ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP): Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said India’s tall claims to bring development in Jammu and Kashmir by altering its status had been badly exposed as the Valley witnessed devastation in economy and tourism.
“India’s illegal act of August 5 has resulted into miserable conditions for Kashmiris, who are bearing the severe economic brunt due to communication blockade,” the Foreign Minister said at a photographic and cultural exhibition titled ‘Tribute to Kashmiris’ resilience in their just struggle for right to self-determination’.
President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and members of diplomatic community attended the event held at the lawns of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Minister Qureshi rejected India’s stance that Kashmir was its integral part, saying the issue remained on the agenda of Composite Dialogue and also of the United Nations Security Council.
He said the situation of continuous human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) needed attention of the international community to act urgently.
He said India, taking benefit of the 9/11 scenario, misled the world by linking the freedom struggle of Kashmiris with terrorism.
He urged diplomats to visit both sides of Kashmir -AJK and IIOJK, meet the local Kashmiris and assess the situation by getting first-hand information about the indigenous movement, wrongly been portrayed by India as orchestrated.
Qureshi said Pakistan wanted good relations with India as tensions impacted the development of South Asian region in areas of education, health and security in absence of optimal utilization of resources.
He said Pakistan under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of regional peace and security was ready to re-engage with India to resolve all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir through dialogue.
He stressed that in an environment of conflict between the two nuclear-armed States, “dialogue was the only sensible preference”.
The Foreign Minister called upon European Union and Organization of Islamic Cooperation to take notice of India’s persistent reign of abuse in IIOJK.
President AJK Masood Khan said Azad Kashmir besides its serene natural beauty offered a rich cultural heritage with linkages dating back to the incoming tribes of Central Asia.
He said shrines of saints built at mountain peaks and ancient temples in the Valley amidst the welcoming environment made the place an attractive tourist destination.
On the other hand, he said, the IIOJK had turned into a picture of horror and gloom where genocide became a norm and demography was being changed.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz said Pakistan had been supporting Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination for seven decades and “would never inch back”.
He said this struggle and expression of solidarity would continue until the implementation of UNSC resolutions in letter and spirit.
He stressed that India had vitiated the regional atmosphere with its unilateral act of August 5, saying the situation of oppression and atrocities could not be allowed to linger on.
He vowed Pakistan’s undeterred support to Kashmiris, which he said, would increase with each passing day.
The photographic exhibition depicted the diversity of Kashmiri culture besides showing the horrific tales of tyranny faced by people of IIOJK at the hands of Indian security forces.