ISTANBUL: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President, Sardar Masood Khan on Tuesday said lasting peace in the Middle East and South Asia hinges on the resolution of the long outstanding Palestine and Kashmir issues.
The people of Pakistan and Kashmir considered both the issue as their own and they will continue to extend an unequivocal support to their Palestinian brothers and sisters, he said while addressing an international conference on Palestine at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University.
He emphasized the need for an early solution to the Palestine issue and reiterated Pakistan’s stance for the complete withdrawal of Israelis forces from the Arab territories and the inalienable right of Palestinian people to self-determination on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions.
Tracing similarities between Kashmir and Palestine problems, President Masood said both the peoples of Palestine and Kashmir were promised self-determination by the United Nations (UN) 70 years ago.
The Palestinians have not yet attained their state and the Kashmiris have not yet had an opportunity to vote on their preference to become part of India or part of Pakistan.
He said that People of Pakistan and Turkey were tied in lasting bonds of love and brotherhood and the outpouring of support by the Turkish nation in the wake of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake will never be forgotten.
President Khan also paid rich tributes to the leadership and vision of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who always openly supported, acknowledged the people of Kashmir’s right to self-determination and expressed his concerned over the plights of Kashmiri people.
Emphasizing that both Palestine and Kashmir disputes need to be resolved in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, Masood Khan said it was impossible to establish peace without just solution to the issues that affect lives of the millions of people.
Earlier delivering a lecture at Medipol University on the topic of “Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Mental Health Crisis in the Disputed Territory of Kashmir”, the President said almost half of the residents of the Occupied Kashmir Valley have mental health problems on way or the other.
Citing a report compiled and released by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in collaboration with Kashmir University, Khan said the report found that nearly 1.8 million adults - 45 per cent of Kashmir's adult population - suffer from some form of mental distress.
Before the start of the current intifada in 1989, there were a small number of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases, but now we have an epidemic of disorders in Kashmir.
The decades-old state-sponsored violence and the conflict have taken a huge toll on the mental health of those living in Indian Occupied Kashmir, he pointed out.
Later the President also held a separate meeting with Rector of Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) Professor Dr Mehmet Bulut and interacted with Turkish state-run and private media.