Azad Kashmir president calls on global community to save Kashmiris

MUZAFFARABAD, PAKISTAN - JULY 25: People wait in queue to cast their votes during General Elections of Azad Jammu and Kashmir outside the polling station in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on July 17, 2021. ( Chudary Naseer - Anadolu Agency )

Masood Khan says India has no right to sit in UN Security Council

ISLAMABAD (AA) – The president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Thursday objected to India’s inclusion in the UN Security Council (UNSC), despite committing “war crimes” in the disputed region under its control.

As a non-permanent member for two years, India on Aug. 1 assumed the presidency of UNSC for the month of August.

In a video message sent to Anadolu Agency on the second anniversary of India’s annexation of the disputed Himalayan valley, Masood Khan said “the cover of impunity given to India should be withdrawn.”

On Aug. 5, 2019, New Delhi stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status and divided it into two centrally ruled territories.

“Two years ago, India invaded, reoccupied and besieged the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The occupation continues, the siege continues,” Khan said.

During the last two years, he added, thousands of men, boys and children have been illegally detained and tortured in prison houses and concentration camps.

“Millions of Hindus from India have been illegally domiciled to reduce Muslim majority in the occupied state,” he said, arguing that 80% of the Kashmir’s land has been expropriated for Hindu settlements and businesses.

Khan accused Indian forces of killing hundreds of Kashmiri youth during cordon and search operations, saying: “India has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

“Under the Geneva Conventions and international law, India must be held accountable for these heinous crimes. The cover of impunity given to India should be withdrawn. Against this backdrop, India has no right to sit with the Security Council, or preside over it. We condemn India’s terrorism in the occupied territory,” the president said.

He demanded of the international community to take action and save Kashmiris from “decimation and destruction.”

He thanked world parliaments and media networks for speaking up for Kashmiris in the past. “But now, when the very identity of the state and its people is being erased, the world is silent,” he lamented.

Khan also praised the role of Pakistan for its “strong and steadfast solidarity” with the Kashmiris.

Disputed region

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been the main ingredient in the long-simmering rivalry between Pakistan and India since the two nuclear-armed neighbors gained independence from the British Empire in 1947.

The picturesque Himalayan valley is held by the two countries in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since 1947, the two neighbors have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict since 1989.

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