Free and fair plebiscite is only solution to Kashmir: Masood Khan

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MIRPUR: AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has said Pakistan and People of Jammu and Kashmir want a peaceful, diplomatic and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue in which the Kashmiris are allowed to exercise their right to self-determination through a free and fair plebiscite.

The President made these remarks while addressing a round-table conference on “Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir” organized by Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST). The event was also addressed by British parliamentarians Lord Qurban Hussain, Vice Chairman All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group Barrister Imran Hussain, Shadow Minister for Justice and Senior Vice Chairman All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG).

President Masood Khan commended the efforts of MUST and said steps taken by the University management in promoting the Kashmir issue by organising various conferences and inviting foreign delegations to speak on this very pertinent issue.

Terming constitution and working of the British All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group as highly positive step in promoting the Kashmir issue, the President said that the APPKG has over the years been holding inquiries and recording testimonies on Kashmir.

He added that despite invitations by APPKG, representatives from the Indian government have not attended any of the testimony events. Highlighting the recent report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President said that the report clearly acknowledged that right to self-determination is a fundamental right and the Kashmiris be granted this right.

Secondly, the report recommends repealing of the black laws – Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act – and lastly, they have recommended establishing a commission of inquiry on the human rights violations taking place in Indian Occupied Kashmir, he said.

He also informed that the new High Commissioner of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet, has in her opening speech at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council called on India to take meaningful steps in addressing issues of human rights in IOK.

Lord Qurban Hussain said British Parliamentarians have been sensitised of the Kashmir issue and the All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group is actively looking into the human rights violations taking place in Kashmir. He assured his continued commitment towards raising the issue in the UK Parliament.

Barrister Imran Hussain MP, said the long standing issue of self-determination is a birthright of all humans and the people of Kashmir must be allowed to exercise their political will.

He said that as member of the parliament and vice chairman of APPKG we look forward to India in cooperating and allowing our delegation to visit IOK.

Barrister Imran Hussain also informed that the report being prepared by the APPKG to be presented to the British Parliament and the submission will be followed by a debate on the matter. He also invited President AJK to witness the event at the British Parliament.

The President in his concluding remarks commended the efforts of the Pakistan-Kashmiri diaspora community all over the globe for raising the issue of Kashmir in the international arena. He praised the endeavours made by MP Imran Hussain in creating awareness on Kashmir and also thanked Lord Qurban for his commitment and raising the Kashmir issue in the House of Lords.

Earlier Professor Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor MUST, in his welcome address, briefed the participants on various events organised by the University in highlighting the issue of Kashmir. The conference was attended by leading scholars, deans, faculty and representatives of the print and electronic media.