UN resolutions only way forward to peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute; AJK PM tells Australian envoy

MIRPUR (AJK), Jun 05 (APP): Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Chudhary Anwar ul Haq Monday said that the implementation of the UN resolutions was the only way forward to settle the long-standing Kashmir dispute peacefully.

Talking to Australian High Commissioner Neil Hawkins who called on him at the state metropolis, he stressed the need for early resolution of the long standing dispute.

He said that hundreds of thousands of innocent Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian troops during the ongoing freedom movement. “There are thousands of anonymous mass graves discovered in different areas within and outside the Kashmir valley”, the AJK PM said.

Referring to the massive troops’ concentration in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), he said that the Occupied Kashmir has been classified as the world’s highest militarized zone where India had deployed over 9 lakh forces to crush the Kashmiris legitimate political struggle.”The human rights situation has further worsened in the IIOJ&K since the Modi government stripped the region of its special status by abrogating Article 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution”, the PM said, adding that essential fundamental freedoms including the people’s right to freedom of assembly, the right to protest and rights to freedom of speech and expression remain largely suppressed in the region.

“India has denied Kashmiris of their fundamental human rights in occupied Kashmir”, he said. Referring to the existing political harmony in the liberated territory, the PM said that democratic traditions were very strong in Azad Kashmir and people fully enjoy their political and democratic rights.

“In Azad Kashmir people enjoy complete freedom, there are no restrictions whatsoever in Azad Kashmir,while the situation on the other side of the Line of Control is quite different”, he said, adding that the occupation authorities have caged the entire Hurriyat leadership and suppressed every form of dissent in the region. Chaudhry Anwar said that his government was working to exploit the full potential of hydel and tourism in the region.

“After the thirteenth constitutional amendment, the status of the Kashmir Council is no more than an advisory council and the powers of the council have been transferred to the Azad Kashmir government”, the PM said.

He said that Azad Kashmir was also a victim of climate change. He, however, maintained that there was a complete ban on cutting down trees in Azad Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion, Neil Hawkins expressed his pleasure at visiting Azad Jammu Kashmir. “Azad Kashmir is one of the beautiful places in the world, the natural beauty here is a source of great interest for tourists”, he said, adding that along with domestic tourists, foreign tourists’ influx into the region was a good sign for the local economy.

The Australian High Commissioner said that he was happy to attend the literary festival held in Muzaffarabad. He said that Australia will provide its full support regarding water and food security. Member of the Legislative Assembly Abdul Majid Khan and Political Secretary of the Australian High Commission Mairi Robertson were also present at the meeting.