FO welcomes US Cong hearing on IoK

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday welcomed the United States House of Representative’s Sub-Committee on Asia Pacific public hearing on the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
In a statement, the FO spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said, “Pakistan appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Congress members who have raised their voice on the persecution of the Kashmiri people.”
The spokesperson said the latest hearing in the US House of Representatives was timely and showed the world community’s continued concern over the unacceptable situation in occupied Kashmir and the need to address it urgently.
He said more than 70 members of the U.S. Congress and several prominent political figures including those intending to join the presidential election race, have publicly spoken on the Kashmir issue.
The spokesperson said, “The US Congressional hearing has brought underlined that Kashmir is a disputed territory and the current human rights situation is alarming.”
He said it also demonstrated that the US leadership and lawmakers were cognizant of the potential threats to peace and stability in the region and willing to play their due role to help resolve the dispute.
The spokesperson noted that the US congressional deliberations were mostly focused on the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir. Members of the Sub-Committee noted that India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5 and subsequent lockdown have created a humanitarian crisis with security implications for the entire region.
At the hearing, senior officials of the State Department had expressed US concern over the human rights situation, read the statement.
Members of Congress also expressed their indignation and shock over the refusal of permission by Indian authorities to US lawmakers and journalists to travel to IOK. Senior US Administration officials inter alia repeatedPresident Trump’s offer of mediation.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said, “Pakistan for its part has welcomed the US President’s offer as we believe that the international community has a role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”