PM restates peace offer, asks India to lift siege of held Kashmir


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan on Tuesday reiterated conditionaloffer of peace to India, saying peace was linked to alleviating suffering of the Kashmiris and settlement of the dispute.

“We are ready for peace. But, for that India will have to end military siege of Kashmir and give right of self-determination to the Kashmiris in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said in a video statement on the occasion of Kashmir Black Day.

Kashmir Black Day is observed to remember the day Indian forces invaded Kashmir in 1947 and occupied it.

Emphasising the need for peace, Mr Khan said the subcontinent needed it the most because it was a pre-requisite for prosperity.

Delhi’s diplomat summoned to Foreign Office to lodge protest on occasion of Black Day

The prime minister recalled that soon after assuming office in 2018, he had offered India peace and told the Indian leadership that if they took one step towards peace, Pakistan would take two.

But, he regretted, India instead of moving towards peace annexed occupied Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019 and began a new chapter of injustice in the valley. “About 0.9 million troops imposed a military siege on eight million Kashmiris,” he said describing held Kashmir as “an open jail”.

He recalled that right of self-determination had been promised to the Kashmiris by the UNSC and promised to continue fighting for the Kashmiris’ right, both internationally and locally, till they got it.

“I will keep reminding the world about the tyranny and oppression being faced by the Kashmiris,” he said.

The prime minister said India’s state terrorism in held Kashmir was too obvious, where mass graves had been discovered, extra-judicial killings had happened and a media gag had been imposed.

Mr Khan said “state terrorism” being perpetrated by India in Pakistan too would be exposed before the world by his government.

Meanwhile, the Indian chargé d’ affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office to register protest on the occasion of Kashmir Black Day.

“It was demanded that the Indian government give the Kashmiris their legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Cou­ncil (UNSC) Resolutions which call for a free and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices,” the FO said.

It was further demanded that India rescind its illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019, immediately lift its military siege in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and reverse its illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory,” the FO added.

India was further asked to end extrajudicial killings of Kashmiri youth in fake encounters and so-called cordon-and-search operations and release the illegally detained Kashmiri youth and political leadership. Removal of restrictions on the media, internet and mobile communications in occupied Kashmir and access for independent observers, human rights organisations and international media to the occupied territory was also demanded.

The Indian diplomat was told that Delhi’s illegal steps could neither alter the disputed status of the occupied territory nor prejudice the Kashmiri people’s inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions, for which Pakistan extended the fullest support.

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain, speaking at an event hosted by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, said historical evidence presented by Andrew Roberts, Stanley Wolpert, Alastair Lamb and Andrew Whitehead proved that India had stage-managed occupation of the Jammu and Kashmir state on the pretext of the Instrument of Accession. The Indian troops had already entered the State of Jammu and Kashmir and occupied Srinagar airfield before the Instrument of Accession was signed, he maintained.

“Indian illegal occupation was blatantly formalised on Aug 5, 2019 through annexation. An inhuman lockdown by Indian occupation forces has led to loss of 0.4 million jobs and loss of $20 billion to the occupied state’s economy,” Senator Hussain said.