Friday September 29, 2023

India can’t change Kashmir status via G20 meeting: Bilawal

AJK PM says Delhi can’t hoodwink the world by displaying its flags on lamp posts in Srinagar

May 23, 2023
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on May 22, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on May 22, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews

MUZAFFARABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Monday said holding a meeting of the tourism working group of G20 countries in Srinagar was a sheer violation of the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir.

Addressing the special session of the AJK Legislative Assembly, he said the people of Kashmir had been denied their basic right to self-determination for decades and now such a meeting in the world’s most militarised zone could not prove that normality had returned in the region.

He said history could not be changed through such cheap acts as the Jammu and Kashmir was forcibly occupied by India and was recognised by the world as a disputed territory. The people of Kashmir had been denied their inalienable right for decades, their lands had been grabbed, properties being confiscated and they were subjugated to torture and extrajudicial killings.

He said the Jammu and Kashmir issue was the unfinished agenda of the Partition of Subcontinent when the rights and aspirations of the people of Kashmir were trampled by machinations and intrigue. “The territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), where we congregate today was liberated at the cost of enormous sweat and blood,” he recalled.

“India will have to fulfil its obligations to the Security Council by granting the Kashmiri people their lawful right to self-determination,” he asserted.

Bilawal pointed out that the occupied Kashmir had become an open prison. “A prison with Kashmiri Muslims are forced to breed fear - 1000s of them killed, disappeared or blinded, their lands grabbed, their properties confiscated or bulldozed, that culture disintegrated. “Their media muzzled, the occupying Indian forces run rampant with arbitrary detentions, torture, extrajudicial killings of Kashmiri Muslims. This mayhem continues under draconian laws, allowing complete impunity for the Indian occupying forces,” he added.

The foreign minister recalled that India’s unilateral and illegal actions of August 5, 2019 opened a new chapter of oppression. India’s ultimate aim was to convert Kashmiris into a dispossessed and disempowered minority in their own land, the fresh delimitations, domicile certificates to millions of outsiders, and addition of millions of temporary residents to the voters list were part of a well thought-out strategy to change Kashmir’s demography and its political landscape. He made it clear that Pakistan outright rejected the unilateral and illegal steps. “How can the world be a silent bystander when a large country usurps the rights guaranteed by the Security Council, and instead use brute force to suppress those rights? Isn’t it the same world that is upholding these principles elsewhere, while remaining completely oblivious to them in Kashmir?” he asked.

The minister said India was misusing its position as the chair of the G20 - a forum created to address global financial and economic issues with utter disregard for the Security Council resolution, the UN Charter and its principle.

But India’s facade of normalcy in Kashmir was met by the harsh reality that occupied Kashmir remained one of the most militarised zones on the planet, he added. Bilawal asserted that Pakistan was incomplete without Kashmir as their people “have a unique affinity based on geographical proximity, shared history, commonality of religion, they share joy and sorrows. We share the same hopes, the same dreams, our hearts beat is one.” He said during his recent visit to India to attend the SCO meeting, he repeatedly stated that India would have to revert to the situation of August 4, 2019 to work out a way forward.

Addressing the session, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq said that India could not change the course of history by holding a G20 meeting in Srinagar. He said India could not hoodwink the world by displaying tricolour (Indian flags) on lampposts in Srinagar while shutting down businesses and crippling normal life in the Kashmir valley. India’s tactics, he said, were bound to fail.

Terming the Kashmiris’ ongoing liberation struggle part of completion of the Pakistan movement, the AJK PM said India must bear in mind the fact that it could not subdue Kashmiris by suppressing their sentiments and legitimate political aspirations. He expressed his profound gratitude to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for attending the special session of the assembly. He also mentioned the historical, cultural and religious linkages between the people of Kashmir and Pakistan. The AJK PM also lauded Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir for his unflinching support to Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle for their right to self-determination. Meanwhile, AJK President Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry said the Indian bid to host the G20 conference in Srinagar was meant to create an impression that everything was okay in Kashmir.

Referring to highly volatile situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), he said that Delhi had deployed over 900,000 military and paramilitary troops, who had turned the region into a slaughterhouse. “What kind of tourism can be promoted in the presence of such a large army,” he added. Referring to Narendra Modi’s dreadful and devastating policies, Barrister Chaudhry said the ruthless suppression of Kashmiris and hapless minorities within the Indian mainland had exposed Modi and his ambitions. “Modi’s fascist policies would ultimately lead to the disintegration of India,” he added.

Lauding Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, he said the foreign minister’s speech would prove to be a great morale booster for Kashmiri people on both sides of the line of control. He said India had failed in its attempts to achieve the desired goal as key members of the group, including China, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye and Egypt had boycotted the conference.

Others speaking at the special session were: former AJK prime ministers Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Sardar Atiq Ahmad Khan, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi, PPP Azad Kashmir President Chaudhry Muhammad Yasin, Khawaja Farooq Ahmed and Sardar Hassan. Meanwhile, complete shutdown was observed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) on Monday against the G20 tourism group meeting in Srinagar. According to Kashmir Media Service, on the call jointly given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and AJK political leadership, protest demonstrations were held and rallies were taken out across the held Valley.

The incarcerated APHC Chairman, Masarrat Aalam Butt, in a message from New Delhi’s Tihar Jail urged the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Azad Kashmir to make the strike a success.APHC Vice Chairman, Ghulam Ahmed Gulzar eulogised the sacrifices of prominent Kashmiri leaders, Mirwaiz Molvi Muhammad Farooq and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Lone, and the martyrs of Hawal on their martyrdom anniversaries on Monday.All businesses, markets, bazaars and centres remained closed against the oppressive Indian government and Narendra Modi move of holding the G20 group meeting in Srinagar.