WASHINGTON -  Azad Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan told a gathering of Pakistani and Kashmiri community on Saturday that Indian Occupied Kashmir was “burning” since the July martyrdom of popular youth leader Burhan Wani, and he made a clarion call for the resolution of the decades-old Kashmir dispute.

“The world community has a stark choice to make: to be hamstrung by the dictates and dynamics of realpolitik or to take steps to help resolve the Kashmir dispute in pursuance of the UN Charter’s core objective: maintenance of international peace and security,” he said at a luncheon hosted by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani.

Masood Khan, a former Pakistani diplomat, said the situation in disputed Kashmir requires immediate attention of international community and emphasised  a sense of urgency to take action since it’s not business as usual.

Since July 8, the Azad Kashmir President said, hundreds of Kashmiri men, women and children had been killed over the past two months; more than 150 civilians had been blinded by the use of lethal pellet guns; and more than 10,000 men, women and children were seriously injured because of the indiscriminate firing by occupying Indian forces. 

Commenting on the Indian claims that pellet guns were non-lethal, Masood Khan remarked that the Doctors Association in Kashmir had clearly said that the embedded pellets in the bodies of the victims were causing fatal lead poisoning and put pregnant women at serious risk.

Further, the toxic lead deposits in children bodies would stunt their growth.

The AK President said that the Kashmiris in IOK were under siege in their own land. The use of sexual molestation and rape, as an instrument of terror, had been common. Peaceful demonstrations were a crime, political meetings were banned and true representatives of Kashmiri people had been incarcerated.

He drew attention towards the prolonged curfews and mobile telephone and Internet blackouts in IOK, stating that Indian occupation forces in the occupied territory had been hunting down innocent citizens involving draconian black laws.

Masood Khan briefed the Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora on the steps taken by his govt towards good governance in Azad Kashmir.

He commended the bold and unambiguous stance taken by Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on the Kashmir issue during his address to the UN General Assembly.

He urged Kashmiri diaspora to use and pool all resources at their disposal to promote the Kashmir cause.

In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador Jilani said AJK President’s visit was part of Pakistan’s efforts to apprise the international community about the reign of terror unleashed by India in IoK.

The Ambassador said that the main focus of PM Sharif’s visit to New York was to focus international attention on the deteriorating situation in Kashmir.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, he said that Prime Minister highlighted the massive human rights violations, called for an end to repression, repeal of draconian laws and a meaningful dialogue to resolve Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions.

The Prime Minister, Ambassador Jilani said, also demanded the formation of a UN fact finding mission to investigate the Human rights violations.