Dallas: Sardar Masood Khan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that Kashmiris living in Indian Occupied Kashmir are being subjected to unimaginable brutalities at the hands of the 700,000 strong Indian occupation forces. He said that in IOK, gross human rights violations are taking place every day and innocent Kashmiris are being killed and incarcerated simply because they demand their basic right to self-determination.
The President made these remarks while addressing a gathering organized by Friends of Kashmir here at Dallas.
He informed the audience about the human rights violations taking place in IOK and that Kashmiris have been subjected to torture and oppression since 1947. He said that since 1947, over 500,000 Kashmiris have been ruthlessly murdered and post-1989 uprising 100,000 have been killed. He said that every day, Indian occupation forces carry out so-called ‘cordon and search’, where they target young Kashmiris, demolish homes, dishonour women, illegal arrest Kashmiris and even destroy their crops and orchards. He added that innocent unarmed protestors are killed and blinded by pellet guns. He said that the whole of IOK has been transformed into a prison. Despite this, he said, the people of Kashmir continue to struggle for their right to self-determination and demand India to leave Kashmir.
President Masood Khan said that after 70 years of oppression, the issue of Kashmir is still alive due to the sacrifices of the Kashmiris and the steadfast support of the cause by Pakistan. India, said the President, has tried quashing the freedom movement through its coercion, economic blandishments and political manoeuvring, and has made every effort to diplomatically isolate Pakistan for its just support to the Kashmiris struggle for their right to self-determination. He said that these tactics have not deterred the Kashmiris in their struggle for freedom from Indian occupation.
The President informed the audience that India has propagated various falsehoods to divert the international community’s attention from Kashmir. India, he said, has falsely claimed Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of their territory and despite being the oppressor has labelled the Kashmiris as terrorists. He reiterated that the Kashmiris are the most unarmed people in the world and in spite of India’s coercive tactics, they have not been able to win the hearts of the Kashmiris over the past 71 years.
President AJK said that the people of Kashmir and Pakistan believe in the peaceful and lasting resolution of the Kashmir dispute through dialogue and the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions. India, he said, has adopted a policy of aggression and is trying to subdue the freedom struggle through the use of state-terror, brute force and avoiding any talks with Kashmiri leadership and the Government of Pakistan. He added that as bilateral dialogues have failed as shown by the recent cancellation of talks by India between the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
The President thanked the people and Government of Pakistan for their untiring political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir. He said that India has used every opportunity at the international front to defame Pakistan in an attempt to diplomatically isolate Pakistan. He added that our support for the Kashmiri’s struggle for their right to self-determination will continue despite all the odds.
He appealed forging unity and taking this long-standing issue to the international community. We must, he said, leverage the strengths of the Pakistani-Kashmiri diaspora and use traditional and modern means of media, to garner support for the Kashmir issue and help ingress into the global civil society and also the Indian civil society.
President Masood Khan while highlighting the priorities of the AJK Government, said that our Government is focused on: a) intensifying support to Kashmiris for attaining their right to self-determination; b) promoting good governance through accountability, rule of law and transparency; and; c) economic development. He also informed that AJK has the lowest crime rate and the highest educational score in Pakistan.
He said that with the formal inclusion of AJK in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a new era of development has begun in the region. He said that 2 hydropower projects, a modern industrial zone and an expressway connecting AJK to the main CPEC route have been approved for AJK. He urged the Pakistan-Kashmiri diaspora to come to AJK and invest in the evolving economic landscape.
Ayesha Farooqi, Counsel General of Pakistan, Houston; Ghazala Habib, Chairman Friends of Kashmir; Dr Riaz Haider, a large number of people from the Pakistani-Kashmiri community and representatives of the print and electronic media were also present at the event.