US senators call on PM Imran, express resolve to remain engaged on Kashmir situation

Updated October 07, 2019

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PM Imran in a meeting with the visiting US senators. — Photo: PTI Official Twitter
PM Imran in a meeting with the visiting US senators. — Photo: PTI Official Twitter

A high-level Congressional delegation of the United States called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday to discuss various issues of mutual interest, including the volatile situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, a statement issued by the premier's office said.

Senators Christopher J. Van Hollen and Margaret C. Hassan are visiting Pakistan to obtain first-hand information and carry out an assessment of the evolving situation following India’s unilateral move to downgrade the autonomy of occupied Kashmir on August 5.

See: 60 days on, occupied Kashmir remains under siege

During today's meeting, Prime Minister Imran appreciated the "continued active interest" of the US Congress, including of the two visiting senators, in the tense situation of occupied Kashmir.

According to the press release, the premier said that the lockdown in occupied Kashmir which has been in place for over two months, refusal of Indian authorities to lift the curfew, and acute shortage of basic necessities including medicine and food in the region were grave violations of fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law.

He said the international community must "take cognisance of the grave consequences of Indian actions for regional peace and stability and should act immediately".

The two senators, who visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday and held meetings with the president and prime minister of AJK, said that they "shared concerns on the current humanitarian situation caused by Indian actions", the statement said.

The American lawmakers also expressed their resolve to continue to remain engaged on the Kashmir issue.

On Saturday, Senator Hollen had told reporters in New Delhi that Washington was “closely monitoring the humanitarian situation” in the disputed Himalayan region.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on human rights in South Asia later this month and the Kashmir issue is expected to figure prominently in the deliberations, he had said.

Pak-US ties, Afghan peace

Prime Minister Imran during the meeting remarked that the relationship between Pakistan and the US was "based on mutual trust and partnership for peace".

Senators Vollen and Hassan affirmed that they would work for a broad-based and long-term relationship with enhanced trade ties between the two countries, the press release said.

While discussing the regional situation, the premier reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate a political solution in Afghanistan.

Noting that both Pakistan and the US had a shared interest in advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan, he underlined the importance of the "earliest resumption" of the US-Taliban peace talks.

Senator Hollen, who visited Miran Shah on Saturday, appreciated the development work carried out in the area. He also acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by Pakistani soldiers and civilians as part of the country's drive to eliminate terrorism.