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Kashmir’s peace: FM Qureshi urges India to “Sit and Talk”


News Analysis |

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed the need of acknowledging Kashmiri right to self-determination at the international conference on Kashmir held in London and appealed the world to put an end to the human rights violations against unarmed Kashmiris.

“Humanity is bleeding in Kashmir. The valley is burning, and innocent Kashmiris are afraid as reports of brutal killings and rapes continue to rise”, he said while addressing the gathering. Foreign Minister Qureshi urged the Indian authorities to revoke the “black laws” they practice in Kashmir and put an end to the use of pellet guns against innocent protestors.

Mashal Malik, the wife of JFKL Chairman Yasin Malik, released a video message to thank the Pakistani people for their unconditional support for the oppressed people of the valley.

“India is attempting to alter the demography of Kashmir, all the while targeting the people living on the other side of the LOC to divert attention from the human rights violations in Indian-held side of the valley”, he asserted. He appealed to the world conscience to address the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities against and urged India to begin talks.

“Why does India, a democratic nation, impose censorship?” he questioned while accusing India of carrying out genocide against the entire generation of Kashmiris, holding innocent civilians hostage in an occupied region that the Indian authorities have no claim to.

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He urged the international community to initiate a negotiation process towards peace in Kashmir by implementing the UN resolutions. “All parties need to sit down and negotiate a peaceful solution”, he stressed.

Opposition Shows a United Front on Kashmir

The conference was also attended by PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, who regarded the gathering as a powerful gesture of support for the Kashmiri struggle.

She commented that Kashmir has witnessed three generations under a reign of “unchecked terror”. She regretted that the world conscience chose to remain silent while the atrocities continue to mount in the occupied valley. Senator Sherry Rehman further added that Benazir Bhutto had commemorated 5th February as a tribute to the martyrs of Kashmir, and extended diplomatic support to the Kashmiris.

President Alvi stressed that all Pakistani political parties are “on the same page” on the Kashmir conflict, and Pakistan will always stand by its brothers in Indian-held Kashmir.

“There is no military solution to the conflict, India and Pakistan must resolve the Kashmir issue by initiating dialogue”, stressed Sherry Rehman.

PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed also addressed the conference, and stressed that Pakistan will speak with “one voice on the Kashmir conflict”, and added that there is “no division”.

“Indian-held Kashmir has the highest ratio of soldiers, one Indian soldier for 5 Kashmiris. India has made rape an instrument of war, and innocent children are being slaughtered”, he added. He paid tribute to Burhan Wani and other slain Kashmiri youth who resisted the Indian reign of terror.

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“From Korea to Kartarpur to Kabul and Kashmir, Asia is swayed with winds of change, and there is a strong need for peace”, said Senator Mushahid Hussain. “Kashmir was shut down before Modi’s visit to the valley, and his arrival was not welcomed”, he added.

President Arif Alvi also addressed a session to pay tribute to the Kashmir solidarity day at the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad. He adjured India to put an end to the ongoing brutalities in the held valley, and allow international authorities to investigate the atrocities and violations that have occurred in Kashmir.

President Alvi stressed that all Pakistani political parties are “on the same page” on the Kashmir conflict, and Pakistan will always stand by its brothers in Indian-held Kashmir. He condemned the brutalities committed by the Indian occupation forces and stressed that India cannot undermine the Kashmiri struggle for freedom. He also stressed the need for a peace-dialogue to resolve this conflict.

Waghorn commented that many Kashmiris do not “want freedom on Pakistani terms”, and Foreign Minister Qureshi calmly replied, “Fine, let’s have a plebiscite. Let the people decided.”

DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor also tweeted a message to express his sentiments on Kashmir Solidarity Day. It read, “Kashmir remains a long pending unresolved issue on UN agenda since 1948. Decades of atrocities by Indian Occupation Forces have failed to suppress ever strengthening legitimate freedom struggle. Determined Kashmiris shall succeed IA”.

Kashmir’s Leadership Responds with Gratitude

Media reports from Indian-held Kashmir revealed that JFKL Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, amongst other Hurriyat leaders have thanked the efforts of the Pakistani government in extending political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for freedom.

Mashal Malik, the wife of JFKL Chairman Yasin Malik, released a video message to thank the Pakistani people for their unconditional support for the oppressed people of the valley.

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“It is uplifting for our morale and gives us the courage to fight against the tyranny and brutality of the Indian occupation forces. The democratic voice of Pakistani is spreading the powerful message to the world that Kashmir’s struggle is a grassroots movement”, she said.

“We are thankful to receive messages of support that are flowing in from the people of Pakistan”, she said.

Chairman of a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also tweeted a message to express his gratitude for Pakistan’s “vigorous and unwavering support” to the people of Indian-oppressed Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Qureshi Calls India for Talks on Kashmir

During an interview with Dominic Waghorn on Sky News, Foreign Minister Qureshi addressed India to initiate a process of peace talks. While replying to Waghorn’s questions on the lack of friendliness between the two neighbors, “I am ready”, said Foreign Minister Qureshi “Are they?”

Waghorn noted that while Pakistan yearns to build relations with India the two continue to avoid sitting down, to which Qureshi replied, “Through your programme, I am telling the Indians. Let’s sit and talk”. 

The host inquired about Imran Khan’s stance on the Kashmir conflict and his intentions to “liberate Kashmir”.

“The prime minister is saying wake up”, said Foreign Minister Qureshi. He further added that not only Prime Minister Khan, the United Nations, and the All-Parties Parliamentary Group constituted by the House of Commons are urging India to take action. Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed that even the “voices in India” are realizing that Kashmiris are being alienated and that Kashmir has become a “lost cause” for India.

Waghorn commented that many Kashmiris do not “want freedom on Pakistani terms”, and Foreign Minister Qureshi calmly replied, “Fine, let’s have a plebiscite. Let the people decided.”

Read more: The new face of ‘Kashmiri Intifada’

He added that this would be a commitment by India and a part of the UN agenda. “Give the people the right to self-determination”, he added that Pakistan will accept whatever decision Kashmir will make.

Waghorn noted that while Pakistan yearns to build relations with India the two continue to avoid sitting down, to which Qureshi replied, “Through your programme, I am telling the Indians. Let’s sit and talk”.

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