Islamabad, OCT 5 – Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that 73 years of Indian aggression has not deterred the passion and commitment of the Kashmiri people for ascertaining their right to self-determination.
“Kashmiris are the most courageous people on the face of this earth; and it is, therefore, our core responsibility to save our Kashmiri brothers and sisters from Indian aggression. We here in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir are free and we cannot leave Kashmiris at the mercy of the barbaric Indian occupation forces”, he said.
The President made these remarks, as chief guest, at the launch of the book titled “La Makan”, a collection of poetry, authored by Ms. Ghazala Habib, Chairperson Friends of Kashmir International.
The event was also attended and addressed by Speaker AJK Legislative Assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir, former Minister Dr. Muhammad Amjad, senior journalist Mr. Mazhar Barlas, President National Press Club Mr. Shakeel Anjum, former President PFUJ Afzal Butt and prominent poet Mr. Ronaq Hayat.
The AJK President praised the efforts of the Friends of Kashmir and especially Ghazala Habib for raising the Kashmir issue in the US, especially in the State of Texas. He said that she has established inroads into the US civil society, engaged US Congressional leaders and has provided Kashmiris with an opportunity to tell their tragic story of repression and torture.
He added that our diaspora community has proven to be a strong force in the advocacy of the Kashmir issue. He also expressed his gratitude to the National Press Club for always proactively raising the Kashmir dispute and opening its doors to the Kashmiri people.
Masood Khan said that since 1947 the people of Kashmir have been striving for freedom from occupation and this passion has not dwindled. For 73 years, India has tried every trick in the book to woo the Kashmiris by economic blandishments, political manoeuvring and even brute force; but to no avail. Even today, he said, the Kashmiris still chant to slogan “Pakistan Zindabad”.
President Masood Khan said that apart from diplomatic and political efforts we have to make this movement a people’s movement, a global civil rights movement that would shake the conscience of the whole world.
Masood Khan while speaking about plans to transform Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) into a province, said that Pakistan will never take any step which will, in any way, weaken the existing status of Jammu and Kashmir or the case of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
The government of Pakistan, he said, respects the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and it would not compromise on the stance they have adopted on the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
He urged the members of the National Press Club to visit GB and meet their counterparts at the press clubs, leading political figures and the general public to help understand the situation. He reiterated that the people of GB wholeheartedly support the Kashmir cause and strive for their freedom from Indian occupation.
“This is a national challenge that we will resolve through conversations, deliberations and mutual consensus. No force can upset the love and unity between the people of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan”, he said.
India, said the President, issued fake maps last year and they had challenged the territorial integrity of Pakistan. “The issue of Kashmir is a matter of national security and Pakistan is incomplete without Kashmir. No compromise has or will be made on the Kashmir issue. Rise up and save your Kashmiri brothers and sisters, who in the face of unprecedented Indian aggression still chant the slogans of freedom and yearn to be a part of Pakistan”, said Masood Khan.
The President later visited the newly established Kashmir Centre at the National Press Club. He said that this initiative will help further the cause of Kashmir as media representatives would be provided with a credible platform to advocate the Kashmir dispute.