Pakistan not bound to accept Salahuddin ban: Aziz



Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Monday that Pakistan was not bound to accept the United States’ decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.

The adviser briefed a 20-member delegation of ‘Kashmir Journalist Forum’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on the grave human rights situation in held Kashmir, and steps taken by Pakistan to sensitize the international community.

Replying to a question, Aziz said that Pakistan was committed to the Kashmir cause and was not obliged to implement Washington’s decisions.

“This decision has not been taken by the United Nations. We are not bound to implement the US decisions. We will continue moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris,” he said.

Aziz stressed that Kashmir was an internationally recognised dispute. “There are UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir dispute that call for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination through a UNSC supervised plebiscite,” he said.

The adviser said that Kashmir dispute was outstanding on the UN Security Council agenda. “Pakistan wants to settle all contentious issues, particularly the Kashmir dispute with India through a sustained and result-oriented dialogue. Pakistan wants India to immediately stop the bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris and create an enabling environment for implementation of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir,” he said.

He said the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the human rights organisations must step up efforts to stop the bloodshed of Kashmiris in held Kashmir and ensure early implementation of UNSC Resolutions.

The adviser underlined that the indigenous movement of Kashmiris for self-determination in held Kashmir had entered a critical phase since the new wave started on July 8 last year after the murder of freedom fighter Burhan Wani.

Aziz presented a brief synopsis of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces against unprotected Kashmiris in held Kashmir and precarious security situation due to Indian unprovoked ceasefire violations since July 2016, which alone should be an eye-opener for the international community.

He said that more than 150 people were killed by the Indian forces. “Many were killed in extra-judicial killings and fake encounters. Around 8,000 are affected by pellet guns that blinded more than 250 youth either fully or partially with another 930 at the verge of losing their eye-sight, 697 women reported molestation by Indian forces, around 18,000 injured and over 17,000 arrested arbitrarily with their fate and welfare unknown,” he said.

Aziz noted that despite Indian brutalities, “on one hand, the enthusiasm for getting freedom from India’s unlawful occupation and sacrifices of Kashmiris, especially the youth, has been rising and this phenomenon, on the other hand, has also defeated the Indian propaganda of down-playing the Kashmir issue, as if there is nothing wrong.”

He said that if there was nothing wrong then “why there are over 700,000 fully armed Indian occupation forces stationed? Why the entire media has been blocked.”  The Adviser said these were the questions that India should explain.

Moreover, he said, the current phase of the movement had also buried Indian propaganda of cross-border terrorism. “The whole world is witnessing that it is a movement by unarmed indigenous Kashmiris youth,” Aziz said.

He mentioned Indian refusal to receive ‘fact finding missions by UNHCR and OIC to Kashmir. Aziz commended the OIC’s strong statements condemning Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

The adviser stressed that the two factors – the undeterred movement for self-determination and its indigenous character – have been receiving increased coverage of the international as well as Indian media. “Voices expressing concerns and condemning Indian atrocities have echoed in various countries’ parliaments including Australia, EU, North America, Nordic and the UK,” he said.

Aziz said the media and members of the civil society made some useful and pertinent remarks. The western media, he said, deplored that “there is no recorded instance of a modern democracy systematically and willfully shooting at people to blind them”. An article in the Indian media, he said, reminded the Indian government that “the land of Kashmiris is with us, the people of Kashmir’s are not.”

He said despite the gravity of the situation on the ground and persistent international pressure on India to resume dialogue with Pakistan with a particular focus on Kashmir dispute, the Indian government has been trying to divert global attention from the situation in Kashmir by heating up the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.

Aziz said that during the last one year, India had committed more than 450 unprovoked ceasefire violations. These violations intensified after its fully armed forces in Kashmir, world’s most militarised zone, could not deter the indigenous Kashmiri movement for self-determination.

UNSG Antonio Guterres, he said, had expressed his concern over tension between Pakistan and India, called for a dialogue and offered to play a role to help resolve Kashmir issue, the main bone of contention. “Indian belligerent posturing and their desire to conduct dialogue on their own terms (without Kashmir) will never be acceptable,” he said.

Aziz said that in this background, India’s refusal to accept the role of the UN or good offices of the other leaders for reducing tension between Pakistan and India by resolving the Kashmir dispute reflected Indian desperation to hide its crimes against humanity in Kashmir. “Bilateral route had run in scores but without achieving much in substantive terms,” he said.

He said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were being given power without influencing Kashmir dispute.courtesy The Nation.