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MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said India would have to accept international laws about the longstanding conflict of Kashmir and that the Kashmiris, who are rendering great sacrifices, would finally achieve victory despite facing heavy odds.

Mr Abbasi was speaking at the special joint sitting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council, held in the wake of the recent massacre of 17 Kashmiris in Shopian and Anantnag districts of India-held Kashmir — the highest death toll for a single day in almost two decades.

“In yet another manifestation of state-sponsored terrorism, the Indian government has mercilessly martyred 17 innocent and unarmed persons in Shopian and Anantnag and the savagery and callousness of the Indian government did not end there; it also shot at the protesters and mourners, leaving more than 200 persons wounded,” said the prime minister while naming all the 17 deceased.

He maintained that the atrocities in India-held Kashmir were a failed attempt to suppress the voice of innocent Kashmiris, which had exposed India’s sadistic policies in the disputed region.

“Even at this moment, daily life stands crippled in occupied Kashmir amid curfew and internet shutdowns aimed at cutting off communication links of Kashmiris with the outside world,” he said, and pointed out that curfew had led to an alarming situation following suspension of supplies of life-saving medicines and food, including baby milk.

The world, he said, was fully aware that Indian troops had invaded and occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 in sheer violation of international laws.

At that time the issue was taken to the United Nations which declared in its resolutions that the fate of the Himalayan region would be decided in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiri people. However, he lamented, India backed out of its commitments to the international community.

“Seven decades down the line, not only have the valiant people of occupied Kashmir not accepted this occupation, they are fighting against it fearlessly,” the premier said, and added that Pakistan had stood by its Kashmiri brethren in the past and would continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to them until they achieved their goal.

“The Kashmir issue is an internationally-recognised reality and the UN resolutions form the basis of Pakistan’s stand on this issue. We maintain that the Kashmir issue will be settled under a UN-sponsored plebiscite and India will have to resign to the international laws and final victory will belong to the Kashmiris.”

Referring to the two-day strike call given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), he said that by offering physical and material sacrifices Kashmiris had proved that no amount of atrocities and custodial killings could stop their struggle.

“I [have] strongly condemned Indian atrocities and demanded that India should immediately allow UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and OIC [Independent Permanent] Human Rights Commission to visit the held territory,” said Mr Abbasi.

He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Asif Khawaja, Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir, Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, Minister for Human Rights Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar and Parliamentary Kashmir Committee chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2018

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