Pakistan to send 22 MPs to highlight Kashmir issue internationally

India Pakistan   TOK117 Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif | AP

Pakistan on Saturday decided to escalate its diplomatic lobbying on Kashmir, with 22 parliamentarians to go as special envoys to various countries to apprise them about the "brutalities and human rights abuses committed by Indian forces" in Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday nominated the 22 envoys.

"I have decided to send these parliamentarians to fight the case of Kashmir in different parts of the world," a statement issued by the Prime Minister's office quoted Sharif as saying.

It further said that these special envoys will have the "strength of Pakistani people, prayers from the Kashmiri people across the Line of Control, mandate of the parliament and support from the government".

"I am standing behind these special envoys to ensure their toil for highlighting the Kashmir cause resonates across the world so that I can shake the collective conscience of the international community during my address at United Nations this September," Sharif said.

He said Pakistan would remind the United Nations of its long-held promise of "right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people" and would make it clear to India that it was they who had approached the UN several decades back on the Kashmir issue but were not fulfilling its promise.

"Generation after generation of Kashmiris have seen only broken pledges and ruthless oppression," the statement added.

He emphasised that this anniversary of the UN ought to be a catalyst, spurring the body into action.

"The Kashmir dispute is the most persistent failure of the United Nations; the UN must establish its relevance. We cannot relent from the Kashmir cause by any stretch of imagination," Sharif reiterated.

The parliamentarians who have been nominated include Ijazul Haq and Malik Uzair for Belgium, Khusro Bakhtiar and Alamdad Laleka for China, Raza Hayat Hiraj, Junaid Anwar Chaudhry and Nawab Ali Wassan for Russia.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal and Muhammad Afzal Khokhar will visit Saudi Arabia, Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and Malik Pervaiz for Turkey, Lt General (retd) Abdul Qayyum and Qaiser Sheikh will go to Britain.

Mushahid Hussain Syed and Shazra Mansab Ali Khan would highlight the Kashmir cause in the US and the UN in New York, Ayesha Raza Farooq and Rana Muhammad Afzal in France, Awais Leghari in the United Nations (Geneva) and Abdul Rehman Kanju in South Africa.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under curfew and restrictions since protests broke out over the killing of Hizbul Mujahdeen commander Burhan Wani on July 8 in a shootout with security forces.

At least 70 civilians have died in clashes between protesters and security forces and thousands injured in the worst violence to hit the Valley in many years.

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