MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) President Masood Khan has called on the Australian parliament, the government and the civil society to raise their voice against human rights violations in the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).
He expressed these views while talking to former Australian senator and human right activist Lee Rhiannon, who is currently visiting Azad Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan at the invitation of President Masood. In the past, Senator Rhiannon has been advocated protection of human rights of the Kashmiri people for which she has been frequently criticised by the Indian media.
She is senior leader of the Australian Green and has served as member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. President Masood said that the Indian atrocities have reached at peak since July 2016 when Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a popular youth leader, was gunned down by the Indian forces in a fake encounter. The popular reaction over the martyrdom of Wani was crushed by the foreign forces by the use of brutal force.
He commended the efforts of Lee Rhiannon in support of Kashmiris rights which include their inalienable right to self-determination. He highlighted that the recent report on the human rights situation in the Kashmiri state released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has asked India to respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.
On the occasion, Senator Rhiannon said that she would continue to speak on the plight of the Kashmiris and the need for a lasting solution of the Kashmir issue. She thanked President Masood for inviting her to visit Azad Jammu Kashmir and said that she had undertaken visit to fully understand the dynamics of the Kashmir issue.
President Masood sought support of the senator for two key recommendations by the OHCHR report namely constitution of a Commission of Inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations, and repeal of draconian laws. He said that Australia should call on India to give access to the commission and repeal the black laws – Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act – which are used by Indian forces to brutalize Kashmiris.
Senator Rhiannon said that awareness about the serious human rights situation should be raised at the global level. The president apprised Senator about the moves made by India to change demography in the occupied territory through illicit transfer of population, proposed illegal settlements, granting of residential rights to so-called west Pakistani refugees and giving Kashmiri property to non-Kashmiris.