MIRPUR (AJK) - Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan said that the AJK people were gallant, and they would continue fighting for their freedom until they were granted their inherent right to self-determination in line with UN Security Council resolutions and their own aspirations to decide about their destiny.

Speaking at Kashmir Conference at Jammu Kashmir House on Thursday, the president termed India a coward enemy who was struggling hard to fight poorly equipped 250 militants with its 700,000 soldiers.

The conference was also addressed by Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs Ali Ameen Gundapur, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Senator Rehman Malik, Jamaat-e-Islami Occupied Kashmir leader Ghulam Muhammad Safi, Executive Director Kashmir American Council Dr Imtiaz, Chairman London based Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Council Dr Nazir Gillani, former Secretary Foreign Affairs Azaz Chaudhry, Convener All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Faiz Naqashbandi, Director Kashmir Media Service Sheikh Tajamul Islam, Dr Zafar Bangash, Younus Nabi Baig, Abdul Hamid Loan and others.

President Sardar Masood Khan while referring to statements of Indian defence ministry officials, who claimed that there were hardly 200 to 250 militants in the occupied valley, questioned that why India needed 700,000 army men to fight a few hundred militants? "India on one hand claims the presence of a couple of hundred militants in Occupied Kashmir and on the other it does not explain why there is a need to have 700,000 Indian forces and black laws in the occupied state," he said.

The president said that in fact Indian army backed by infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) is meant to suppress the political aspirations of the people of Occupied Kashmir and their just struggle.

Terming people of Kashmir most brave and courageous nation of the world, Masood Khan said they were fighting an armed to the teeth occupier with sticks and stones for over 70 years. "They are neither disappointed nor tired of their struggle to kick the aggressor out of their land," Masood Khan said and added Kashmiri people were struggling for their freedom and would continue their fight relentlessly until they achieved their goal. "Kashmiri youth, mostly teenagers are being blinded on mass-scale and women are raped to break the will of Kashmiri people, but India will never be able to succeed in her nefarious designs and ill motives," he added.

President Masood further said that Indian Occupation army's brutalities and barbaric acts had crossed all the limits especially in indiscriminate use of pellets guns for mass blinding of youth, which the global media had termed the first mass blinding in human history.

He urged India to respond positively Pakistan's offer of dialogue and opening of Kartarpura corridor as a confidence building measures. "New Delhi should respond by halting military operation in Occupied Kashmir and releasing all political prisoners detained and imprisoned in different jails of occupied Kashmir and India." The AJK president also paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of Kashmir struggle and said it was the blood of Kashmiris that had kept the Kashmir issue alive.

Condolence reference

Jammu Kashmir National Front has expressed deep sense of shock and grief over the demise of the mother of top jailed JKLF leader Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karatey. The National Front spokesman while expressing condolences over demise of mother of eminent Kashmiri freedom leader Farooq Dar, currently imprisoned in New Delhi's notorious Tihar Jail, said that one more son could not shoulder the coffin of his mother and could not have the last glimpse of her because of the unrealistic politics of India which has placed its political opponents in jails and Farooq Dar alias Bitta Karatey is one among them.

The JK National Front expressed solidarity with the bereaved family and strongly condemned the continuous incarceration of Bitta Karatey despite demise of his mother. The party said that Bitta Karatey along with Jammu Kashmir National Front chairman, Nayeem Khan and others are languishing in Tihar jail since July 2017 in fake and fabricated cases. The party spokesman stressed the release of all political prisoners who have been jailed only for their political ideology.

Winter vacations approved

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir Justice Ch Muhammad Ibrahim Zia has approved the winter vacations in the apex court, it was officially said.

According to an official notification issued on Thursday, the Honourable Chief Justice of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Justice Ch Muhammad Ibrahim Zia has ordered that winter vacations shall be observed from 24th December 2018 to 6th January 2019. However, the main office at Muzaffarabad as well as the Branch Registries at Mirpur and Rawalakot shall remain open except Sundays and all other gazette holidays during winter vacations. The Honourable Chief Justice of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has ordered that the Supreme Court of AJK shall hold its sitting at Branch Registry Mirpur from 19-12-2018 to 21-12-2018 (both days inclusive), according to another official communiqué. The Additional Registrar Branch Registry Mirpur has been directed to fix the cases for hearing accordingly, it added.