Call for body to probe atrocities in held Kashmir

Islamabad: Expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir, the country’s political leadership, except that of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and nationalist parties, has called for establishment of an autonomous commission in the light of the reports and recommendations of international bodies to investigate atrocities being committed by security forces in India-held Kashmir.

“An independent and autonomous commission be formed in the light of the report of the UN human rights committee and recommendations of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and All-Party Kashmir Group of the UK Parliament to probe unlawful actions of the Indian security forces and to allow a visit of representatives of international human rights bodies to IoK to expose the real face of India before the world community,” says a joint declaration issued at the end of the Kashmir Conference organised by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) here on Saturday.

The declaration expresses concern over the government’s “indifferent attitude” to the Kashmir issue and calls for early resolution of the Kashmir dispute to ensure implementation of projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and to ensure peace in the South Asian region.

The political leaders also expressed their “concerns and regret” over the “criminal silence” of the world powers on the atrocities being committed by the Indian forces in held Kashmir and not paying any heed to the Kashmir dispute which had now become a “human and political tragedy”.

The event, held in connection with the coming Kashmir Solidarity Day on Feb 5, was attended by the leaders of almost all major parties, including former president Asif Ali Zardari and representatives of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and other smaller religious parties and groups. The conference was also attended by Azad Jammu Kashmir President Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.

When the absence of the ruling PTI was understandable as the event was organised by its arch-rival JUI-F, the participants were seen discussing the absence of other prominent parties like the National Party, Balochistan National Party and Awami National Party. The spokesman for the ruling party in the province — Balochistan Awami Party — Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar, however, attended the event.

Another important aspect of the event was the participation of representatives of several religious and radical organisations like Jamaat ud Dawa, Tehreek Ghalba-i-Islam and Ansarul Ummah who shared the stage with the main leadership of the parties like the PPP and the PML-N.

When contacted to seek his comments on the development, a senior PPP leader said Mr Zardari had attended the conference on a special invitation of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, considering that no one should do politics on the Kashmir issue and to send a message to the world that the whole nation was united on this issue.

Earlier, speaking at the conference, Mr Zardari called for strengthening unity among all political parties of the country on the Kashmir issue which, according to him, was in the “DNA” of his party and the people of Pakistan. He said despite having differences with one another, all parties were united on the Kashmir issue.

He highlighted the PPP’s contribution to the efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute and said when he was in President House he also made attempts to resolve the dispute.

Mr Zardari was of the view that the Kashmir cause had been damaged by the military dictators, He said when his wife Benazir Bhutto had raised the matter with the then Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the latter stated that so far no one from Pakistan had talked to him on the issue. He said it was during the time of dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf that India erected barbed wire on the border with Kashmir.

He said the PPP had always supported the Kashmiris’ struggle for their birth right to self-determination in line with the UN Security Council resolutions.

The JUI-F chief said the country’s political parties and other institutions had not played their due role in highlighting the Kashmir issue.

He regretted that after the 9/11 incident, the freedom movements were seen as terrorist agitations and today the struggle of the Kashmiris and the Palestinians were being considered terrorism.

The AJK president said the Kashmir issue had become a trilateral issue which involved Pakistan, Kashmir and India. He said Pakistan was constantly under threat due to non-resolution of the Kashmir issue. He termed the situation in held Kashmir the world’s “biggest human tragedy” and demanded release of the Kashmiri leaders.

The AJK prime minister said Pakistan should once again raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council. He urged the government to effectively raise the Kashmir issue at the international level.

Opposition Leader in the Senate and PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq proposed next such conference should be convened in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir. He urged the international media to play its role in highlighting human rights abuses in held Kashmir.

JI secretary general Liaquat Baloch questioned the government’s decision to open Kartarpur corridor without taking any step to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Abdul Rashid Turrabi, another JI leader, called for annulment of the Simla Accord signed between India and Pakistan which had declared the Kashmir dispute a bilateral matter. He also called for appointing a deputy foreign minister in the country to raise the Kashmir issue at the international level.

Courtesy: Dawn

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