ISLAMABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan has urged members of the United Kingdom’s parliament to address the Kashmir dispute in the house, especially during the question hour with Prime Minister Theresa May, saying it was important for the sessions to include a debate on the conflict in Kashmir.
Mr Masood was talking to a delegation of British parliamentarians who had called on him at the Jammu and Kashmir House. The delegation included Member of the House of Lords David Alton, members of the House of Commons — Democratic Unionist Jim Shannon and Labour Party’s Marie Rimmer — Senior Parliamentary Officer Amro Hussain, Professor Javed Rehman of the Brunel University in London and Councillor Morris Johns.
British parliamentary delegation calls on AJK president
Mr Masood said the international community must play a bigger role in resolving the conflict peacefully, which included implementation of UN resolutions taking into consideration the will of the people of Kashmir.
He was of the opinion that the United Kingdom, being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, could use its weight to influence India to stop its ‘reign of terror’ and put an end to the gross human rights violations in held Kashmir. That is the only way, he argued, peace can be restored to the region.
Mr Masood said that India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir meant that the people had lost their right to self-determination. The Indian army, he said, had unrestricted powers — under the Armed Forces Special Power Act and the Public Safety Act — which had enabled it to kill, mutilate and incarcerate the people of held Kashmir indiscriminately. He said the Kashmiris today were deprived of their rights to education, health, justice and free movement and speech.
Mr Masood said the global community must stand by the Kashmiris who were at the complete mercy of state terrorism. He said that as recommended in the recently published UN Human Rights Commission report on Kashmir, India should respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris, repeal the inhumane laws enforced in the held valley and allow the proposed Commission of Inquiry under the Human Rights Council to visit held Kashmir.
Indian troops continue to violate the 2003 ceasefire agreement and target civilians across the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir, which has resulted in hundreds of casualties and destruction of property.
President Masood informed the delegation that at present more than 40,000 refugees were living in different camps across Azad Kashmir, who had been forced to relocate due to Indian aggression.
The British delegation agreed with the president that the right to self-determination was an inalienable right and human rights violations in held Kashmir must cease immediately.
Published in Dawn, October 4th , 2018