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Pakistan to Represent Innocent Kashmiris at Every Forum: Imran Khan

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Prime minister says Islamabad will continue to extend political, diplomatic, moral support to residents of India-held Kashmir

Pakistan will remain the “voice of innocent Kashmiris” by forcefully highlighting their plight at every available international forum, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday.

“Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris,” Khan said during a meeting with renowned Kashmiri activist Tony Ashai at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad.

A globally acclaimed architect by profession, Ashai is a Kashmiri based in California. He has been a strong proponent of the rights of Kashmiris, and has repeatedly criticized the actions of the incumbent Indian government in denying residents of Jammu and Kashmir their due rights.

During their meeting, the two discussed the ongoing human rights crisis in India-held Kashmir, condemning the “severe oppression and barbarity” being perpetrated by security forces against residents of the disputed region.

Khan, once more, urged the international community to realize the anti-Muslim agenda of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming it a threat to regional peace. “The RSS [Hindua nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] and Hindutva ideology are attempting to erase the identity of millions of Muslims residing in India,” he said.

Ashai thanked the prime minister for raising the issue of Kashmir at the international level, including the United Nations, where he used his address to the General Assembly earlier this year to warn of the threats facing Kashmiris. The activist also apprised Khan of his personal efforts to apprise American senators and members of Congress about the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.

On Aug. 5, 2019, New Delhi unilaterally scrapped the special autonomy India-held Kashmir had enjoyed under the Indian constitution. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government deployed hundreds of thousands of troops to the region in anticipation, claiming this was required to maintain peace. Over four months later, the region remains under virtual lockdown, with limited phone and internet service. Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris also remain under detention, while there are regular reports of security forces violently suppressing protests against Delhi’s actions.

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