MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider has strongly condemned attacks on — and intimidation of — Kashmiri leadership in India-held Kashmir as part of New Delhi’s nefarious designs to damage the popular freedom movement and pro-freedom organisations in the occupied territory.
Talking to reporters here on Tuesday, he said banning of the Jamaat-i-Islami and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was yet another reflection of the dismal human rights situation in held Kashmir, where freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and political activities were suppressed beyond description.
His media talk coincided with complete shutdown in the held valley against the ill-treatment meted out to detained JKLF chief Yasin Malik and other political prisoners.
“When you divest people of all options, they are bound to resort to unconventional methods,” the AJK premier said, alluding to attacks by Kashmiris on the occupation machinery in held Kashmir.
He, however, made it clear that since Kashmir was a war zone where the Indian army was in direct conflict with the civilian population, the latter had every right to use arms against the former.
Mr Haider said India was using its National Investigation Agency as a tool to bow down Kashmiri people after the failure of all of its machinations to quell the popular freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir.
Describing Mr Malik as the face of the freedom struggle, he said India should allow his spouse and daughter to see him because this was their basic human right.
The AJK prime minister also asked the government of Pakistan to exploit diplomatic channels to help Mr Malik’s family visit him at the earliest.
“Pakistan is an important non-permanent member of the UN Security Council with regard to Kashmir. It’s its responsibility to play a proactive role with regard to Kashmir,” he said.
In this regard, he suggested that the Pakistani missions in P-5 and other nations should reach out to their foreign ministers and explain to them the situation in occupied Kashmir with reference to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the region.
“Why are they shy of doing this? The report has been prepared by the UN and not by the Pakistani government or the Kashmiris. Pakistan should fully exploit this opportunity.”
Mr Haider said he was more than ready to welcome a UN-sponsored ‘fact-finding mission’ in AJK in accordance with the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner.
In reply to question, Mr Haider said he had asked Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to separately speak to all parliamentary parties in AJK before a joint session with them.
He said he would also invite the foreign minister and recently appointed chairman of the parliamentary Kashmir committee to visit AJK at their earliest convenience.
“Whenever Pakistani president, prime minister and other leaders visit Azad Kashmir, it sends a positive message across the Line of Control where Indian leaders are the unwelcome visitors,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019