MIRPUR (AJK)-The UK-based Kashmiri community has demonstrated strong commitment for early grant of the right to self-determination to the people of Jammu & Kashmir, said AJK President Sardar Masood Khan.

He was addressing Kashmir Conference hosted by the Kashmir Supreme Council and headed by Raja Sikandar in London. The president said that over the decades the Pakistani and Kashmiri expats in the UK had acquired political and economic standing as they have members in the House of Commons and House of Lords, and their voice was respected.

He urged them to communicate frequently with their members of the Parliament so that they in turn raise the issue in the House of Commons, as well as with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Prime Minister. “You underestimate your political clout and what you can do for the Kashmir cause,” he said.

He gave a message of hope to the participants of the conference, saying that Kashmiris have shed their blood to win freedom from Indian repression, not for the status quo or for “innovative, out of the box solutions”. He said that India was targeting Pakistani-Kashmiri diaspora to divide them and sow seed of doubts in their ranks. “Don’t be intimidated or confused by the Indian campaign of distortion of facts related to Kashmir and misrepresentation of the Kashmir cause. Stay united and we will succeed,” he asked them.

The president said that in IOK there was a peaceful movement for liberty. “There is no terrorism in IOK being perpetrated by Kashmiris; the Kashmiris are unarmed and are being brutalised by 700,000 occupation forces. The false propaganda about militancy in Kashmir, he said, must be exposed.

The time, he added, had come to raise the Kashmir issue internationally in the United Nations, world parliaments, and civil society to build pressure on India to end human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. India was committing crimes against humanity in the Indian Occupied Kashmir under the cover of the international community’s inattention and lack of accountability for Indian occupation forces operating in IOK, he said.

The village defence committees in Jammu are recruiting RSS Hindu extremists to harass and persecute Muslim to force them to leave their homes and migrate, he said. “This is a move towards a planned exodus of Muslims, as it happened in 1947. There is head money for killing Kashmiris,” he said.

Kashmir, he said, was neither a forgotten story nor an intractable issue. “It is very much on the front burner for the Kashmiris in the IOK and Azad Kashmir who give blood every day to gain their freedom,” he said. The president expressed his confidence that the dark night of India’s terrorism in Kashmir will soon come to an end and Kashmiris will win their freedom from Indian oppression, not as a result of an act of charity, but because of their sacrifices for their right to self-determination.

He expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s strong stance on Kashmir and its resolute advocacy of the Kashmir despite huge pressures and costs over the past seven decades. He highlighted the complementarily between Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir because of historical bonds, geographical contiguity, economic ties, and cultural harmony.

He told the audience, “Pakistani armed forces never target civilians on the other side of Line of Control because we consider that our own citizens and brothers and sisters live there. On the other hand, Indian occupation forces deliberately target and kill civilians living close to the LOC in Azad Kashmir. This is continuation of their terror in the cordoned off territory of IOK.”

The conference participants expressed dismay over the inaction of the United Nations and underlined the need for an inclusive approach to reach out to civil society all around the world.