US Congressional delegation visited Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir

Islamabad, Pakistan: US Congressional delegation visited Muzaffarabad Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

US Senator Chris Van Hollen and Senator Margaret C. Hassan arrived Pakistan on October 5, 2019 after Senator Chris Van Hollen concluded his visit to India where he was denied his travel to Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) where wanted to go and watch human rights violations being conducted by Indian forces since last 60 days but Indian government did not allow to visit IoK for meeting Kashmiri leadership.

It is pertinent to mention that US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations had added an appeal to end humanitarian crisis in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) in its report ahead of the annual Foreign Appropriations Act for 2020. The amendment was proposed by Senator Chris Van Hollen, who visited Delhi as a part of a congressional delegation but Indian government did not allow him to visit IoK to see the situation in Valley which is disconnected from rest of the world and is under total communication blackout and indefinite curfew since August 5, 2019 when India abrogated special status of IoK.

U.S. Congressional delegation comprising Senators Chris Van Hollen and Maggie Hassan along with their staffers and US CdA Amb Paul Jones visited Muzaffarabad today. The purpose of the visit was to see the ground situation and gauge public sentiment following the 5 August illegal Indian actions in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

A detailed briefing on the current situation on LoC was given by Maj Gen Amer. The delegation also called on the President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)..

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The Leadership of Azad Kashmir thanked the two Senators for the visit and appreciated their support for the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. While offering them to see first hand the vibrant and thriving Kashmiri community in Azad Kashmir, the U.S. delegation was apprised of the historical background of the Jammu & Kashmir Dispute and the deteriorating situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in wake of prolonged curfew and suppression of fundamental rights and freedoms particularly since 5 August.

3. The leadership of Azad Jammu and Kashmir expressed the hope that delegation’s visit to AJK would help them have first hand information, understanding the prevailing humanitarian crisis in IOJK and explaining the ground situation to their colleagues on the Capitol Hill and in the Administration upon return to the United States. It was noted that the Indian Government’s policy of denial to allow neutral observers to visit the occupied Jammu and Kashmir had exposed the specious India’s “all is well “ propaganda.

President Masood Khan and Prime Minister Farooq Haider both urged the U.S. Senators to play their role in saving the people of IOJK from India’s repressive brutal measures and pressing India to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Among other things, they also shared the vision and priorities of AJK Government, which were focused on governance, rule of law and development.

The U.S. Senators said that they shared the human rights concerns and would continue to urge India to lift the curfew and release all prisoners as a first step. They also expressed their resolve to remain engaged for the resolution of the dispute.

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US Congressional delegation comprising of Senator Chris Van Hollen and Senator Margaret C. Hassan met President AJK Masood Khan on October 6 2019 in Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir
US Congressional delegation comprising of Senator Chris Van Hollen and Senator Margaret C. Hassan met President AJK Masood Khan on October 6 2019 in Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir

Over eight million residents of Indian Occupied Kashmir are practically facing total communication blackout and curfew since August 5, 2019 when Indian government abrogated special status of IoK and made it a Union of India while abrogating its own Constitution. Kashmiri leaders are under house arrests and reports coming from sources indicate that genocide like situation of Kashmiri Muslims are in full force in IoK.

International media as well as international human right watchdogs and even Indian media are crying over Muslim genocide like situation inside IoK and valley is facing unprecedented circumstances after India abrogated Article 370 of its constitution.

International media including BBC, TRT Turkish, Al-Jazeera, the Independent, New York Times, Eurasian News, Rambler, Linta and many more are reporting that Muslims Kashmiris are facing worst kind of purge and Indian soldiers are reportedly involved in raping Kashmiris women, girls and even boys. International media is reporting that Indian Army pick up young Kashmiris and torture them at maximum brutal level. Even India media is reporting same but with a softer look.

Senator Christopher J. Van Hollen Jr. is in US Senate from Maryland since January 3, 2017. From 2003 to 2017 he served as the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

He was born in Karachi, Pakistan where his father was serving as US diplomat. His father was a Foreign Service officer who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1969–1972) and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives (1972–1976) and his mother also worked in State Department, where she served as chief of the intelligence bureau for South Asia. He spent parts of his early life in Pakistan, Turkey, India, and Sri Lanka.

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Senator Margaret C. Hassan, born on February 28, 1958 was elected to the US Senate in the 2016 election. She was the 81st Governor of New Hampshire, from 2013 to 2017. Hassan is a graduate of Brown University and earned a J.D. from the Northeastern University School of Law.