Bradford (UK): Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that the Kashmir issue is not intractable as Indian propagandists project. He underlined that it was neither a religious nor a communal issue but a political issue awaiting a democratic verdict by the people of Kashmir about their political future.
“The issue is about self-determination, first and foremost”, he said adding that it should not be deliberately muddled by a “fog of complexity”.
President Masood Khan made these observations at a seminar on “Kashmir: Way Forward” held at the ongoing Bradford Literary Festival.
The Azad Kashmir President, currently visiting the UK, said that there were three contemporary realities about Kashmir. One, every day Indian occupation forces were killing and torturing Kashmiris in their own land with impunity. Two, Kashmiris have vowed to get their freedom. Three, the international community’s eerie silence on gross violations of human rights has given India immunity from accountability and literally a license to kill Kashmiris.
“Major powers must cease to see Kashmir through the prism of realpolitik profits in India. The issue is about human lives and human rights standards”, the President said.
“Kashmir is a disputed territory, It is not part of the Indian state; it never was “integral” part of India. Its future has yet to be decided. India cannot obfuscate to create justification for its crimes against humanity.” The President said.
India, the President, had unleashed three wars against Pakistan: war against unarmed people of the Occupied Kashmir; killing of civilians in Azad Kashmir across the Line of Control; and a proxy war against Pakistan.
“These wars unleashed by extremists and warmongers in India must cease; otherwise there would be disastrous consequences for the region”, the President said
Sardar Masood Khan said that there were three parties to the Kashmir – Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Kashmiris were the key party because they have to exercise their right to self-determination, to decide about their political future.
The AJK President rejected the arguments to equate Azad Kashmir with the Indian Occupied Kashmir. In Azad Kashmir, he said, there was respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Azad Kashmir had established an interim constitution and state apparatus until the exercise of the free will by the Kashmiris to determine their political future in accordance with the UN resolutions.
On behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, President Masood Khan thanked Pakistan for its consistent and principled stand on Kashmir and its staunch support to the cause of Kashmir despite enormous pressures on it for the past 70 years. Pakistan, he said, will never abandon Kashmir.
The President said that Kashmiris were peaceful people who want to become a symbol of peace, amity and harmony , not a cause of constant strife and conflict. “Kashmir should not be a nuclear flashpoint but a crucible for connectivity for the people of South Asia”, he said.