MUZAFFARABAD: Former prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and senior PML-N leader Raja Farooq Haider on Tuesday emphasised the need to convene the Legislative Assembly session to thrash out a strategy against India’s unjustified ban on 14 most popular political parties in held Kashmir, forced declarations by the children of pro-freedom leaders, extrajudicial killings of youth and suppression of other basic human rights.

He presented his recommendations to the Legislative Assembly speaker and senior PPP leader Chaudhry Latif Akbar in the latter’s office chamber here. Mr Haider regretted that while the Legislative Assembly was constitutionally required to hold sittings on 60 working days during a parliamentary year, the government had barely convened sessions on 10 working days over the past 11 months.

Later talking to Dawn, he said the entire set-up and institutions of the liberated territory had been established to fulfil the responsibilities for emancipation of the Kashmiri people inhabiting the India occupied part of the disputed Himalayan region.

“Today, when, as part of a systematic strategy, India has been fragmenting occupied Jammu and Kashmir, giving citizenship to non-state subjects there, allowing purchase of land to Indian citizens and states among other sheer violations of international laws and the UN resolutions, the reaction that should come from our side of the divide is badly missing,” he said.

“We must raise a forceful voice from our august elected forum and that’s why I have requested Mr Akbar (speaker) to meet the procedural and legal requirements for summoning of the Legislative Assembly session so as to hold a painstaking discussion on the situation on the other side and map out a unanimous plan of action on behalf of all the political parties of Azad Kashmir.”

Mr Haider pointed out that Pakistan had been suffering from internal and external problems for the last several years, and under such circumstances it was the responsibility of the Kashmiri leadership to raise their voice for their oppressed brethren braving tyranny for more than seven decades in general and after August 5, 2019, in particular.

“At least we can give a message to our brothers and sisters in occupied Jammu and Kashmir that regardless of our internal political and ideological differences, we the elected representatives and our parties stand by them with full conviction,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2024

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