Upping the ante: FM Qureshi announces campaign to counter ‘India’s deceptions’ about Kashmir

Updated January 23, 2020

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday announced the launch of a new robust information campaign to counter the "deceptive" Indian narrative regarding the ongoing human rights violations in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

"India is acting deceitfully. It is trying to create a false impression in the world suggesting that Pakistan is exaggerating the facts.

"They continue to say: 'The ground realities are completely the opposite. Things have normalised'," said Qureshi, addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

He said that India had also "put up an act or two" whereby they "arranged" a visit for MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) and took 14-15 envoys for a very limited visit to Srinagar where there was no free access provided to the region or an opportunity for interaction with the detained leadership of Kashmir.

The foreign minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has a very clear policy on truthfully shedding light on the plight of Kashmiris. "We will continue to raise the issue politically, morally, diplomatically until such time their right for self-determination is not granted."

"Keeping this in mind, the prime minister has decided to launch a robust information campaign," said Qureshi.

He said that various ministers — including Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan — have been tasked with the responsibility of once again spreading awareness about the issue among the people, especially the youth.

The following agenda was broken down by the foreign minister:

  • January 25 - The launch of the campaign across the print, electronic and social mediums.
  • January 27 - Cultural show in Islamabad at the National Council for Arts,
  • January 28 - Photo exhibitions at major art galleries across the nation as well as in foreign missions depicting the struggle by Kashmiris.
  • January 30 - Seminar in Islamabad chaired by the Special Committee on Kashmir Chairman Syed Fakhar Imam.
  • January 31 - Press conference on Kashmir to be held by Chairman Imam.
  • February 3 - Function at the Islamabad Convention Centre for youth and activists.
  • February 3 - Ration distribution at Azad Jammu and Kashmir refugee camps.
  • February 4 - Kashmir Day at Aiwan-i-Sadr. The entire diplomatic corps will be presented documentaries.
  • February 5 - Various activities including human chain in AJK and 'Kashmir solidarity' rallies in all provincial capitals. PM Imran to address legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad as well as a public rally in Mirpur.

Qureshi reminded the media that 175 days have lapsed since the region has been under a lockdown by Indian authorities. "This message (campaign) is not just for Pakistanis but for those across the Line of Control who continue to remain under a communication lockdown."

"Despite the Indian Supreme Court's decision (declaring the internet shutdown unconstitutional), they have illegally suspended internet services," he said.

He said Pakistan wishes to let Kashmiris know that the people of the country continue to stand by them.

Qureshi said the country's foreign missions will also participate in the drive to spread awareness of the ground realities in occupied Kashmir. "Active members of the Pakistani community as well as Kashmiris will be invited to participate in events," said the foreign minister.

"They will be made aware of the facts surrounding Kashmir and Pakistan's standpoint," he said, adding that local publications will print articles in the regional languages so the general public is also informed of the ongoing human rights violations in the region.

He said it had also been decided that the AJK premier and president write letters to various heads of state, informing them of the situation in Kashmir and requesting them to intervene so the restrictions can be lifted. Similarly, the AJK speaker will reach out to speakers of various countries and parliamentarians so the message reaches them as well.

"We are planning to launch dramas and shows on the subject as well," said Qureshi.

The foreign minister also called on educational institutions to play their part in spreading awareness among the youth.