Kashmiris demand UN-sponsored plebiscite, not autonomy: AJK President

By our correspondent.

ISLAMABAD: Whilst welcoming the statement of two UN special rapporteurs about the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, AJK President Sardar Masood Khan unequivocally stated that the Jammu and Kashmir conflict had nothing to do with autonomy nor is 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 that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been offering unprecedented sacrifices for not any sort of autonomy within the Indian constitution but for the realization 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 Kashmiri people had been recognized, but holding the UN-supervised plebiscite had also been promised. However, he maintained that we welcome the concern expressed by the United Nations over the change of demography of occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian government.

Earlier, in an exclusive article published in the national English journal of Pakistan, the AJK president said that 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. IIOJ&K today has emerged as the worst Islamophobic hotspot in the world.

Sardar Masood Khan cautioned that Indian fascism – Hindutva – is threatening the stability of South Asia and extended neighbourhoods. Its toxic legacy will ultimately affect all nations and all continents of the world. There is no room for complacency. If a big nation like India becomes the biggest rogue and bully in the world, seeking exceptionalism, what impact would that have on smaller nations, he questioned.

“BJP-RSS regime is committing crimes in Kashmir on an industrial scale primarily to consolidate and broaden its base amongst hardliners, extremist Hindus for the next elections due in 2024. The blood of Kashmiris will be used as fuel in their electoral campaigns and for getting votes,” President Khan cautioned.

About America’s role in the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue, the AJK President said that President Biden and Vice President Harris, during election primaries and campaigns, 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, is 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 United Nations because that won’t work.
“If the U.S. shows some leadership, West European countries will follow suit. The best place to authorize and start this process is the UN Security Council,” AJK President concluded.

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