Flash floods kill 22 in Azad Kashmir

People collect their belongings from their house that collapsed due to flooding in Neelum Valley of Pakistani controlled Kashmir, Monday, July 15, 2019. Pakistan says many people are missing and feared dead after heavy rains triggered flash floods in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. Ahmed Raza Qadri, the Pakistani minister for disaster management in the disputed territory, says the flooding late on Sunday also caused much destruction and damage in the village of Lesswa in Neelum Valley. (AP Photo)
Updated 16 July 2019

Flash floods kill 22 in Azad Kashmir

  • Heavy rains damaged dozens of houses in the area
  • Pakistan army partakes in rescue operations

ISLAMABAD: Heavy rains and flash floods killed at least 22 people in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, an official from the State Disaster Management Authority of Azad Kashmir told Arab News on Tuesday.
Flash floods caused by a heavy cloud burst adversely impacted Leswa Village in the Neelum Valley on Monday night, with more than 150 houses, shops and mosques impacted in the area, Ahmed Raza Qadri, Minister for State Disaster Management Authority of Azad Kashmir said.
Rescue teams comprising officials of district administration, disaster management authority and local police are conducting search and rescue operations in the area, Qadri added. 
According to the Azad Kashmir government’s media wing, the missing persons include two Frontier Works Organization (FWO) personnel, nine locals and 11 others who were visiting the area preaching in the mosques.
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has expressed deep concern and grief over the loss of precious lives and property due to the flooding.
“On ground rescue and relief operations headed by the Deputy Commissioner Neelum are underway in which teams from the State Disaster Management Authority and AJK-Red Crescent have been mobilized to assist the local administration,” Khan said.
He added that the district administration is also working closely with teams from the Pakistan army to assist in the rescue operations. 
Neelam Valley is a popular tourist destination located near the Line of Control (LoC) — the de facto border that splits Kashmir between Pakistan and India.


Pakistani PM urges action on Kashmir as UNGA president-elect in Islamabad 

Updated 10 August 2020

Pakistani PM urges action on Kashmir as UNGA president-elect in Islamabad 

  • Khan briefs Volkan Bozkir about “ongoing gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people”
  • Says UN must play ‘rightful role’ in ensuring Kashmiris get right to self-determination under relevant UN resolutions 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday met with the UN General Assembly president-elect who arrived in Islamabad on a two-day visit, urging the United Nations to play its “rightful role” in ensuring the right of self-determination for the people of the disputed Kashmir region. 
The Himalayan region has long been a flashpoint in ties between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan, with both claiming Kashmir in full but ruling it in part. UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a cease-fire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly Muslim Kashmir.
A press release from the PM’s office said Khan briefed Volkan Bozkir about “ongoing gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people and the attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.”
“He stressed that the UN must play its rightful role in addressing the grave situation and ensuring that Kashmiris exercise their right to self-determination promised to them in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the statement said. 
Last August, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped Jammu and Kashmir — India’s only Muslim-majority state — of its special rights and split it into two federally administered territories. The government said the change was necessary to develop the revolt-torn region and integrate it with the rest of India, but it infuriated many Kashmiris as well as neighboring Pakistan.

In a series of tweets, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also welcomed the UNGA president-elect to Pakistan.

Bozkir has been elected as the President of UNGA’s 75th session.
“Pakistan strongly believes in the importance of a multilateral world anchored on the tenants of peace, progress and stability,” Qureshi said. “It is in this spirit, we welcomed @UN General Assembly President Elect @volkan_bozkir to #Pakistan for a constructive and fruitful visit.”
“Pakistan has consistently supported & valued the @UN’s significant role in global affairs and we continue to strengthen bonds within the institution of the UN be it for conflict resolution, peacekeeping, sustainable development, health, economic & social cooperation et al,” the foreign minister added. 
Qureshi said Pakistan reinforced its position of peace and stability in the region, and was pursuing a policy of diplomatic accord globally, as he thanked the UNGA president elect for his visit, which he said was “a manifestation of the UN’s belief in Pakistan’s commitment to a secure and harmonious future.”