MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan-origin British professional boxer and philanthropist Amir Khan on Tuesday visited the restive Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and met the victims of unrelenting ceasefire violations by Indian troops.
The 33-year-old former unified light-welterweight world champion, having held the World Boxing Association title from 2009 to 2012, and the International Boxing Association title in 2011, flew into Chakothi from Islamabad by an army chopper along with his brother and a friend “to advocate peace, build awareness and draw attention to the plight of the Kashmiris”.
In Chakothi, the army drove him some 500 yards close to the Kaman Bridge, where an army commander briefed him on the situation.
The Kaman Bridge was being used for intra-Kashmir trade and travel through Chakothi-Uri crossing point before the suspension of both activities by India in April this year on flimsy grounds.
Talking to media persons near the LoC, he said: “My message to the world is that it’s unfair that innocent people are being tortured or killed. I am definitely against it and condemn the killings. This should not happen in today’s age. We should live happily and freely.”
He said that unlike India- held Kashmir, everybody in AJK was happy, walking around, listening, enjoying life and relaxing.
“We need peace more than anything and this is the reason of my being here. I want to promote peace.”
Back in Chakothi, Mr Khan met some of the victims of Indian shelling at an army camp and later strolled through the local market, where people passionately hugged and took selfies with him.
He also purchased a potato chips bag from a shopkeeper after asking about his well being and business.
Speaking to the gathering on the occasion, he reiterated that he had come here to build awareness and let the world know what the Kashmiris were going through.
“I am very fortunate that I spoke to you and I had an understanding of what’s happening,” he said.
“My heart goes out to the Kashmiris in India [occupied Kashmir]. It’s very hard to see innocent people being injured, being killed,” he said.
“Without their pressure it’s only going to be worse and worse,” he cautioned.
He said that once back in England, he would tell people about the atrocities of Indian army in occupied Kashmir and situation of people on the Pakistan side.
Mr Khan announced that the Amir Khan Foundation would support the victims of Indian firing.
The visit of Mr Khan was facilitated by Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2019