Pakistan president Arif Alvi Tuesday urged the United Nations to send a ‘fact finding mission’ to Kashmir and fulfill its “promise” of holding a UN-sponsored plebiscite to decide the political fate of Kashmiris.
Addressing a special session of the PaK legislative assembly on the occasion of ‘Kashmir solidarity day’, Alvi renewed Pakistan’s commitment to peaceful settlement of “all issues” and reminded India that its “atrocities cannot quell the popular public movement in Kashmir”.
The session was presided over by speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir.
For the first time, the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman and some members of his cabinet also witnessed the session from the visitors’ gallery.
Alvi hailed Kashmiris for their “unprecedented struggle and sacrifices” and said “brutal repression of the sentiments of any nation cannot yield results according to the choice of the oppressor”.
He said Palestinians have been “facing savagery” but they too are “alive as a nation”.
Asserting that the UN had a key role in the settlement of Kashmir issue, he said India had itself taken this issue to the world body and its first premier Jawaharlal Nehru had pledged to ascertain the opinion of Kashmiris through a free and fair plebiscite.
Referring to his recent meeting with the UN general assembly (UNGA) president, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Alvi said he told her that it was a need of the hour to send a “fact-finding mission” to Kashmir.
“If India believes that there is nothing to hide or that no atrocities are being committed in the territory, it should not have any objection to this kind of mission,” he said.
“I told the UNGA president to make the UN relevant and this relevancy will come (only) when the world body says and does something on Kashmir,” he said.
Pakistan believes in peaceful settlement of all issues and that’s why the Prime Minister Imran Khan extended a “hand of friendship” to India soon after coming to power, Alvi said.
“However, the way India responded is regrettable,” he said.
India has always backed out of commitments and agreements, including Simla Agreement that also calls for dialogue on all outstanding issues, Alvi alleged.
“India avoids talks with Pakistan under one or the other pretext because it lacks arguments on the one hand and perpetrates despicable human rights violation in Kashmir on the other,” Alvi said.
He said a strong and dignified Pakistan would help strengthen Kashmiris.
At the end of his speech, Alvi urged India to “release all Kashmiri political prisoners, lift ban on free speech, stop use of firearms on innocent Kashmiris, ban pellet guns, repeal black laws and allow foreign travels of pro-freedom leadership and lift restrictions on electronic communications”.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed from PPP, Abdul Majid Khan from PTI, Abdur Rashid Turabi from Jamaat-e-Islami, Malik Muhammad Nawaz from Muslim Conference and Sardar Hassan Ibrahim from JKPP also spoke on the occasion and expressed gratitude to entire Pakistani nation for their “unflinching support to cause of Kashmiris”.
The president, in a separate special message, recalled that the purpose of February 5 is to “demonstrate to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters and the world at large that we have not forgotten the long-pending dispute of Jammu and Kashmir and the struggle of the people of Kashmir.”
Alvi slammed international community’s “indifference to grave human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir”.
“It reduces the UN human rights charter to mere verbal rhetoric,” he said.
“Behind its false narrative of ‘killing militants’, India has been trying to justify its terrorism but has failed miserably,” Alvi alleged in the message, and described a report by the UNHRC about Kashmir a “turning point and a watershed moment for the Kashmiri community all over the world”.
The report is an opportunity for Pakistan to take the higher moral ground over India, he said.
“We reassure our Kashmiri brothers and sisters that we will remain consistent in our principled position on Kashmir. The entire Pakistani nation stands with its Kashmiri brethren in their valiant struggle to achieve the legitimate right to self-determination,” he said, adding: “It is our firm belief that Kashmiris will succeed in their struggle.”