ISLAMABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan has said that the possibility of mediation on Kashmir issue by the new US administration led by Joe Biden is not high, but the United States as an influential member of the UN Security Council can play a pivotal role to resolve the issue between India and Pakistan.
He made these remarks while addressing a webinar hosted by the London School of Economics Students’ Union’s Pakistan Development Society as a foreign policy expert. The event was also addressed by former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar, well-known journalist, Najam Sethi and other prominent panelists.
The Trump administration, with the help of Pakistan, had made good headway on the issue of Afghanistan and also President Trump attempted to act as a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. But later he (Trump) backtracked and instead adhered to maintaining an artificial balance between the two countries and then the mediation offer came to a naught”, he said.
Sardar Masood Khan however expressed his optimism that the new US government under the leadership of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect, Kamala Harris would come forward and dissuade India from killing the Kashmiris and help end the human rights violations taking place in the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
“Our success in achieving the desired goals would depend on our advocacy and our outreach. This should not only be limited to the government level but the non-governmental sector particularly the civil society has to be involved in order to make Kashmir a civil rights movement”, he asserted.
Sardar Masood went on to say that in 2019, soon after India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of semi autonomous status and split it into two Union Territories, Biden- Harris very plainly said “Kashmiris are not alone in the world and that they are keeping a track on the situation.
The AJK President said that we must see that Pakistani expatriates in America have the same kind of ingress into the US power corridors as the Indian diaspora. Pakistanis in the US, he said, are around 700.000 and they have a key role to play in influencing decision making directly or indirectly.
Referring to the situation in India Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, President Khan said there is a genocide taking place and there is lebensraum in the territory. Around 2.2 million non-state Hindus from all over India have been brought into IOJK just in the past 4 months.
He suggested that our policy on Kashmir should be proactive and we should build our own narrative to help stop the killing of Kashmiris in IOJK and prevent India from turning the disputed region into a colony.
Rejecting bilateral talks with India, Masood Khan categorically stated that the solution of Kashmir conflict lies in multilateral diplomacy. He said that solution to the issue has already been given to Kashmiris by UN Security Council seven decades ago by suggesting a plebiscite to determine their will of Kashmiris regarding their future through a plebiscite.
Emphatically seeking the resolution of Kashmir dispute as per UN Security Council resolutions involving three parties to the dispute, the President said that bilateral negotiations have been a mirage and India has been using them as a tool to perpetuate its hold on the Jammu & Kashmir territory.
“The world must realize that there are three parties to the dispute – Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir. One of the main reasons that we have not found a solution to the dispute was that the representatives of the Kashmiri people have never allowed to sit around the negotiating tables”, he said.
Responding to various questions, the President said that comparing IOJK and AJK is not rational as there are no killings, arbitrary arrests, blindings, fake encounters and mass incarcerations taking place in AJK. Contrarily, in IIOJK, he said, the people are living in a massive open-air prison and they are being subjected to unimaginable human rights violations by 900,000 Indian troops.
In his concluding remarks, the president said that we must create positive leverages, built on convergences and forgo dependency syndrome on any world power. “For Pakistan, the most important and crucial challenge is strengthening our economy. If we do not become economically viable or demonstrate economic development, we will always remain vulnerable”, he said.