Monday September 20, 2021

Kashmiris striving for plebiscite, not autonomy, says Masood

AFP
February 23, 2021

MIRPUR: Welcoming the statement of two UN special rapporteurs about the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan on Monday unequivocally stated that the Jammu and Kashmir conflict had nothing to do with autonomy nor was it the issue of the rights of minorities.

“Kashmir is not about ‘autonomy’ or ‘rights of minorities’. Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed state whose people have yet to decide their future. It is a Muslim majority state, but not part of India. We, however, welcome the statement of UN special rapporteurs on Kashmir situation,” he asserted.

Commenting on the recent statement of the two experts of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, he said the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been offering unprecedented sacrifices for not any sort of autonomy within the Indian constitution but for the realisation of their democratic right to self-determination.

In this connection, he reminded that the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir in which not only the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris had been recognised but holding the UN-supervised plebiscite had also been promised.

“We welcome the concern expressed by the UN over the change of demography of occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian government.”Earlier, in an exclusive article published in a national English journal of Pakistan, the AJK president said: “The Kashmiri Muslims are being punished collectively because they are Muslims and they have not given a right to India to determine their statehood or political future.

“They have resolved that they would shape their own destiny. Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) today has emerged as the worst Islamophobic hotspot in the world.”Masood Khan cautioned that Indian fascism – Hindutva – was threatening the stability of South Asia and extended neighbourhoods, adding its toxic legacy will ultimately affect all nations and all continents of the world.

About US role in the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue, Masood Khan said President Biden and Vice President Harris, during election primaries and campaigns, had assured Kashmiris that they would be there for them.

“We are optimistic about their role, but very cautiously. The minimum they (Biden Administration) can do is to call a spade a spade and start conversations with the Indian government about the horrendous situation in IIOJ&K and thus debunk the indefensible Indian pretence that Kashmir is India’s internal matter.”

Kashmir, he said, was not an internal matter of India by any yardstick. The Biden Administration, Khan added, could encourage a diplomatic process to promote dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir, but not try to take it out of the UN because that won’t work.“If the US shows some leadership, West European countries will follow suit. The best place to authorise and start this process is the UN Security Council,” the AJK president concluded.