Remarks – Interactive session with All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir to the Institute

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Interactive session with
All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir to the Institute (APPKG)
19 September 2018

May I extend a very warm welcome to the members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir to the Institute for this interactive session.

Special thanks to MP Leslie for leading this group and travelling all the way to share thoughts with us in Pakistan and AJK on the situation in Kashmir, particularly with regard to human rights violations.

Warm welcome also to MP McIntyre, MP Imran Hussain, MP Faisal Rashid, and Lord Qurban Hussain.

We are also happy that Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry has joined us today. I know Barrister sahib for some time. He visited me in Holland and last in Washington DC. He has been one of the most active proponent of Kashmir cause travelling far and wide to convey the narrative of the Kashmiris.

May I also welcome other esteemed guests, among them Senator Abdul Qayyum, and former ambassadors.

I understand the Group has already visited AJK and met the leadership there and also visited LoC. Its been a long day for you. We appreciate your willingness to be here despite a rather busy schedule earlier in the day.

The situation in Kashmir is a matter of continuing concern. The people of Kashmir has waited for seven decades to have the dispute resolved as promised to them by UNSC resolutions. However, the Indian government has always frustrated any attempts to find a solution.

Now the more serious situation is with regard to the human rights of the people of Kashmir which are being violated with no regard for international law or human values.

The recent report by UN HC for HR says it all. It documents how systematically the human rights of the Kashmiris have been violated. The report also calls for a Commission of Inquiry. As always, the Indian government was quick to reject the report and has even denied access to the occupied Kashmir, where it is continuing to unleash atrocities on the innocent people.

At this session, we will talk about these issues. The order of the day is that I would first invite the Chairman of the Group MP Leslie to share his thoughts and observations. After that I would request Barrister Sultan Mahmood to say a few words. We would also like to briefly hear all the members of the group about their impressions. Then I would like to invite some comments from the audience like Senator Qayyum and Ambassador —. We would then open the floor for questions and answers. May I now invite MP Leslie to kindly share his thoughts with us.