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‘Will Fight for Kashmiris Until Right to Self-Determination Ensured’

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Pakistan’s prime minister says peace in South Asia requires end to military siege of Kashmir, plebiscite in accordance with U.N. Resolutions

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said he would continuously fight for the rights of the people of Kashmir until they are granted the right to self-determination.

In a pre-recorded message to mark Oct. 27, the day on which Indian forces occupied Kashmir in 1947, Khan said he would pursue this goal both locally and internationally. “I’ll talk to heads of state, international media outlets. I will repeatedly remind the world about the abuses being suffered by the Kashmiri people,” he added.

Accusing India of state terrorism, the prime minister said that while their actions in Kashmir were visible to all, his government would also inform the world of Delhi’s state-backed terrorism in Pakistan. “We want just one thing: we want peace,” he said.

Khan reiterated an earlier claim that if India took one step toward peace, Pakistan would take two. “I still believe that there is nothing more important to the people of South Asia than peace,” he said. “Only through peace can prosperity be achieved,” he added.

“We are always ready [for peace],” vowed the prime minister. “But to achieve that, you [India] will have to end the military siege in Kashmir and grant Kashmiris the right to self-determination in accordance with U.N. Resolutions,” he added.

According to Radio Pakistan, the prime minister—in a written statement—also noted that none of the atrocities perpetrated by India had broken the will of the Kashmiri people. “The international community bears witness that Indian state-terrorism, extrajudicial killing of innocent Kashmiris, unprecedented restrictions in freedom of speech, fake encounters, cordon-and-search operations, custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership and youth, use of pellet guns, destruction and burning of houses to inflict collective punishment on the Kashmiris communities and other methods of subjugation have failed to shake the resolve of the Kashmiris people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination,” he said.

“For its part, Pakistan will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Kashmiri people and extend all possible support to them until they realize their legitimate right to self-determination,” he added.

The prime minister also criticized India’s unilateral actions to bring about demographic change in India-held Kashmir, claiming this had exposed yet another dimension of RSS-inspired Hindutva ideology. “The dangerous mix of extremist ideology (Hindutva) and hegemonic designs (Akhand Bharat) is imperiling regional peace and stability,” he stressed.

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