AJK president describes MEPs letter a welcome development

Brussels, June 03 (KMS): Fifteen active members of the European Parliament from all major political parties have written a letter to the European Union’s high officials and called for raising with the Indian Government the issue of the worst human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

The MEPs in their letter written to the President of European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Unions’ High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the Security Policy, Josep Borrell, stressed to ensure protection of all fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people including their right to self-determination.

Those MEPs who wrote to the European high officials are Fabio Massimo, Bettina Vollath, Helmut Scholz, Maria Arena, Daniela Rondinelli, Javier Nart, Carles Puigdemont, Antoni Comin I Oliveres, Clara Ponsati Oblos, Alvina Alametsä, Ernest Urtasun, Klaus Buchner, Mick Wallace, Rosa D’amato and Manuel Bompard.

The MEPs while describing the unresolved Kashmir dispute as the source of continued tension have stated that the people of occupied Kashmir have been subject to intolerable suppression of their freedom and fundamental rights over the past seven decades, as it is documented by many human rights organisations and the 2018 and 2019 reports of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The MEPs said that Narendra Modi government revoked Kashmir’s special on August 5, 2019. In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet and arrested political leaders, imposing a military lockdown, thereby threatening the negotiation process, they added.

They urged the European Commission to look at this region with great concern and avoid at all cost an escalation of the conflict by strengthening their dialogue with India, Pakistan and the representatives of Kashmir in the resolution of the conflict. The Commission must ask for putting a halt to any form of violence, abuse and discrimination against the Kashmiris and the overall Indian Muslim population and to guarantee the full respect of their human rights, they emphasized. They further stressed that a renewed attempt at peace talks between Pakistan and India was needed more than ever in order to give the people of occupied Kashmir a hope and a chance at self-determination.

In light of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ appeal for Global Ceasefire to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, they believed that the European Union should do more over Kashmir dispute, the MEPs wrote. “As European Parliamentarians, we will do our share, increasing our engagement in parliamentary diplomacy with colleagues in India and Pakistan to foster a climate of detente and dialogue, and being vocal in calling for a real change in Kashmir,” they added.

They said the European Union action on the international scene was guided by principles of democracy, rule of law, universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law. But still, this was not the case in occupied Kashmir, probably the world’s longest running conflict, which was internationally recognized as one of the world’s most militarized zones in the world and a tremendously dangerous flash point, they added.

Meanwhile, the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, welcoming this move has described it an important development on the international level and observed that in spite of the most difficult circumstances, the voices in support of the Kashmiri people are constantly rising around the globe.

“The concern of the fifteen Members of European Parliament (MEPs) over the serious human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is appreciable and we welcome their letter to European Commission’s President and Vice President,” he commented. He said that the Kashmiri people had achieved success on two of the three important fronts recently and observed that these two fronts were parliamentary diplomacy and media.

Sardar Masood Khan said that the international community has now started constantly speaking in support of the rights of the Kashmiri people including their right to self-determination, and they are also condemning India’s actions in occupied Kashmir, and the discriminatory treatment being extended to minorities in India. However, he regretted that some influential countries still have based their relations with India on their economic and political interest. He said that the day is not far off when media and the parliamentary forces will be compelled to alter their policy on Kashmir.

The AJK President appreciated the Pakistani and Kashmiri leadership and diaspora communities for projecting the Kashmir cause in the UK, Europe and North America in its real perspective.

Rejecting the assertion of some global leaders that India and Pakistan should sit around the table to resolve Kashmir conflict, Sardar Masood Khan said Kashmir is not the bilateral issue between the two countries rather it is a matter of the future of 15 million Kashmiri people as recognized by the United Nations Security Council through its various resolutions.

“Jammu and Kashmir is not a bilateral, but a tripartite, issue, a principle recognised by UN Security Council. Kashmiris are the key party to the dispute and they have to determine their political future through a democratic method of a referendum,” the AJK President asserted.

He said the UN Security Council has an obligation to implement its own resolutions to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir adding that the UN Charter and obligations of members of UNSC override any bilateral accord between the UN member states.

Sardar Masood Khan also strongly condemned the killing of 13 Kashmiri youth by Indian troops in Poonch and Rajouri districts of occupied Kashmir and said the Indian brutal and repressive tactics cannot deter the Kashmiri people from carrying on their freedom struggle.

“In Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, it is open season for the killing of Kashmiri youth by occupation forces. No check, no accountability, no condemnation by the UN or powerful governments – an outrage in our times,” he went on to say.

The AJK President condoled with the bereaved families of the martyred youth and assured them that the precious blood of these martyrs will not go waste, and the Kashmiris will win freedom from the tyrant India.


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