Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that in order to divert attention from the human rights violations taking place in IOJK, India is threatening to ‘retake’ Azad Kashmir, use nuclear weapons against Pakistan and, now, India is playing the card of Hindutva – the fascist doctrine of violent religious extremism – alienating a bulk of the Muslim population living in India. India is creating this air of artificial turbulence to divert world attention from Kashmir and go ahead with their pernicious agenda of consolidating their illegitimate rule over Jammu and Kashmir.
The President made these remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the International Kashmir Seminar jointly organised by the Institute of Policy Studies and Policy Research Forum at the Presidency. The event was also addressed by Mr. Khalid Rehman, Executive President of the Institute of Policy Studies; Mr. Mansoor Qadir Dar, Secretary Kashmir Liberation Cell and Acting Chairman Policy Research Forum; Professor Dr Roger Van Zwanenberg and prominent journalist Syed Iftikhar Gillani.
The AJK President said that the human rights crisis in IOJK has assumed sinister and unprecedented proportions. After August 5, he said, the territory of Jammu and Kashmir was invaded, reoccupied and bifurcated and now colonization is progress as the Muslims majority is being converted into a minority and Hindus from all over India, in a planned manner, are brought in to settle in IOJK. After October 31, India has issued fake maps wherein they have relegated IOJK and Ladakh to Union Territories and included Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan within the so-called territory of India.
President Masood Khan said that India pedals this narrative of "normalcy" for which they are using many devices to justify its August 5 steps. These devices, he said, include the notion that they are fighting terrorism in IOJK and that these steps have been introduced to usher in a new era of development. After incarcerating the entire political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir they are now trying to create a new political class to help legitimise the steps taken on August 5.
The President said that with the US embroiled in its Presidential impeachment, the UK in the Brexit quagmire and Europe facing a rise of neo-fascist and ethnic nationalism; India is cashing in on these distractions and it is carrying on with its criminal agenda in IOJK. He said that it goes without saying that the new world order conceived in the aftermath of the Second World War is broken because if it were not so, the UNSC would have proactively taken up the Kashmir issue in the same way they are actively taking up other issues.
Indian, he said, is now trying to exclude the Kashmiris and the United Nations from the dispute, despite the fact that Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of the new international order – the United Nations. Previously, he said, India tried to exclude both the Kashmiris and the United Nations by bi-lateralizing the issue and after August 5 it has uni-lateralized the issue claiming it to be their internal matter.
Speaking to his audience the President said that we must not lose hope nor think of ourselves isolated. He said that in his recent visit to Ankara the Turkish leadership expressed their utmost support for the just cause of the Kashmiris. Urging Turkey to play the role of mediator he said that all political parties, civil society organisations and political representatives were on the same page as us when it comes to Kashmir.
Informing the participants of his visit to the OIC headquarters and subsequent meeting with the OIC Secretary General in Jeddah, the President said that he thanked the OIC for its strong resolutions in support of the Kashmiris struggle for their right to self-determination and for appointing a Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir. He also urged the 18 member OIC IPHRC to implement the recommendations of its 2017 report and also to initiate projects in the livelihood sector, health and education in IOJK and refugee camps in AJK under the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Solidarity Fund.
The President warned that if the global community does not intervene and continues to adhere to its silence, we can run the risk of nuclear war between Pakistan and India leading to dire consequences resulting in the instant deaths of millions in South Asia, a nuclear winter, loss of crops and the radioactive fallout that can affect around 2.5 billion people around the globe. “It is our collective responsibility to stem this drift towards war and save humanity from this scourge”, he said.
In his message to the participants and the international community, the President appealed to save Kashmiris from holocaust, and stop appeasing India the same way Hitler and Mussolini were appeased in last century. Such appeasement, he said, led to the devastating Second World War which resulted in the death of millions and we cannot let that happen again.
After August 5, The AJK President said that we have been provided new space as hundreds of mainstream media networks; think tanks and civil society organisations have castigated India and expressed solidarity with Kashmiris. Apart from this, hundreds of parliamentarians across the globe have raised their voice in support of the Kashmiris. He said that this factual narrative has been crafted by the media and we must interface with the international community and not lose this space. “Use this space, or else, you will lose this space”, he said.
The President paid tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris who, since 1947, laid down their lives and embraced martyrdom for the freedom and self-determination of Jammu and Kashmir. “It is the unarmed and innocent people of Kashmir who have sustained this freedom struggle. They are the most courageous people on earth” he said. He said that while speaking to an American audience he informed them that the US Constitution gives its citizens the right to bear arms and defend themselves. He asked whether the Americans look at their founding fathers as terrorists or freedom fighters. Similarly, he said, Kashmiris are peacefully struggling for their freedom and for their right to self-determination.
The President implored whether, in this century, the Kashmiris have been earmarked for extermination and would the UN Security Council just sit and wait as this genocide takes place. He appealed that the world must stop the consolidation of the illegal measures taken by India.
Kashmiris should not be treated as orphans of the global community and also the Islamic Ummah. “Don’t they have any rights? Will they continue to be subjected to torture, murder and rape”, he asked.
“No power on earth can stop the Kashmiris from attaining their freedom, and they will their just and peaceful struggle for freedom from Indian occupation”, he said.