UN resolutions-based Kashmir settlement only pathway to South Asia peace: Maleeha

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 27 (IFTIKHAR ALI - APP): Reaffirming Pakistan's "resolute" support to Kashmiri people's struggle for freedom from the illegal Indian occupation, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said Friday that a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute was the "only pathway for lasting peace and stability in South Asia."

"The people of Pakistan are resolute in their abiding commitment and steadfast political, diplomatic and moral support to the legitimate cause of the Kashmiri people," Dr. Lodhi, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN, said in an interview with APP on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of India's massive invasion and occupation of Kashmir, known as "Black Day." .

"Every day of brutal Indian occupation is a black day," she said in a voice charged with emotion.

"The story of Kashmir has been an unremitting tale of pain and suffering, for generations of Kashmiri men, women and children," the Pakistani envoy said. "For the last seventy years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have waited for fulfillment of the solemn pledge made to them by several UN Security Council resolutions to exercise their right to self-determination."

The Indian occupation had seen the worst form of state oppression, aimed to subdue the spirit of the people of Kashmir, where over 100,000 have become martyrs to the cause of freedom, she said. During the ongoing wave of protests, Indian occupation forces deliberately targeted Kashmiri protestors with pellet guns, to maim and blind, as many of them as possible.

"India has thus gained the infamy of committing the first ‘mass blinding’ in human history," Ambassador Lodhi said.

"The recent large-scale and well-orchestrated incidents of braid-chopping in occupied Kashmir, is yet another sinister attempt by the Indian occupation to violate the dignity and sanctity of women in the occupied territory."

At the same time, she said, India continues to escalate the situation along the Line of Control, in order to deflect global attention from its atrocities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. This year alone, India has committed over 1100 ceasefire violations, a three-fold increase from 2016.

"We have warned India to desist from making any strategic miscalculation that could threaten regional peace and stability. While Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint, we are fully capable of responding to any provocation in a timely and effective manner."

Despite Indian tactics, the Pakistani envoy said, the Kashmiri people were firm in their conviction that their quest for freedom cannot be suppressed through the barrel of a gun; their right to self-determination cannot be denied by any false pretense of sham elections; their indigenous struggle cannot be de-legitimized by blaming others.

"A peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions is both an imperative of justice, as well as the only pathway for lasting peace and stability in South Asia," Ambassador Lodhi added.

Meanwhile, a special meeting to discuss the Kashmir issue in all its aspects will be held on Sunday at the Pakistan Consulate General in New York to mark Black Day.

Members of Kashmiri and Pakistani communities in New York will attend the meeting, which is being hosted by Consul General
Raja Ali Ejaz.

In a statement, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, who is in Berlin, Germany, to participate in the 'Million Man March' said that the struggle for freedom from Indian occupation would continue until the goal was accomplished.

The March near the Berlin Wall was announced by Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, a former prime minister of Azad Kashmir.

About the significance of the Berlin Wall, Fai said the Kashmir ceasefire line also divides the land and the families. He warned that there are some quarters who were suggesting to convert the ceasefire line into an international border. He warned that the proposals such as converting the ceasefire line into an international border were not only a non-solution but also a fallacy because it mocked the suffering, anguish and pain of Kashmiris.

Fai said that India's attempt to legalize its illegality rests on a bogus 'Instrument of Accession' by a Maharaja that the ruler had no authority to sign.

Even Alaister Lamb, a British scholar, had convincingly demonstrated that the Instrument was a bogus, he said. An original of the instrument has never been found, and there was no plausible explanation for disappearance if an original had ever existed.

Fai said that in their historic struggle for the self-determination, the people of Kashmir with poise, confidence and unity are taking their struggle to a new direction of non-violence and peaceful agitation.

In his statement, Sardar Sawar Khan, a former member of Azad Kashmir Council, said that a systematic campaign of terror had been launched against the people of Kashmir, with over 600 cases of pellet gun injuries. A deliberate targeting of youth with the intent to crush the movement should be of grave concern to leaders of the civilized nations, including the UN.

Sardar Sawar Khan stressed that Kashmir was a powder keg, and the issue could not be left to bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan, a format that has proven sterile for more than 70 years. He added: "What is needed is outside mediation and an equal partnership negotiating role for the people for Kashmir represented by the All‑Parties Hurriyet Conference. That approach cut the Gordian knot in Northern Ireland, and it would seem equally promising if applied in Kashmir."

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