By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) - President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan on Saturday rejected the Indian claims that Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between Pakistan and India and said it is a disputed issue between the three parties.
According to a statement, issued from his office in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir, the AJK president said that under the UN resolution, Kashmiri people, Pakistan, and India are the three parties to this dispute, and the final decision for the solution of this issue is to be taken by the Kashmiri people themselves.
"Kashmir is neither India's internal matter nor a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India,” Khan said while addressing to a gathering in London.
If Kashmir had been the internal matter of India, it would never have been discussed in London, New York, Washington and Brussels today, Khan questioned.
AJK president said that Kashmir was not a complicated issue, but a simple issue and its practicable solution is to give right to Kashmiri people to determine their political future with free will.
"Seventy years ago, the UN Security Council had declared that Kashmir issue would be resolved by not bullet but ballot, and the Kashmiri people will be provided the right to resolve this issue once and for all in a free and democratic manner," he emphasized.
Khan urged the U.K. that being one of the world’s influential countries, Britain can help build world public opinion for the solution of Kashmir issue, and can raise its voice for the Kashmiri people besides playing an active role in the United Nations Security Council to get Kashmir issue resolved in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since the Indian government’s move on Aug. 5 to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Several rights groups including the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.
India said that 93% of the restrictions have been eased in the conflict-ridden region, a claim that Anadolu Agency could not independently verify.
From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.
India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.