WASHINGTON: Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan has said that Pakistan and AJK will not allow India to link the Kashmiri movement for freedom with terrorism.
“We will stay alert to ensure that India does not succeed in doing so,” Mr Haider said at a Tuesday night news briefing at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. “There’s no room for terrorism in our peaceful struggle.”
At a recent briefing, a senior US official indicated that while Washington understood Pakistan’s political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir, Islamabad should prevent militants from taking advantage of the situation. “It’s all the more important that Pakistan demonstrate its resolve to halt cross-border terrorism,” the official said.
Mr Haider, who is currently visiting Washington to brief US officials and think-tank experts on the current situation in Kashmir, also highlighted the need for continuing a peaceful struggle for Kashmir in his address to the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities.
“We have a higher moral ground as the Indians are committing unprecedented atrocities in Kashmir,” he said while responding to a question at his news conference. “If we also employ violent tactics, people will say both are bad. We don’t want to do that.
We will stand guard to ensure it does not happen,” he said.
“Nothing is more effective than a peaceful struggle for freedom,” he added. “Either we will perish or free ourselves from the Indian occupation.” Asked how the people of Kashmir would react once the curfew is lifted, Mr. Haider said: “The whole world will see how upset they are. The longer the siege, the angrier they will get.”
He said that the people of Kashmir have been living “in a virtual prison” for almost a month now. “It is the world’s largest prison with eight to 8.5 million prisoners,” he said. “All communication lines have been cut-off. People cannot reach out to their siblings.
Even neighbors cannot call neighbors.” Mr Haider disagreed with the suggestion that Pakistan was talking of war. “Pakistan is saying that if AJK is attacked, Pakistan will use all the resources it has to defend AJK. Pakistan has the right to do so,” he said.
Mr Haider said that people on both sides of Kashmir were with Pakistan and they will fight with Pakistan against any Indian aggression.
Addressing the same gathering, Pakistan’s ambassador Asad Majeed Khan pointed out that US President Donald Trump has always shown a keen interest in the Kashmir issue.
He noted that Mr. Trump offered to help resolve this dispute during the 2016 US presidential election as well and reiterated the offer after his July 22 meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2019