Friends of Kashmir to mount pressure on India to resolve Kashmir Issue

BRUSSELS: The Co-Chair Friends of Kashmir Group Richard Corbett called for utilizing all possible means to mount pressure on India to resolve decade old Kashmir Issue. He proposed the imposition of trade sanctions with India and restrictions on the travel of those involved in committing human rights violations and acts of terrorism in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Members of Friends of Kashmir Group in the European Parliament briefed the participants of the conference on their visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir last month where they had a chance to meet victims of unprovoked attacks from India on the Line of Control and relatives of those who had lost their lives in these attacks.

Addressing on the occasion the AJK President, Sardar Masood Khan while welcoming the European Parliament’s decision of holding a debate on the situation in Kashmir at the Strasbourg plenary session said that the decisions reflects growing concern in Europe over the deteriorating human rights situation in occupied Kashmir, addressing a conference on Kashmir jointly organized by Friends of Kashmir Group in the European Parliament and the Jammu-Kashmir Self-Determination Movement, at the European Parliament here on Friday, he warned about prolonged siege turning into genocide. He said that all the developments in the Indian Occupied territory fit into the definition and criteria of genocide and called for swift action by the international community.

He briefed the audience about the implications of India’s unilateral decision to revoke articles 370 and 35-A. The AJK President called upon the international community to take firm steps to check the abhorrent human rights violations at the hands of Indian forces in the held territory. He stressed that trade relations with India should be linked to the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir.

Sardar Masood Khan thanked the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee for holding an in-camera meeting on Kashmir on the 2nd of this month, and expressed his gratitude to the subcommittee of the Human Rights Committee for holding an open hearing on the report on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir released by the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in February this year. He also thanked the EP for taking proactive initiatives on Kashmir and raising awareness about the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in the territory of Kashmir besieged by India. He informed that food stocks are being exhausted as India continues to show no signs of relaxing the curfew imposed after August 5.

Friends of Kashmir during their visit to AJK were able to meet a wide range of people including journalists, civil society organizations, physicians, teachers, students and lawyers and to collect firsthand information. They called upon the Indian government to provide a similar kind of access in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Those who spoke on the occasion included members of the European Parliament, Anthea McIntyre, Shaffaq Mohammed, John Howarth, Irena Von Weise, Theresa Griffin and Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Self-Determination Movement. A message from MEP Baroness Nosheena Mobarik was also read on the occasion.

Earlier, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir met with several Members of European Parliament and briefed them on the current situation in Kashmir. He held separate meetings with British MEPs Nosheena Mobarik, Shaffaq Mohammed, John Howarth and also met with German MEP Michael Gahler, Swedish MEP Jyette Guteland and Spanish MEP Javier Nart. During the meetings, President Masood informed the members of the European Parliament about the on-going human rights violations in Kashmir and the impact of India’s aggression on the peace and security of the region. He further informed the MEPs about the imminent risk of the genocide of people of Kashmir calling for action to avert this.

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