Kashmiris must be included in mediation talks, says AJK president - Pakistan Today

Kashmiris must be included in mediation talks, says AJK president

MIRPUR: Commenting on the offer of mediation made by United States President Donald Trump during his visit to India, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan said that the people of Pakistan and Kashmir were always open to mediation and intercession.

The AJK president made these remarks while interacting with a multi-national delegation led by the Institute of International Peace Leaders (IIPL) Chairman Muhammad Attaur Rehman and IIPL Vice-Chairperson Lady Mya Amarise in the federal capital on Wednesday.

The delegation consisted of diplomats, media professionals, businesspersons, philanthropists and economists. The delegates present belonged to the UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

IIPL is an international, nonpartisan, independent institute, basically based in Pakistan, dedicated to promoting peace and security, interfaith harmony, and sustainable development.

The AJK president said that such a process should be credible and take aboard all the parties to the dispute – Pakistan, India, United Nations (UN) and the people of Kashmir.

In any formal or informal negotiations, he said, the voice of the Kashmiri people must be included because no solution is possible without their explicit free expression of political will for determining their destiny and persona.

He reiterated that, in any case, the mediatory efforts should not attempt to supplant the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Kashmir which are the anchor sheet for ascertaining the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Hence, he asserted, these resolutions and the UN Charter should be the starting point and the foundation of the mediatory process.

When Trump, Khan said, made his initial offer of mediation last July, it was welcomed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan. However, its lustre started wearing thin when caveats and conditions were added to the original offer to assuage India, he said. Besides, the peace deal on Palestine has also raised apprehensions that mediation by a single nation or statesman could tilt in favour of India and might legitimise the status quo.

“This would be disastrous and a repudiation of the 200-year-old struggle of the Kashmiri people for liberty and self-determination”, he said.

“The United States is a preeminent power and an influential permanent member of the UNSC. Raising the issue of Kashmir against the backdrop of bonhomie during Trump’s visit to India was in itself an act of statesmanship”, he said, adding that words or intentions alone will not stop genocide and land grab in Kashmir but instead, it requires urgent and concrete actions.