Sustained efforts in highlighting Kashmir needed: Masood Khan
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that India continues to beat war drums and is projecting its war hysteria by threating to disintegrate Pakistan and “retake” Azad Kashmir. He said that India’s extremist BJP government is jeopardizing the peace and security of the region.
The President made these remarks while addressing an event on Kashmir organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations.
Speaking to the participants of the event, the President said that the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir is dire and the siege imposed on the people of the territory has now entered its 96th day.
He said that India had beefed up its existing troops bringing the total number of troops in IOK to a staggering 900,000. India on August 5, this year, has laid ground to invade and reoccupy the territory.
“India under a false narrative is trying to convince the world that the situation in the occupied territory is normal but the reality is that the situation is far from normal”, he said.
The international media, he said, has condemned the human rights violations taking place in IOK and has instead presented a factual narrative of the situation. The taboo of not taking India to task has been broken so effectively and this momentum has to be sustained, he asserted. ”We must not lose this opportunity provided to us”, he urged.
The AJK President said that India has converted the whole of IOK into a prison. Young boys are picked up in the middle of the night and transferred to jails all over India where even minors have not been spared and they are being subjected to unimaginable torture. Women are objectified and they are being treated as spoils of war, he said. The whole population of IOK, especially the youth are seething with anger and the resentment is palpable.
He went on to say that Article 370 was a no less than a Fustian pact between Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah. The main concern is the rescindment of Article 35-A which predates independence and had guaranteed Kashmiris their exclusive right to employment, education, and acquisition of land. This move, he said was taken to lay the foundation for relocating Hindu population in IOK and occupying the land of the Kashmiris in a model replicating the West Bank settlement.
“India has bifurcated IOK and altered its internal boundaries. This is a violation of the international principle of uti possidetis juris”, he said.
Elaborating the extremist policy of Hindutva, the President said that according to its proponents, in Akhand Baharat, only Hindus have the right to live and all other religious minorities have to be eliminated in order to “purify” this land. Muslims in India are being labeled as traitors or potential terrorists, he added. Kashmiris, Muslims in India and the people Pakistan are the main targets of the Hindutva zealots.
India is threatening to “retake” AJK and erase Pakistan from the map of the world, he said. The President added that India has even gone as far as to openly threaten Pakistan with the use of nuclear weapons. Citing scientific estimates, he said that even a limited exchange of nuclear weapons would lead to the death of millions and a subsequent nuclear winter resulting in a global recession and mass migration of the affected population.
He said that despite the atrocities taking place in IOK, the silence of the UNSC and major world capitals is regrettable, adding that this translates to acquiescence on their part.
The President said that we must continue to approach multilateral forums and the international community. India, he said, has always deluded us and the world community into thinking that bilateral dialogue was an option, instead, it was a measure for maintaining the status quo. He spelt out that the Jammu and Kashmir issue is not a bilateral matter but in principle, it is a quadrilateral issue which includes Pakistan, India, the UN and the people of Kashmir.
President Masood urged his audience to invest in mastering the art of effective communication and reaching out to opinion-makers and relevant organizations through traditional and modern means of media to help create critical awareness on Kashmir. With over 10 million diaspora community living all over the world, he said, we must leverage their strengths and influence in helping amass support for the Kashmiri people. Furthermore, he stressed on exploring the use of lawfare to help highlight the grave violations of humanitarian and international law taking place in IOK.
The event was also addressed by Mr. Ikram Sehgal, Chairman Karachi Council on Foreign Relations, Commodore Sadeed Malik, CEO Karachi Council on Foreign Relations and Ambassador Mustafa Kamal, Vice Chairman Karachi Council on Foreign Relations.