Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday reiterated that Pakistan would continue moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris in their exemplary struggle for right of self-determination and no decision against their will would be accepted.
“There is no solution to the Kashmir issue except a plebiscite. The commemoration of the Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 is renewal of the very resolve. I make it clear to the entire world that durable peace in South Asia is linked to the resolution of Kashmir dispute,” said the Prime Minister in his address to the joint session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly and Kashmir Council in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day here.
AJK LA Speaker Ghulam Sadiq Khan chaired the session which was also attended by AJK President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan and Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir and Chairman Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The Prime Minister said his government had raised the Kashmir issue at every platform. “Our hearts beat with those of Kashmiris,” he remarked.
He said no agenda of dialogue would be considered complete unless it included Kashmir. “Our stance is very clear that the future of 1.5 billion people living in India and Pakistan is linked to the peaceful Kashmir solution,” he added. “Today, I am here to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. All of you know that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Historically as well as geographically, both Kashmir and Pakistan are naturally like one soul and two hearts. We are together for centuries and cannot be separated. We share our joys, sorrows, culture and festivals, which we celebrate together,” he remarked.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was on the path to progress and his government was striving for similar development in Kashmir as well so that the people could live a prosperous life there. He said the development projects in Kashmir were also being funded with a defined time-frame to avoid any delay in their completion. He said special funding arrangement was made for the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project so that it could be completed without any further delay. The project being executed in Kashmir would benefit the people of the region by creating employment opportunities and providing electricity, the Prime Minister hoped.
He also paid tribute to the Kashmiri martyrs who sacrificed their lives in their endeavour for freedom. For the last six decades, he said, the valiant Kashmiri people were struggling for self-determination despite brutalities. Looking at their resolve and steadfastness, their destination seemed not to be far away, he added.
He said although the course was tough, the morale of Kashmiris was high. The goal of freedom would surely be achieved one day. The people of Pakistan supported their Kashmiri brethren in this journey. The whole world was witnessing that the series of sacrifices and martyrdom was going on but Kashmiris’ struggle could not be suppressed by force, he added.
Nawaz Sharif said with each passing day, the slogan of freedom was raised with a renewed resolve. Around 700,000 military personnel were deployed to frighten the Kashmiris struggling for their freedom but they could not undermine their (Kashmiris’) zeal. “They only demand that they may be given their recognised right of self-determination. This is their human, legal and moral right. This demand should weigh heavily on the conscience of civilised world,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he had raised the Kashmir issue before the world in his address at the United Nations General Assembly and drew attention of the international organisations to the atrocities being perpetrated there. He said in his meeting with the UN Secretary General, he stressed the need for implementation of Security Council resolutions on Kashmiris’ right of self-determination. The non-implementation of UNSC resolutions should be a matter of concern for the world body, he added.
“He [the UN Secretary General] had no answer to that. He kept mum. The silence was not fair. The UN should realise its responsibility,” he remarked. He said the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) was also requested to help resolve the Kashmir dispute. The Pakistani parliament had repeatedly passed resolutions to show solidarity with the Kashmiri brothers and sisters on behalf of the entire nation.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan always emphasised a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue supporting the genuine demand of self- determination. Efforts for a comprehensive dialogue with India were still under way, though the latter was using delaying tactics, he added. He believed that the blood of martyrs of Kashmir freedom struggle would not go waste and the goal of freedom would surely be achieved.
“The sun of freedom will rise bringing an end to oppression. The struggle continued since generations will finally succeed and future generations will live a free life,” said the Prime Minister. He said the Federal Government wanted harmonious ties with the AJK Government and it would continue supporting the region’s development without any discrimination.
He said the AJK would greatly benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that consisted of roads and power plants. Work on Khunjrab-Rai Kot Expressway, he added, had been started while he had ordered for the early launch of work on Islamabad-Murree-Muzaffarabad Expressway. The project, he said, was conceived during his previous tenure.
He committed to visiting the AJK again in March along with cabinet members concerned to discuss all the proposed projects and demands put forward by the AJK Prime Minister and other leaders while addressing the joint session. He said the issue of refugees and power projects would also be thoroughly discussed. The Prime Minister also announced that his government would fund the construction of AJK Legislative Assembly building, saying it would be a gift from the Government of Pakistan to Azad Kashmir.
He said his government never believed in discriminating people on political grounds and stressed to promote such traditions to help strengthen the country, democracy, institutions and enrich country’s image. He said the operation Zarb-e-Azb had been launched on the will of entire political leadership and no militant outfit would be tolerated any more in the country. The Counter-Terrorism Force had been raised in Punjab and other provinces would also follow suit to eliminate terrorism. He said the government was also making efforts to strengthen democracy and bring stability throughout the country. If the future governments followed such policies, the country would get rid of all major issues.