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Turkish lawmaker voices support for Kashmir

Written by The Frontier Post

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Head Volkan Bozkir on Tuesday voiced support for Muslims in the Jammu Kashmir region.

In a meeting with Shah Ghulam Qadir, speaker of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly, Bozkir said that Pakistan is not only a friendly country for Turkey, but a brotherly country.

“We want the issue to be resolved amicably, in light of legitimate demands of the Kashmiri people,” said Bozkir. Qadir said: “India wants to portray resistance by Muslims in Kashmir as terrorism to the world.”

He criticized the silence of the world over the Kashmir issue. “This situation upsets us. Turkey’s backing is strengthening us, giving hope to us.”

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir. Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

Meanwhile, Shah Ghulam Qadir, the speaker of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly, has asked Turkey to initiate a dialogue between India and Pakistan.

“I think Turkey can move to ask India and Pakistan [to start a dialogue] as Turkey has already initiated in Afghanistan [with Pakistan],” Qadir told Anadolu Agency at Pakistan’s Embassy in Ankara.

Qadir said it would be a better option if Turkey played a mediator role to resolve the Kashmir issue and start a dialogue “because there is no dialogue going on between India and Pakistan”.

He praised Turkey for being a democratic country under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Asked about current efforts by the AJK to resolve the Kashmir conflict, Qadir said: “I am here in Turkey with a delegation, meeting parliamentarians and government officials. We have an extensive plan to visit all the capitals and we are meeting with the general human rights activists. We have a strong human rights activist working in Geneva for the UN Human Rights Council meetings.”

“We try to project the Kashmir cause and bring it to the notice of the international community,” Qadir added.

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