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September 20, 2019

Pakistani Americans inform Congress members about IOK situation


September 20, 2019

WASHINGTON: As many as 70 Pakistani Americans approached various members of the US Congress on Wednesday to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

These Pakistani Americans are part of Pakpac, a politically active group known as Pakistan American Political Action Committee, which had also rallied community members to deliver a "constitutional letter" all across the US to their district Congressional representatives to inform them about the history of the Kashmir issue with reasons why it was incumbent on the US to intervene on various levels.

Initially, a letter was written by Congressman Jim Banks (from Indiana) to President Trump alerting him about the dangerous situation in the Sub-Continent and why it was necessary for President Trump to appoint a special envoy to intervene on behalf of the US administration.

The group members representing multiple districts of at least 18 states told the representatives that it was incumbent on the US in keeping with its history of standing for justice and human rights to stand for the rights of the Kashmiri people, according to a press statement issued by Pakpac. The statement said, the Congressional members were apprised that since Pakistan and India were both nuclear powers, "If a conventional war breaks out, it could very quickly escalate into a nuclear war."

During their discussions, they emphasised that this issue was not about India or Pakistan but "about the Kashmiri people who have been brutalised, raped, killed and silenced by the Indian government by force and the final nail in their coffin was stripping them of their right to decide their future. “A right that was given to them by the international community through UN Resolutions 39, 47; making it an international issue and later also by the Indian government by adding Article 370 protected by 35A in their constitution giving them a special status of autonomy," the statement added.

"India’s narrative on this issue is that if Kashmir is controlled by the central government it would progress rapidly same as other states," the statement said, adding that would not happen since economic development goes hand and hand with security and stability in that region. "There will not be peace in that region since the Kashmiri people are fighting for their right to autonomy and freedom," it said.

It further said, "The second narrative is that it will be easier for India to control terrorism from across the LoC." It said the people that India calls terrorists are in reality Kashmiri people fighting for their freedom. It told the members of Congress that genocide is being committed by Modi’s administration to replace the Muslim majority Kashmiris with Hindus.

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