Pakistanis want PM Khan to talk on Kashmir in his UNGA address

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 24, 2019. Khan said Tuesday that both the United States and Saudi Arabia asked him to mediate with Iran to defuse tensions. (AFP)
Updated 27 September 2019

Pakistanis want PM Khan to talk on Kashmir in his UNGA address

  • PM Khan is scheduled to talk at the United Nations General Assembly tonight
  • Khan’s address to the UNGA will help “instill a new energy in the Kashmir cause.” - Ashiq Awan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis said on Friday that Prime Minister Imran Khan should tell the international community about the state of human rights in Kashmir in his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly that is scheduled to take place later today.
Islamabad has been trying to internationalize the Kashmir issue after India revoked special status of the Indian-administered Kashmir on August 5 and put over eight million Kashmiris under a strict curfew to prevent any protests against the decision in the Muslim-majority Himalayan valley.
Tensions between both the nuclear-armed neighbors – Pakistan and India – run high while Prime Minister Khan has already announced to highlight what he said India’s “illegal annexation” of the occupied territory and human rights abuses in the valley.
A couple of people Arab News spoke to ahead of the premier’s address to the UNGA said that it was a “golden opportunity” for him to internationalize the issue and tell the world about “India’s violation of human rights in Kashmir..”
“The international community especially European countries are very sensitive to violation of human rights anywhere, therefore Khan must highlight abduction and rape of Kashmir women and youth by Indian troops in his address,” Adnan Akram, a shopkeeper in Islamabad, told Arab News.
Shumaila Simon, an IT professional in Islamabad, said the prime minister should avoid verbosity and only present facts in the UNGA regarding Indian ‘aggression’ against innocent Kashmiris.
“Prime Minister should make full use of this platform, tell the world about Kashmir issue and its importance …. especially how this conflict can bring the two nuclear-armed neighbors face to face,” she told Arab News.
On the other hand, Prime Minister’s special assistant on media Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said in a Twitter post on Friday that Khan’s address to the UNGA will help “instill a new energy in the Kashmir cause.”


Pakistan's support for Kashmiri cause unwavering, Raheel Sharif says in Riyadh

Updated 31 October 2020

Pakistan's support for Kashmiri cause unwavering, Raheel Sharif says in Riyadh

  • Pakistani embassy in Riyadh held a seminar on the human rights situation in Kashmiri territory to mark Kashmir Black Day
  • Kashmiri self-determination is not only a moral and legally justified right, former Saudi ambassador to Pakistan says

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said that Pakistan supports the Kashmiri cause with an "unflinching resolve."

The general's comment came during a seminar, "Human Rights Situation in Kashmir: Implications for Regional Peace and Stability," organized by the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday.

"Let it be known that every citizen of Pakistan stands united with the people of Kashmir and supports their struggle for freedom with an unflinching resolve," said Gen. Raheel Sharif, who now leads the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, a counterterrorist alliance of Muslim countries, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

"The issue of Kashmir is very close to every Pakistani’s heart as we fully understand the cause and dynamics of this struggle right from the beginning. We have closely witnessed the sufferings of our Kashmiri brethren and appreciate their resolve and valor in pursuit of their goal and fundamental human rights."

Former Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif participates in a seminar organized in Riyadh by the Pakistani embassy to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Pakistan Embassy Riyadh via AN)

Kashmiri territory is divided between India and Pakistan, but both countries claim the region in its entirety. Crackdowns in the Indian-administered part have been escalating since August 2019, when New Delhi scrapped Articles 370 and 35A of the constitution, which gave Kashmiris limited autonomy and protected their domicile and employment rights.

If not reversed, the Indian regime's August move, Sharif said, will cause "further unrest in the region."

Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, who was one of speakers in the seminar, said that last year's change in Kashmir's status "through annexation and division of the internationally recognized disputed region," as well as subsequent lockdown and "enforced demographic shift currently underway" have aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the region.

"Kashmiri people are facing a more dangerous situation now as every passing day is marginalizing their political status and socio-economic space," he said during the seminar, as he recalled serving in Pakistan and leading Saudi relief efforts after an earthquake that devastated Kashmir in 2005.  

Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, participates in a seminar organized in Riyadh by the Pakistani embassy to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Pakistan Embassy Riyadh via AN)

He said the relief could not reach the Indian-administered part of the territory, as New Delhi did not grant access. "We remember that Kashmir on the other side of LOC also faced devastating effects of the earthquake but could not do much due to lack of access by the Indian authorities."

"Kashmiri people want to live their lives according to their free will and India has denied this basic right and instead chosen the path of repression," Asseri added.

"The Kashmiri demand of self-determination is not only the moral right but also legally justified under UN security council resolutions."

India on Wednesday notified new laws that allow non-Kashmiris to buy land in the disputed region, rising concerns that the new regulation would dilute the Muslim-majority character of the region.

"Contrary to Indian claims of bringing development to the Kashmir valley, the real motive remains altering the demographics of the Muslim-majority territory," Islamabad's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Raja Ali Ejaz, told Arab News after the seminar.

He added that the Pakistani government remains "fully committed to the Kashmir cause."