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Pakistan to Launch Campaign to Highlight Kashmir Issue: Qureshi

by Newsweek Pakistan

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Foreign minister says the initiative will launch from Jan. 25 and continue through Kashmir Solidarity Day on Feb. 5

The Government of Pakistan will launch from Jan. 25 a campaign utilizing print, social and electronic media to highlight the situation in India-held Kashmir, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, he said the government had planned a series of events related to Kashmir to apprise people of the ground realities in the disputed region. Among these, he said, would be a cultural show, which would be staged at the Pakistan National Council of Arts on Jan. 27.

This would be followed on Jan. 28 by a photo exhibition staged nationwide on the struggle of Kashmiris, he said. On Jan. 30, the government is organizing a seminar in the federal capital on the atrocities of the Indian government in Kashmir. Kashmir Committee Chairman Syed Fakhar Imam would hold a press conference on Kashmir on Jan. 31, he added.

According to the foreign minister, the government would also next month arrange a function at Islamabad’s convention center to share and discuss with the youth the ground realties of Jammu and Kashmir. The same day, he said, the government would distribute rations in the refugee camps of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

On Feb. 4, a day ahead of Kashmir Solidarity Day, which falls on Feb. 5, Qureshi said President Arif Alvi would host an event at the Aiwan-e-Sadar in which the entire diplomatic corps would be invited. Feb. 5 itself, he said, would feature multiple events, including a human chain in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, an address by Prime Minister Imran Khan to members of the Kashmir Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad, and another address to a public gathering in Mirpur.

Rallies would also be staged across Pakistan to express solidarity with Kashmiri brethren, he added.

During the press conference, the foreign minister said regional peace and security were under threat following New Delhi’s unilateral scrapping of Kashmir’s special autonomy that had been enshrined in the country’s constitution. He said a humanitarian crisis was brewing in the disputed territory, and ground realities were corroborating Islamabad’s narrative. Noting that 175 had passed since India imposed a lockdown in Kashmir, usurping all fundamental rights, he said over 8 million people were living in an open prison.

According to Qureshi, India’s actions reflect its unilateralism, and prove it is not sincere about resolving issues through bilateralism. He reiterated that the P.M. Narendra Modi-led Indian government was following a Hinduvta agenda that was specifically targeting minorities there.

The foreign minister praised the Foreign Office’s efforts to bring Kashmir’s plight to the attention of the U.N. Security Council after a lapse of 50 years. Despite Indian attempts to block it, he said, the issue was debated at an international forum.

Listing the measures that had been undertaken in the recent past to highlight the Kashmir situation, Qureshi said that he had written letters to the U.N. secretary-general and the president of the U.N. Security Council on Dec. 12, 2019, detailing the gravity of situation in India-held Kashmir. The lettr sought to remind both leaders that the situation had only worsened since the Security Council deliberated on it on Aug. 16, 2019.

Similarly, said Qureshi, the issue was raised at the U.N. Security Council once again on Jan. 17, with China helping Pakistan to apprise the international community of prevalent situation in the held territory. He said all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council participated in a briefing on Kashmir that discussed all ongoing human rights and ceasefire violations in the region.

According to Qureshi, continued ceasefire violations along the Line of Control by India had been reported by the U.N. Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. He said the organization had admitted Pakistan was extending complete support and cooperation, while India was imposing a lot of restrictions on U.N. observers.

The foreign minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had raised the issue of Kashmir with U.S. President Donald Trump once again during their meeting on the sideline of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The premier has decided to launch a detailed campaign to sensitize the people of Pakistan and abroad on the issue of Kashmir, he added.

Responding to a question, he said all of India had risen up against the controversial citizenship act targeting minorities, adding this had exposed to the world the reality of a so-called secular and democratic India. In response to another question, Qureshi said all of Pakistan was united in raising the case of innocent Kashmiris on every international forum.

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