By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - A senior lawmaker from Azad Kashmir has thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for raising the simmering Kashmir issue in his address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this week.
Abdul Rasheed Turabi, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Azad Kashmir, observed that Erdogan “represented the true aspirations of people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Erdogan had said that a solution to the Kashmir issue, which has persisted for 72 years, could only be found through dialogue.
"In order for the Kashmiri people to look at a safe future together with their Pakistani and Indian neighbors, it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, not through clashes," Erdogan said.
He said residents of Jammu and Kashmir are "virtually under blockade with eight million people, unfortunately, unable to step outside of Kashmir," referring to an Indian government’s clampdown imposed last month.
In a thanksgiving letter, Turabi, who is also the chairman of All Parties Kashmir Council -- an alliance of different political parties to support pro-freedom struggle in Jammu and Kashmir, said: “Erdogan has become voice of the oppressed people across the globe without distinction, stands for justice, equality and freedom.''
“People of Kashmir, across the Line of Control (LoC) pay our highest regards to Erdogan's leadership and pray that Allah showers him with Emaan (faith), health and success,” said Turabi, a former chief of the Azad Kashmir chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s mainstream religious party.
The LOC is a de facto border that divides the picturesque Himalayan valley between nuclear rivals, Pakistan and India.
"In order for the Kashmiri people to look at a safe future together with their Pakistani and Indian neighbors, it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, but not through collision," these words of President Erdogan are being very well received by the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir who are under complete lockdown since August 5 by Indian occupying forces, he went on to say.
He said if the weeks-long curfew and restrictions were lifted in the disputed valley, tens of hundreds of people would have come out of their homes to pay regards to Erdogan for his stand and support for their cause.
“Keeping in view the expression of just stand in United Nations by President Erdogan, Kashmiris demand that other Muslim countries follow his footsteps and ask United Nations to implement its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and end suffering of the innocent people,” Turabi said.
“The Muslim leaders need to raise above their differences and exert pressure on India to end the occupation and pull out their ruthless forces from Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.