on Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan said it has been substantial and tenacious, but we have not yet achieved the desired results. The moral and political support has increased, without a doubt, but we have not been able to break the silence of powerful Western nations because of their close economic and strategic interests with India. That barrier has yet to be broken, and we are persevering in our efforts, he added. Asked how AJK dealt with the Coronavirus, the state president said we have done very well, overall. The strategy comprises a combination of periodic smart lockdowns and opening up worked well, he said adding that we have had full support from the federal institutions, including NCOC, NIH and NDMA. Besides, he went on to say that we also established our own coronavirus testing labs and isolation centres and that has made a huge difference. Importantly, AJK said, we enlisted the support of Ulema and Mushaikh was forthcoming. Responding to a question, he said that the AJK government addressed problems related to livelihoods and food shortages during lockdowns by using the governments’ resources and the support of philanthropists. The challenges are, however, still there as we brace for new waves of the coronavirus. “Keeping in view the increasing number of coronavirus cases, the AJK government has decided to suspend all on-campus activities of the students from grade 1 to 8 in the districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is eight per cent or above,” he concluded.