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ISLAMABAD: There is a political and national consensus in Pakistan on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and all past and present political governments have passionately advocated the cause of Kashmir, said Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar.

He was speaking as a chief guest at the India Study Centre (ISC) of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on the occasion of launch of a special report titled “Voices on Kashmir”, here on Monday.

Iftikhar said that the key message about Kashmir is that it is a dispute from the past which must be resolved according to the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In this regard, he added that Pakistan is ready to provide all possible support to the Kashmiri people to enable them to exercise their right to self-determination.

He further stated that on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, there is a political and national consensus where all past and present political governments have passionately advocated the cause of Kashmir.

Stressing upon the significance of the report, he stated that Pakistan has been a voice of the Kashmiri people and this report adds to that voice.

Earlier in his introductory remarks, Dr Arshad Ali, Director ISC, stated that Jammu and Kashmir is the core issue between Pakistan and India which is the longest pending dispute on the agenda of the UNSC.

Former ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, DG, ISSI discussed the report and highlighted that the statements in the report were recorded in history and included voices from all over the world.

In his keynote address, Chairman Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Khalid Rahman stressed that the Kashmir issue has not been resolved due to the stubbornness of India and also due to complications of the global political system which favors the powerful. He further highlighted that all of us have a role to continue the discourse which favors the Kashmiris.

“One way of doing so is by framing the Kashmiri struggle as a political and indigenous movement”, he added.

Towards the end, he identified how the report could be improved further by including more Kashmiri voices to it.

While expressing his views about the report, Altaf Hussain Wani, Chairman, Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) appreciated the report and the role it serves in raising the voices for the Kashmir cause.

He further said that there is a continuity of efforts to highlight the Kashmir cause and it is necessary especially, after the new domicile laws introduced by India.

While highlighting the existing debate on the Kashmir issue, Ahmed Quraishi, a Kashmir lobbyist, said that in seven decades there has been a shift in how the world looks at India and Kashmir. In 2016, he pointed out that the inclusion of Kashmir in the United Nations High Commissioner’s Report altered the way of viewing the dispute.

He added that the report brought into light different war crimes committed by India in the region. He further stressed that media and other non-diplomatic influencers also need to contribute their share in shaping the narrative about the dispute.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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