Zardari, Raja vow to work for just resolution of Kashmir issue
MUZAFFARABAD: A special joint session of the AJK Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council was held here on Tuesday to express solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir.
In their messages read out at the session, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to stand by its Kashmiri brethren and find a just and peaceful solution to the longstanding Kashmir dispute.
“On this day, we pay tribute to the valiant struggle of our Kashmiri brethren and assure them that Pakistan remains firmly committed to finding a just and peaceful solution to the dispute,” the president said in his message.
“Kashmiris have remained resolute and steadfast in the face of oppression spanning over more than six decades. Pakistan believes that the use of force, coercion and violation of basic human rights can never succeed in suppressing an indigenous struggle for a just cause. The perseverance of Kashmiris will bear fruit,” President Zardari said.
Prime Minister Ashraf said: “On behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, I reaffirm Pakistan’s firm commitment to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and protection of their fundamental rights. It demonstrates our commitment to support the just cause of the Kashmiri people.”
The messages were read out by Deputy Speaker Shaheen Kausar Dar who presided over the session. Speaker Sardar Ghulam Sadiq attended the session as Acting AJK President in the absence of President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan.
Prime Minister Ashraf said the government of Pakistan would continue to extend its unwavering political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of the Kashmiri people to safeguard their right to self-determination.
Pakistan, he said, had always supported dialogue with India and initiated confidence building measures in good faith and anticipation that the same would mitigate the sufferings of Kashmiri people. “We also hope that these measures would lead to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
Leader of the Opposition Raja Farooq Haider regretted that neither the president nor the prime minister of Pakistan visited Muzaffarabad to express solidarity with the struggling Kashmiris. “Any of the two must have come here so that not only we could speak out our hearts before him but also a real solidarity message would have gone across the dividing line,” he said.
The outspoken opposition leader said he considered himself a Pakistani by conviction, but not anyone’s ‘subject’. “I was dubbed a separatist, but I am least bothered about it. Let them go on saying it, but I won’t give up seeking the rights for Kashmiris.”
Raja Farooq accused Kashmir Affairs Minister Manzoor Wattoo of “squandering resources of the AJK Council for election purposes” and urged the ruling party to stop the minister’s ‘injustices’.
In his brief address, AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed praised the people and the government of Pakistan for expressing solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir and supporting their just cause.
He said Prime Minister Ashraf was scheduled to address the joint sitting, but his visit was suspended because of inclement weather.
APP adds: The Solidarity Day was observed across Kashmir with enthusiasm. It was a public holiday and people took out rallies, held seminars to highlight the longstanding dispute and vow to support the struggle of their oppressed brethren in Indian-held Kashmir.
As a mark of respect to the valiant struggle of Kashmiris, one minute silence was observed at 10am. A human chain was formed on all five bridges — Mangla, Kohala, Dhalkot, Azad Pattan and Holar — and in Bararkot which connects AJK with Pakistan. Thousands of people took part in it.
Addressing a rally on Mangla bridge, speakers called upon the international community to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions. They paid tribute to the people of the occupied territory for struggling in the face of large-scale Indian atrocities.
They said the sacrifices being rendered by the valiant Kashmiri people would not go waste. India should immediately end human rights violations in Kashmir.