Masood asks if US, Taliban can talk then why not Kashmir dialogue

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KARACHI: AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has said that the 200 year old struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to get freedom and justice would not be crushed by India.

He made these remarks while addressing the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations on the subject “Pakistan’s Strategic Neighbourhood”, at a conference which was also addressed by Council Chairman Ikram Sehgal, Council Secretary General Huma Baqi and Ambassador (r) Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director of the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS).

The President said that the logjam on Kashmir in multilateral diplomacy must be broken to help Kashmiris put an end to Indian atrocities and choose their political future through peaceful and democratic means.

He emphasized that if the United States and the Taliban, after fighting for the last seventeen years can start negotiations, why is India not being asked to start political and diplomatic  talks with Pakistan and the Kashmiris to resolve the Kashmir dispute?

The President recalled that in 1832 the people of Poonch had risen against the oppressive rule of Raja Gulab Singh and as punishment their leaders Sabz Ali and Malli Khan were skinned above and bodies were hung on a tree in Mang.

Sardar Shams Khan, the leader of the revolt, was beheaded. The heroic deeds of these freedom fighters are sung in ballads in the territory; and the monument of Sabz Ali and Malli Khan at Mang is a testimony to the resilience of the Kashmiris against oppression.

He also reminded his audience about the uprising of Kashmiri Muslims in 1931 against Mahrajah Hari Singh’s policies of terrorism, exorbitant taxes and slave labour towards the Muslim population who constituted the majority in the state.

On July 13, as Abdul Qadeer was being tried for call to end the reign of “injustice, cruelty and subjugation”, 22 people embraced martyrdom to complete Azan (the prayer call) outside the court room where he was being tried for sedition and treason.

In 1947, the people of Jammu of Kashmir saw a ray of hope to be free themselves from the Mahrajah’s oppression by being part of the newly created state of Pakistan, with which they had a geographical, historical and ideological affinities.