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Pakistani Lawmakers Renew Support of Kashmir’s Right to Self-Determination

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Marking Accession to Pakistan Day on July 19, elected officials slam India’s ‘brutal occupation’ of disputed region

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday joined a chorus of Pakistani lawmakers marking Youm-e-Ilhaq-e-Pakistan (Accession to Pakistan Day), reaffirming Islamabad’s commitment to residents of India-held Kashmir fighting for the right to self-determination.

The All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference on July 19, 1947, had demanded of Srinagar’s rulers the accession of the state to Pakistan, honoring the desire of the state’s Muslim majority. The date is observed annually as a means to renew the historical resolution demanding Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.

In a posting on Twitter, Khan reiterated that the United Nations Security Council had recognized the right to self-determination of Kashmiris. “We will continue to fight for justice for Kashmiris as they struggle against the brutal and illegal actions of the Hindutva Supremacist Indian government in IOJK [India-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir],” he said. “We reaffirm our commitment to the Kashmiri people and stand with them in their struggle for self-determination,” he added.

Joining the prime minister was Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who said that July 19 marked the date when “true representatives of Jammu and Kashmir adopted a historic resolution for accession to Pakistan.” In a statement, he said that that Kashmiri resolve for self-determination had not diminished despite decades of Indian occupation. Pakistan “reaffirms unwavering support to Kashmiris in their just struggle for freedom,” he added.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, in a posting on Twitter, paid tribute to the courage of Kashmiris, saying “generation after generation of Kashmiri men, women and children have confronted and resisted Indian occupation, brutality and incarceration.”

Addressing a seminar at the National Press Club in Islamabad, Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Chairman Shehryar Khan Afridi said the government would continue to provide political and diplomatic support to the residents of the disputed region. He said India was violating international laws in the valley, adding the world must take note and censure Delhi about the implications of its actions. He also urged the U.N. to take notice of Indian atrocities in the occupied valley, according to Radio Pakistan.

In addition to the government officials, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said the world “must know that no other people have suffered as much as Kashmiris have for demanding their U.N.-sanctioned right to self-determination.”

On Aug. 5, 2019, New Delhi repealed Article 370 of its constitution, stripped Kashmir of its special status and dividing it into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. For the past year, large areas of the valley have been under a strict lockdown and communications blackout.

Earlier this year, the Indian government also notified new domicile laws for the region, allowing non-locals to apply for residency and government jobs—a move that critics say is designed to change the demographics of the region.

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