Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

02/05/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/05/2023 02:08

PR No. 26 • Harness diplomacy to resolve Kashmir, avert war, usher peace and prosp

"The current state of affairs in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir is abysmal," said Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan. "There are human rights violations. There are killings. There is torture. The people are being persecuted. There is no freedom of expression at all. People are in a mass prison," he said. On the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day, Ambassador Masood Khan during his interview to Newsweek, a leading U.S. magazine with millions of subscribers across the globe, said that there were no civil liberties or fundamental freedoms in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. People who raised their voices ended up in jails or they were eliminated. "The entire territory is being ruled by fear and intimidation," he said. To a question regarding Pakistan's willingness to talk, Masood Khan said that Pakistan and Kashmiris were always ready to talk. He, however, reiterated that for any meaningful and result-oriented talk, India must held in abeyance its illegal and unilateral actions that were taken on August 2019 in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. "India must discard its condescension. Its attitude is dismissive. This does not help. You have to respect your neighbors," said Ambassador Khan. This, he said, was not what only the Pakistanis or the people in Azad Jammu & Kashmir or the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir were saying. "This is what is being said increasingly by the Indian politicians, leaders and also activists because they think that a historic wrong is being committed and it must be corrected," Masood Khan said. The Ambassador said that the two sides must demonstrate statesmanship and move towards a 'Brave New World'. "Brave New World-- where we work for connectivity; we work for peace and security and prosperity for all the South Asians. And that is possible if we address outstanding issues," he said. "What is diplomacy for if it doesn't invest time and energy for resolving such hot issues which affect the destiny of millions of people," the Ambassador said. The Ambassador regretted that there was very little focus from the international community on the issue of Kashmir or the people owing to preoccupation with Ukraine, Asia Pacific region or the geopolitics of the United States, China and Russia. "Kashmir or even South Asia, as a whole, may be a blind spot of the international community and this makes our region accident prone, he cautioned. "There can be accidents; there could be miscalculation and the sole point is Kashmir," he warned. Asked as to why the major powers were not discussing the issue of Kashmir, the Ambassador opined that India's growing relations with western countries, especially the economic interests, might be the reason for international community turning a blind eye to the festering issue in the neighborhood of three nuclear powers. Highlighting the risks involved in the current situation, the Ambassador termed continued human rights violations and total disenfranchisement of the Kashmiris as the biggest risk. The risk of an unintended or accidental war and escalation was also there, he continued. "Rights of Kashmiris should be protected under international law," he said.