AJK President launches legal think-tank; calls for effective law-fare for Kashmiris’ rights

ISLAMABAD, January 19: Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), on Tuesday inaugurated a legal think tank at Millennium University College (TMUC) to promote a comprehensive understanding of legal issues among all stakeholders and to bring forward actionable recommendations on international law, foreign policy and national security challenges of Pakistan.  

Addressing the inauguration ceremony organized by Centre for Law and National Security (CLNS) at Millennium University College, the AJK President said that the multilateral judicial process is complex and therefore it is important that the whole nation must adopt a uniform legal approach to resolving and presenting the Kashmir issue.  “We have a vacuum in law-fare in relation to Kashmir and the academic discourses by think-tanks like CLNS can fill this void,” he added.

The event was also addressed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and National Security Advisor, Dr Moeed Yusuf, Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms Andleeb Abbas, Former Director-General, NDU Maj Gen (Retd.) Muhammad Samriz Salik, Honorary Chairman, Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices for Kashmir Justice (Retd.) Ali Nawaz Chowhan. Former Federal Minister for Law, Ahmer Bilal Soofi and CEO Roots Millennium School and Chairman Advisory Board CLNS, Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq.  

President Masood proposed that the government should invite jurists from all over Pakistan to present proposals on the Kashmir issue. He added that the proposals have to be then presented to the jurists and legal experts of the world. We must synergise our efforts and this can achieve fruition only if we have a strong political momentum overcoming the inertia.

Tracing the origin of the Kashmir issue, Masood Khan said that the people of Kashmir even before the creation of Pakistan vowed to join Pakistan on the basis of a natural bond and relationship between Kashmir and Pakistan. He said India after illegally occupying a major part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir practised “occupational constitutionalism” by falsely claiming Kashmir a part of India.

India, he said, during the past 73 years used its occupation forces to intimidate the Kashmiri people and even used economic and political inducements to woo the Kashmiri people. India also recruited political traitors to use them against the people of Kashmir. Loyalists like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti served Indian interests in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and played the role of facilitators to help India consolidate its illegal occupation of Kashmir.

The AJK President said that we should have a strong conviction that the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. He added that India has been harping on the falsehood of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of India. “We are not fighting for a distant land. These are our people”, he maintained.

 Highlighting the illegal actions taken by India in IOJK, the President said that the present BJP-RSS government in India illegally bifurcated the disputed State and made it a part of the Indian federation. Besides this, India has also issued a fake map in which AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan were shown as a part of India.

The State President said that last year under the New Domicile Rules over 2 million people from all over India have been granted Kashmiri domiciles and this number will increase to 5 million over the next two to three years. “The window for saving Kashmir is closing. In a matter of years, Kashmir, as we know, will no longer exist. We don’t have the luxury of time”, he warned.

The President said that the agenda of the BJP-RSS regime is driven by hatred, exclusionism and majoritarianism. “It is because of the Indian government’s Hindutva policy that Kashmir is the biggest hotspot for Islamophobia in the world. People of Kashmir are being punished simply because they are Muslims. Kashmir is also the biggest terrorist hotspot in the world as India forces are committing state terrorism against innocent Kashmiris”, he said.

 Khan said that India through these actions is violating international humanitarian law and norms of customary international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I, he said, prohibit deportation or transfer of a State’s own population in a territory it occupies while the Statute of International Criminal Court says that such transfers, direct or indirect, constitute a war crime. He said that UN Security Council resolutions, which are hard law, prohibit such activities.

 “The entire nation, as one body, must support the cause of Kashmir. The whole population must come out to the streets and squares in solidarity of the Kashmir people”, he said.

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