ISLAMABAD: Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the Kashmiris’ struggle for independence from Indian rule and said that the country will stand by the people of the besieged valley till its final victory. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad flanked by Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Special Assistant for National Security Moeed Yousuf, the federal minister regretted that no one other than the Kashmiris themselves knows exactly what has happened during the past one year of the brutal clampdown in the Himalayan region by Indian occupation forces. “To date, Kashmir suffers a communication blackout and basic human rights violations,” the minister regretted. After the coronavirus, the minister said that the world ought to understand what it feels like to live under lockdown and to endure forceful restrictions. He highlighted that Kashmiris have been enduring a “double lockdown” (the coronavirus lockdown as well as restrictions imposed by Indian occupation forces) for a year, he added. He said that he wanted to send a message of solidarity to Kashmiris all over the world. “The Pakistani nation stood with the Kashmiris yesterday, stands with them today, and will stand with them till the final victory,” Qureshi said. Maintaining that Prime Minister Imran Khan represented himself as the ambassador of Kashmiris by putting forward the case of Kashmir in the United Nations, the minister said that the premier has had more than 100 engagements in order to highlight the plight of Kashmiris during the last two years. “The struggle of Kashmiris on August 5 is a new turning point for independence. On this day, New Delhi snatched their flag, tried to erase their identity by dividing them; but whether it was Hindu pandit or a Buddhist follower, no one accepted it,” the minister said. Stressing that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution has identified Kashmir as a disputed region, the foreign minister said that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on the other hand tried to forcibly integrate it into India. He said the world knows that occupied Kashmir is the world’s largest military zone where basic human rights are violated. Referring to internal conflicts in India regarding the new citizenship bill and riots against Modi’s Hindutva policies, the minister underscored: “India was severely criticised in international media. Shining India has been seen as Burning India during the past few months.” Informing that he had written nine letters to the UN secretary-general on the Kashmir issue, Qureshi said that the Kashmir issue was raised in the UN Security Council three times in a year, when in the preceding 55 years Kashmir resolutions “had been buried in the dust”. Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that there was unjustified bloodshed in Indian-occupied Kashmir and the Government of Pakistan has devised a plan to give voice to the atrocities endured by its people. He said the whole nation can show solidarity by commemorating the injustices suffered by Kashmiris on August 5. Meanwhile, aide on national security Moeed Yousaf said that it has been a year to Pakistan’s national narrative against the exploitation of rights in Kashmir.
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