Pakistani citizens living abroad should raise awareness about the plight of people in Jammu and Kashmir, which was annexed by India and reduced to a centrally administered territory a year ago, Pakistan’s ambassador to Ankara said on Wednesday.
Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi’s comments came at an event held in the Pakistani Embassy in Ankara where Youm-e-Istehsal, or Day of Exploitation, was marked with participation of officials, journalists and diplomatic representatives.
The Pakistani administration declared Aug. 5 as Youm-e-Istehsal to protest against the Indian government’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir, which Islamabad says are aimed at changing the demographic structure of the Muslim-majority region.
“In individual capacity, people [living abroad] can highlight the plight of Kashmiris, the injustices being done to them in illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir; and they can make friends, acquaintances in Turkey aware of what is happening in Kashmir,” said Qazi.
Pakistan’s top diplomat in Ankara said all human beings who attach importance to justice, freedom, and fairness should be “outraged by what is going on in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” adding “Pakistanis should remain firm and let counterparts, interlocutors know about developments” there.
When asked about the stance of the Turkish administration with regards to developments in Kashmir, the diplomat said both Pakistan and Turkey had a very long history of standing with each other and they supported each others’ causes and positions in a variety of international issues and Kashmir was not an exception.
Referring to the developments in February 2019 when India and Pakistan came at the brink of war with the international community being concerned of a nuclear escalation, Qazi said Turkey quickly took action and advised both sides to exercise restraint.
“Turkey imminently and sensibly advised de-escalation, meaningful dialogue, adherence to the international law and UNSC resolutions, and also offered mediation to Pakistan and India, which of course was accepted by Pakistan,” he said. “This is a sensible approach that needs to be applied to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and other countries should take a similar position so this issue is resolved.”
Muhammad Arshad Jan Pathan, deputy chief of mission, also read messages of Pakistani president and prime minister, expressing solidarity with people of Kashmir and calling the international community to take essential steps to ameliorate their sufferings.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
Already strained relations between the two neighbors further plummeted after India’s controversial move last year.
On Aug. 5, 2019 the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its Constitution, scrapping the state with its autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.
Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detained thousands of people, imposed movement restrictions and enforced a communications blackout.
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