Islamabad: US Senators Chris Van Hollen and Maggie Hassan have conveyed to the leadership of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan that they shared the human rights concerns in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and would continue to urge India to lift the curfew and release all prisoners as a first step. They also expressed their resolve to remain engaged for the resolution of the dispute.
The high-level US Congressional delegation along with their staffers and US official Ambassador Paul Jones visited Muzaffarabad Sunday at the invitation of the Pakistan government to see the ground situation and gauge public sentiment following the August 5 illegal Indian actions in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. “A detailed briefing on the current situation on LoC was given by Maj Gen Amer.The delegation also called on President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK),” says the Foreign Office.
The leadership of Azad Kashmir thanked the two senators for the visit and appreciated their support for the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “While offering them to see firsthand the vibrant and thriving Kashmiri community in Azad Kashmir, the US delegation was apprised of the historical background of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and the deteriorating situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of prolonged curfew and suppression of fundamental rights and freedoms, particularly since August 5,” said the Foreign Office statement.
The leadership of Azad Jammu and Kashmir expressed the hope that the delegation’s visit to AJK would help them have firsthand information, understanding the prevailing humanitarian crisis in IOJK and explaining the ground situation to their colleagues on the Capitol Hill and in the administration upon return to the United States.
“It was noted that the Indian government’s policy of denial to allow neutral observers to visit the occupied Jammu and Kashmir had exposed the specious India’s ‘all is well’ propaganda”, it added.
President Masood Khan and Prime Minister Farooq Haider both urged the US senators to play their role in saving the people of IOJK from India’s repressive brutal measures and pressing India to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Among other things, they also shared the vision and priorities of the AJK government, which were focused on governance, rule of law and development.