London : Senior United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) leader Dr. Shabir Choudhry has said that the constant firing by the Pakistani forces along the Line of Control (LoC) has hurt the Kashmiris on both the sides.
In a meeting with British parliamentarians, Dr. Choudhry echoed the views of Dr. Misfer Hussain, a UKPNP leader who earlier had said the constant ceasefire violations by Pakistan was causing a lot of hardships for the Kashmiris and environmental issues.
Dr. Choudhry called on the Pakistani forces to stop the firing immediately.
“Like him, I also want this firing to stop immediately, because it hurts innocent people on both side of Jammu and Kashmir. It is totally wrong to assume that only people of so called Azad Kashmir (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) suffer as a result of this firing. Despite the propaganda to the contrary, bitter fact is that the Pakistani bombs and bullets also kill our people on the other side of the divide,” he added.
Dr. Choudhry claimed that during the presidential rule of General Pervez Musharraf, there was a ceasefire in the LoC and no firing-related incidents were reported at that time.
Coming down hard on the Pakistani forces, the senior UKPNP leader said, ” This strengthens the view that the firing on the LOC is deliberately started by the Pakistani army, which enables armed militants to infiltrate from the Pakistani side to commit acts of violence on the other side. If we are serious in stopping the LOC firing; and suffering of the people, then we have to tackle the root cause of infiltration. If infiltration stops, the LOC firing should stop too.”
Acknowledging that the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) was causing environmental hazards in Pakistan, he slammed Islamabad and Beijing for having ‘no interest’ in addressing the issues.
“Apart from the existing mega projects in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan, China is investing more than 60 billion dollars under the CPEC project. Tens of thousands of lorries travelling in each direction everyday will surely have enormous effect on the environment of the region. They have not allocated any funds for the problems related to the environment of the region, clearly indicating that it is not their priority,” Dr. Choudhry scoffed.
Stressing the part when Labour Party MP Fabian Hamilton made a reference to the contribution by the UK government, especially during the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, he further said, “We appreciate that contribution; however, I want to emphasise that any help given in name of people of Azad Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan should not be handed over to officials of Islamabad because it ends up somewhere else; and doesn’t reach the needy people.”
He went on to say that the victims affected in the earthquake in the PoK by and large, still continue to live in camps and do not have basic facilities they deserve, although tonnes of money was sent for them from the UK and elsewhere.
Accusing Pakistan of not honouring the UN resolutions and not vacating the areas of Jammu and Kashmir under their control, Dr. Choudhry explained, “The Resolution of August 13, 1948 clearly demanded that Pakistan must withdraw all their troops, together with all the tribesmen and those Pakistanis who went there for the purpose of fighting. After Pakistan’s complete withdrawal, India was to withdraw a ‘bulk’ of the troops.”
“Pakistan did not withdraw in 1948-49 and there is no way they will withdraw now, especially when China is investing 60 billion dollars on the CPEC which goes through Gilgit Baltistan,” he further said.
Acknowledging that a lot has changed since the UN resolutions was passed, Dr. Choudhry said that Kashmiri pandits were forced to leave their homes in Kashmir Valley and slammed Pakistan for discarding the state subject laws, allowing its people to settle in Gilgit Baltistan.
“This has changed demography of the region. In practise, the UN Resolutions are not implementable. In my opinion, a new mechanism has to be evolved that will of the divided people could ascertained,” Dr. Choudhry asserted.
Condemning the human right abuses on the Kashmiris on both the sides, he claimed that there were some people, who only want to talk of human right violations in Jammu and Kashmir, especially abuses against the Pandit community.
Describing himself as a ‘victim of Pakistani policies’ in PoK, Dr. Choudhry said, “My identity card which is fundamental to life in Pakistan and in areas of Jammu and Kashmir under their control, was not renewed. I could not travel with dead body of my father who died in Luton in August 2015. Denial of the ID card means denial of my fundamental rights. I cannot visit my home in Azad Kashmir. (PoK).”
He claimed that Pakistan did not allow him to travel freely and to meet his friends and relatives. He could not stay in any hotel, without any ID card.
The senior UKPNP leader went on to day that he did not have the right to buy or sell property without the ID card and his bank accounts were frozen.
Continuing his tirade against Islamabad, Dr. Choudhry added that he could not publish any books in Azad Kashmir (PoK) because the Pakistan government had put a ban his my books, thereby denying him the right of expression. He also said that could not hold any public meeting, which is a denial of a right to assemble and express my political views.
“Apart from me, many other people in so called Azad Kashmir are suffering due to the oppressive policies of Pakistan; and sadly, we are not even allowed to complain about the problems we encounter due to their wrong policies,” he continued.
Calling on the need for an independent Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Choudhry said, “The Jammu and Kashmir diaspora has an important role to play in our quest for independence; and I expect the Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance (JKNIA) to take initiative in their own hand, and bravely counter designs of those who are enemies of peace and our independence.”
The JKNIA recently arranged a lobbying on Jammu and Kashmir dispute in the British Parliament, where lobbyists met individual MPs, followed by a joint meeting.
Around fifteen members of the alliance representing various political parties were present in the Parliament, together with Ershad Malik who represented sentiments of people of the Kashmir Valley.
Apart from Dr. Choudhry, Amjad Yousaf, Shaukat Hussain and Qamar Khalil were there to represent the UKPNP in the British Parliament.
Other people who spoke in the meeting included Dr. Hussain, Sajjad Raja, councillor Ghulam Hussain, Ershad Malik and Rizwan Siddique. The people who made to the lobbying included Abbas Butt, Zafar Hussain, Zohaib Hasrat, Sahim Manzoor, Mohammed Azeem and Zaheer Sahib. (ANI)