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Inclusion of Kashmiris in India-Pakistan dialogue is a must: President AJK

President of Pakistan-administered Kashmir sees UN-sponsored plebiscite as most preferred route to resolving Kashmir dispute

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The president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Sunday called for the inclusion of Kashmiris in any future dialogue between India and Pakistan on the lingering Kashmir dispute.

“It is not possible for India and Pakistan to take any decision regarding Kashmir without the participation of Kashmiris or any decision to be taken in Washington by keeping Kashmiris uninformed, or even holding a debate on Kashmir in the UN Security Council without making the representatives of Kashmiris a part of that,” Masood Khan said.

He was referring to reported backdoor efforts aimed at bringing back the two nuclear-armed neighbors to the table in an attempt to resolve the decades-long dispute.

Read more: Normalizing ties with India means betraying Kashmiris: PM Khan

Islamabad, however, denies reports about backdoor diplomacy. Instead, it says, talks with New Delhi are possible only after India reverses its move in August 2019 to scrap the Himalayan valley’s long-standing semi-autonomous status.

In an interview with local broadcaster Sach TV, Khan said: “Pakistan recognizes what we are saying or demanding with regard to the involvement of Kashmiris in the dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue.”

Saying that a UN-sponsored plebiscite would be the “most preferred” route to resolving the Kashmir conflict, he argued that Kashmiris were central to the resolution of the long-smoldering dispute as they are the “primary party and their involvement is essential for finding a lasting solution to the conflict.”

“The systematic bloodshed and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir are tantamount to committing war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he charged, holding the Indian government and the Indian army responsible for these “crimes.”

“The 900,000 Indian troops are killing unarmed civilian, especially the youth in fake encounters every day, grabbing Kashmiris’ land and settling Hindu citizens transferred from India. In the last year, more than 3.2 million non-Kashmiris have been settled in the occupied territory and thus India has launched not only a military but also a population invasion to change the demography of the region,” added Khan, who served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN from 2012 to 2015.

In 2018-2019, he observed, the UN Commission on Human Rights in its two reports reiterated that the right of Kashmiris to self-determination is inevitable and India is bound to respect this right of Kashmiris.

Read more: Bloodshed in Kashmir reminds of Britain’s bloody colonial past: Chinese FM spokesman

Khan thanked Pakistan for “boldly” declaring not to hold talks or establish trade relations with India until it restores the disputed status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and reverses the Aug. 2019 action.

Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Read more: How did Modi’s Kashmir policy backfire?

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk