Pak envoy urges US to help Kashmiri people

NEW YORK: The United States should exercise its moral authority and help secure freedom for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir, now languishing under a repressive lockdown since August 5, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Asad Khan has said. “Real people are dying both in Kashmir, and now across India’s cities, because of India’s actions – actions motivated by an extremist, xenophobic, anti-Muslim ideology that seeks to realize a vision of a Greater India,” the Pakistan envoy wrote in The Hill, a top US political website, obviously referring to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s discriminatory policies. “Ultimately, standing by India in Kashmir means standing by that vision – and going against the core values of the United States of America,” he wrote in his opinion piece, while reaffirming Pakistan’s support to the the Kashmiris’ just struggle for their UN-pledged right of self-determination. Ambassador Khan’s article appeared on Thursday as members of the US Congress prepared to return to Washington after their Christmas Holidays. “As Americans everywhere celebrated the holidays, India’s lockdown and military siege of Occupied- Kashmir will have been going on for nearly 150 days, the Pakistani envoy wrote. “Since its beginning on Aug. 5, when India revoked the region’s special autonomous status, the siege has had devastating effects on Kashmiris,” he said, citing facts and figures of the social and economic losses. “However,” the Pakistani envoy wrote, “despite widespread criticism from global human rights groups, editorial boards, and within the Congress, some in the U.S. may still believe that India is a good faith, credible actor when it comes to Kashmir, and that Kashmir is an ‘internal’ matter for India to handle. “But this analysis of the situation, which has precipitated an unparalleled humanitarian crisis and brought a nuclear-armed region to the brink of conflict, misses the mark.–Agencies