MIRPUR (AJK)    -   A Norway-based prominent Kashmir leader Sardar Ali Shahnawaz Khan has reprimanded Norwegian Foreign Minister’s weak stance on the latest deteriorating human rights conditions in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Referring Indian action of revoking special status of Jammu and Kashmir and imposing curfew, arresting the people, disconnection the telephone and internet in Indian occupied Kashmir, Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine M. Eriksen Søreide in a statement issued from Oslo on Sunday said, the Indian authorities justified the security measures with a desire to prevent riots and violent clashes, says a message  reaching and released to the media here Sunday evening.

Earlier, in a written question addressing the Foreign Minister Ine M. Eriksen Søreide, the parliament member Knut Arild Hareide from Christian Democratic Party (KrF) had asked her to give official stance regarding the situation in Indian formally occupied Kashmir.

Referring to Indian policy, Norway’s FM further said, “the Indian government explains the law amendment that the state’s special position has been a source of national divide and an obstacle to growth and development. It is stated that it was never intended that the state’s special position should be permanent.”

About international mediation between India and Pakistan, the FM said, the scope of action of external players is therefore limited in this context. She, however, emphasized that Norway has repeatedly called on India and Pakistan to enter into a dialogue to find a peaceful solution to the protracted conflict but said, a prerequisite for Norwegian involvement in the bilateral conflict is that if both parties want it.

In a statement reacting over Norwegian Foreign Minister’s statement Ali Shahnawaz Khan, who also enjoys support from Hurriyat Conference and JKLF Chief Yasin Malik from Occupied Kashmir, he has been disappointed by Norway’s weak stance on the Kashmir situation. It shows that the Minister is either ill-informed or unconcerned about the unprecedented lockdown of 8-million people in their homes since August 5.  Kashmir is not a part of India, it is a disputed territory, while India has occupied it illegally. He reminded Norway’s’ Foreign Minister that our country has always been emphasizing the implementation of the UN’s resolutions on Kashmir. How can its foreign minister appreciate a country like which violates the UN’s principles by squeezing the people of Kashmir?

I have serious objection over the stance the foreign ministry’s statement despite knowing that New Delhi has allowed its forces to use torture to suppress the peoples’ moment. It is well-documented that investigations had not led to the prosecution of any alleged perpetrators in the last 29-year, Khan maintained.

Norway is a champion of free speech, human rights and freedom of expression and how can state authorities turn back to grave human rights situation in Kashmir while other Western countries are expressing their serious concerns including German Chancellor Angela Marcel. Being a proud Norwegian citizen I believe in universal values, which are democracy and core values of human rights based on the rule of law. In this context, I expect Norway’s foreign Minister would take a bold position and condemn India’s muscular policies and support Kashmiri right of self-determination as envisaged in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

He further said a large number of the people from immigrants’ communities including Norwegian Kashmiris and our supporters express their concerns over Norway’s Foreign Minister’s statement on Jammu and Kashmir. It is important to mention that beside MP Knut Arild Hareide from Christian Democratic Party (KrF), two other MPs Petter Eide from SV party and John Bohler from Labour party have also asked the FM for a policy statement on Kashmir’s situation but she did not response them so far.