UN is creating ‘artificial balance’ between India, Pakistan – AJK President

Kashmiri men wait before Eid-al-Adha prayers during restrictions after the scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar, Aug. 12, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 August 2019
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UN is creating ‘artificial balance’ between India, Pakistan – AJK President

  • Masood Khan says global body’s response is “deeply disappointing”
  • Sees Saudi Arabia as the “torchbearer” of unity among Muslims

ISLAMABAD: Slamming the United Nations for its reaction over the recent situation in disputed Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Kashmir on Monday termed the global body’s response as “deeply disappointing, lukewarm and laid-back.”
“They (United Nations) are trying to create an artificial balance between India and Pakistan. They are asking India and Pakistan for restraint. What kind of restraint are they expecting from Pakistan? Pakistan has already said that it is not going to go to war. All the aggressive steps are being taken by India, so the UN should have rightly asked India to show restraint, responsibility and should have counselled it to reverse the steps it has announced,” Khan said during his exclusive interview with Arab News.
He added that in this dark hour when the people of Indian-administered Kashmir are suffering, their eyes are turned toward the Islamic countries and the Arab world.
“The Arab world, particularly Saudi Arabia and allies, is the ‘torchbearer’ of the unity of the Muslim Ummah. No Muslim anywhere in the world should suffer unjustly as it is happening in Indian occupied territory,” he said, requesting Arab countries to support Kashmir in this difficult period by building “pressure against India’s unlawful and illegal steps.”
He further chided the leaders of other countries for not mounting pressure on India “due to their strategic, economic and political interests.”
“India has deluded the world powers, particularly the western countries, that they are a force for good and have respect for diversity. This is all a “fasad” I would say. The reality is [that] India is pursuing aggression and it is committing violent crimes, crimes against humanity and the world is not holding India accountable.”
Khan said that by revoking Articles 370 and 35-A, India in fact dropped the pretense that it had put up for the people of Kashmir and the rest of the world claiming there was autonomy in the Indian administered Kashmir.
“There was no autonomy, there was only occupation. So now India is completely exposed. It has taken additional coercive measures. Article 370 was an empty shell but article 35-A recognized some of the inherent and basic rights of Kashmiris. By removing it, they [India] want to alter the demography and turn the Muslim majority into a minority.”
He added that India has defied all norms of International law and created a war psychosis with Pakistan. “India has opened a new battle field with Pakistan. It has signaled to escalate along the Line of Control (LOC). In the recent past, they have killed many civilians along the LOC. They used cluster ammunition which claimed the lives of children.”
Commenting on options available to Pakistan, Khan said that “Pakistan can do a lot on bilateral level and has taken certain measures already. It has also cut off the train and bus service and suspended trade with India.”
“Pakistan announced to take the matter to UN Security Council (UNSC) and it is the Security Council’s responsibility to take cognizance of the situation. It is also necessary for Pakistan to remain in touch with friendly countries and also those countries who care about human rights.” He added that OIC can also play meaningful role by promoting some sort of solution about Jammu and Kashmir.
Khan said that Pakistan should follow up on President Trump’s recent offer to mediate on Kashmir issue. “They (Pakistan) should not have a passive posture and go ahead to deescalate the situation,” he added. 
He said that Pakistan should increase its contact with permanent members of the UNSC such as China because “their opinion would matter.”
Khan lamented as the deteriorating situation in Indian-administered Kashmir terming it as “horrendous.” He said the world was blinded from the situation on ground due to information blockade. “The occupied territory is completely under lockdown. People have been pushed back to the dark ages.”
He said that India had moved an additional 180,000 troops to the disputed valley before repealing Kashmir’s special status granted in the Indian constitution.
“We know very little of the horror that has been unleashed on Kashmiris. We can believe based on our past experience that a genocide is being committed in Kashmir right now but it hidden from the rest of the world.”


India defends blocking politicians from visiting Kashmir

Updated 25 August 2019
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India defends blocking politicians from visiting Kashmir

  • If everything is normal, asks opposition’s Rahul Gandhi, why are Congress leaders not allowed in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Hurriyat Conference has released its first official comment since the clampdown, calling for locals to resist New Delhi’s move 

NEW DELHI: Authorities on Sunday defended blocking opposition Indian politicians from visiting Muslim-majority Kashmir, saying it was to “avoid controversy” weeks after stripping the restive region of its autonomy and imposing a major clampdown.
India’s Hindu-nationalist government has been criticized by the main opposition Congress party over the contentious move on August 5 that brings Kashmir — which has waged an armed rebellion against Indian control since 1989 — under its direct rule.
The region remains under strict lockdown with movement limited and many phone and Internet services cut, although authorities say they have been easing restrictions gradually.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, still a key figure in India as a scion of the powerful Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, was earlier invited by local governor Satya Pal Malik to visit Kashmir.
But a video released by Congress showed Gandhi questioning officials about why he was stopped from entering Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar at the airport on Saturday.
“The governor has said I’m invited. He has invited me so I have come but you’re saying I can’t go,” he said.
“And the government is saying everything is OK, everything is normal. So if everything is normal, why are we not allowed out? It is a bit surprising.”
Regional police chief Dilbagh Singh told AFP police supported the decision.
“In an environment that is getting to normalcy, we didn’t want any controversial statement from anyone. That’s why they were asked to return from the airport itself,” Singh said.
Malik told the ANI news agency he invited Gandhi out of goodwill but that he then politicized the issue.
The controversy came as key separatist group Hurriyat Conference, a coalition of local political parties, released its first official comments since the clampdown and called for locals to “resist at this critical juncture” New Delhi’s move.
“Each and every person must face the naked Indian brutality with courage ... People should organize peaceful protests and demonstrations in their areas of residence,” top separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said in a statement obtained by AFP.
The Hurriyat Conference, which supports Kashmir’s right to choose whether it wants to be part of India or Pakistan, added that Pakistan and the wider Muslim community should “come forward to ... help the besieged people.”
The call came as India’s home affairs ministry refuted a report by India’s News18 television on Sunday that the region was running out of lifesaving medicines, saying supplies were “slightly higher than the monthly average.”