Qureshi urges opposition to join Kashmir protests

Updated September 02, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged the opposition to take part in the activities planned by the government to express solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir. — AP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged the opposition to take part in the activities planned by the government to express solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir. — AP/File

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged the opposition to take part in the activities planned by the government to express solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir.

“The opposition that did not record its protest [against Indian atrocities in the held valley] on last Friday should do so this Friday [during the weekly Kashmir Hour],” said Mr Qureshi while talking to the media on reaching his hometown on Sunday after a daylong visit to Umerkot.

“Opposition is requested to put its share in this national issue,” he said, saying that the Kashmir issue was not up for political point-scoring.

He said: “It is a common perception that more strong voices on Kashmir are being raised only in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. But the public gathering in Umerkot proved that the people of Sindh are also with Prime Minister Imran Khan over the Kashmir issue.”

The foreign minister said: “Doors of negotiations are closed with the Kashmiri leadership being under detention and curfew in Kashmir.

Appreciates OIC statement on valley

“There are three stakeholders of the Kashmir issue — Pakistan, India and Kashmir. Nothing can happen without the [say of] Kashmiri leadership. In the absence of the third stakeholder [Kashmiri leaders] negotiations are not possible. However, negotiations can be held if the atrocities in Kashmir are stopped.”

Mr Qureshi said: “We are a peaceful nation. But India is trying to destabilise the region. India should not have any misunderstanding, as we know how to defend ourselves.” However, he added, war was the last option. If India tried to impose war it would be responded accordingly, as the armed forces were well prepared to give response to any kind of Indian aggression, he explained.

He said all-out efforts were being made to compel India to lift curfew from the held valley at the earliest. He hailed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) statement on occupied Kashmir.

The foreign minister said: “I will go to Geneva on Sept 9, where we will raise the issue of Kashmir and expose Indian atrocities in held Kashmir before the UN Human Rights Council.” He also expressed the hope that the European parliament would deliberate on the Modi government’s illegal actions in the India-held Kashmir and raise voice against human rights violations in the disputed territory.

He said a signature campaign would be launched soon to compel India to lift curfew from the occupied valley. The world would be informed through the signature campaign that the imposition of curfew in Kashmir for the past 28 days was ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’, he remarked.

He said the issue would also be raised before the world on Sept 27 before the UN General Assembly. “The world is now giving full attention to our stand on Kashmir,” he said.

About giving consular access to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, the foreign minister said that Pakistan was legally bound to do so.

Earlier during his interaction with the media at the Karachi airport, Mr Qureshi said the European Parlia­ment during its discussion on Kash­mir on Monday would hopefully raise its voice over the plight of the Kashmiris who had been facing curfew and other restrictions for almost one month at the hand of Indian forces in the occupied Kashmir, adds APP.

He claimed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to face embarrassment in his attempts to prevent the Kashmir issue to be highlighted internationally.

He called for release of thousands of Kashmiris imprisoned by the Indian forces after the revocation of the special status of the held Kashmir on Aug 5.

He criticised Indian brutalities, incessant curfew and other restrictions in the occupied territory. He said the restrictions on press and the people of Kashmir imposed by the Modi government was unprecedented. Children were deprived of education and people could not contact their loved ones due to clampdown, he said, adding that the world was watching the situation in the held valley.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2019