TURKEY REAFFIRMS ITS TRADITIONAL AND STRONG SUPPORT FOR KASHMIR CAUSE
Turkey has reaffirmed its traditional and strong support for the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. On the first day of their visit to Turkey, Prime Minister’s Special Envoys, Muhammad Pervez Malik and Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha, met a cross-section of the Turkish parliamentary leadership, media, civil society and think-tanks to apprise them of the gross and systematic violations of human rights being perpetrated by the security forces in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOK).The Special Envoys called on the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), Ismail Kahraman, and briefed him in detail about the atrocities being committed against the defenseless Kashmiri people -- demanding their legitimate and inalienable right to self-determination. They highlighted that the death of the young Kashmiri leader, Burhan Wani, had re-ignited an intense phase of the popular uprising in the IOK, also being characterized as the Kashmiri Intifada.Drawing attention towards the use of arbitrary force, live ammunition and pellet-guns by the occupying forces to quell the recent peaceful protests in IOK, the Envoys underlined the need for an urgent and meaningful intervention by the international community to bring an end to the brutalization of the Kashmiri people; conduct a fair, independent and transparent inquiry under the UN auspices to hold the perpetrators of these heinous acts responsible; and, above all, ensure the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. The Special Envoys also briefed the Speaker of the TGNA on the latest security situation in the region, including escalation of tensions through highly provocative rhetoric and incessant violations of the Line of Control (LoC) by the Indian side, in order to divert international attention from the grave human rights situation in the IOK.The Envoys thanked Turkey for its principled position on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and its consistent support for the Kashmiri people. Lauding Turkey’s active role in the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir, the Special Envoys underlined the high importance of its proposal to send an OIC Fact Finding Mission to Jammu and Kashmir. The Special Envoys expressed the confidence that this strong support by the Turkish government and people would continue until a just and lasting solution of Kashmir was found.Extending a warm welcome to the Envoys, the Honourable Speaker Ismail Kahraman underlined the unique and unprecedentedly cordial relationship between Pakistan and Turkey; thanked Pakistan and its people for their strong support and solidarity for Turkey against the attempted coup of 15 July 2016; reiterated support for Pakistan in its fight against terrorism; and underlined that Pakistan and Turkey had always supported each other on their respective national causes, i.e. Kashmir and Cyprus.The TGNA Speaker thanked the Envoys for the detailed briefing on the situation in Occupied Kashmir and stated that the recent developments were being followed closely. Turkey was concerned at the unresolved nature of the Kashmir dispute as it negatively impacted peace and stability in the region, besides undermining prospects for the well-being and development of its people. In the current phase, Turkey had called for restraint and use of peaceful means to resolve the Kashmir dispute. He reaffirmed Turkey’s consistent support for a negotiated solution within the framework of relevant UN resolutions and taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people.Separately, the Special Envoys met with the Chairman of Pakistan-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group; visited the prominent Turkish think-tank, Economic and Social Research Center (ESAM); and interacted with prominent media outlets. During these engagements, the Special Envoys informed their respective interlocutors that more than 110 innocent Kashmiri protestors had so far lost their lives, and another 12,000 injured since 8 July 2016 as a result of unbridled use of force by the occupying forces. Over 150 – primarily among Kashmiri youth – had been blinded permanently, while the eyesight of over 700 had been seriously affected.The Special Envoys emphasized that Pakistan expected the international community to fulfill its moral responsibility towards the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by calling for an immediate end to such reprehensible actions, and by ensuring that the people of Jammu & Kashmir exercised their inalienable right to self-determination in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.They also called on the media representatives to highlight the unprecedented brutality of the security forces in IOK, especially through the use of pellet guns, that had permanently blinded and crippled a large number of Kashmiris, predominantly women and children.The Turkish interlocutors reiterated their grave concern over the prevailing situation, affirmed their solidarity with the Kashmiri people during this difficult hour, and reiterated their commitment to support their cause everywhere, and at all platforms.