MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has described former Norwegian premier Kjell Magne Bondevik as a peacemaker and assured him of full support for his initiative to get the longstanding Kashmir dispute resolved peacefully.
“We welcome the initiatives made in good faith,” said the AJK president during a meeting with Mr Bondevik here on Sunday.
“Norway has a long history of constructive and impartial diplomacy and we hope that Oslo will also play a role in peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute,” added Mr Khan.
He said that Kashmiris strongly believed that there was no military solution to the Kashmir issue and that India would have to sit across the table with Pakistan and genuine representatives of the Kashmiri people to work out modalities for a peaceful settlement of the festering dispute.
Mr Bondevik, who undertook a visit to India-held Kashmir prior to visiting Azad Jammu and Kashmir on the invitation of Mr Khan, shared with the latter details of his interaction with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Srinagar.
Mr Khan told the visiting leader that the grim situation in held Kashmir required diplomatic and political initiative by the international community to end the suffering of the Kashmiri people.
“Diplomacy can help us bridge the divide and come to an understanding on a just and lasting resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” said Mr Khan, adding that the United Nations Security Council resolution on Kashmir adopted under Chapter 6 of the United Nations Charter outlined the modalities for a peaceful settlement of the dispute.
The president said the unresolved Kashmir dispute endangered regional and international peace and security and, therefore, recourse to negotiation, mediation and observation was important to break the current deadlock.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bondevik expressed serious concern over the growing incidents of human rights violations in India-held Kashmir, while referring to the report of UN Human Rights Commission on the region.
He said that peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue through dialogue and other means was imperative for lasting peace and stability in the region.
He expressed his wish that all parties to the dispute, including representatives of the Kashmiri people, sit together to find an amicable solution to the seven-decade-old conflict.
Mr Bondevik also held a meeting with the representatives of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir chapter of All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018