WASHINGTON – Azad Jammu Kashmir President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan has said that India is morally and internationally obligated to allow Kashmiris to determine their future, and underlined that resolution to the lingering Kashmir issue is key to South Asian peace and stability.
"Kashmir is a burning issue, Kashmiris want to determine their future, it is their longstanding demand – and India is duty-bound as a democracy to allow them to exercise this inalienable right," he said and highlighted the importance of addressing the Kashmir conflict in media interactions and discussions at the annual convention of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent in North America.
Yaqoob said that the talks between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue should proceed in the spirit of UN Security Council resolutions that give Kashmiris the right to self-determination and provide a basis for a peaceful resolution to the issue. He praised the US assistance for relief and reconstruction work in Azad Jammu Kashmir after the 2005 earthquake.
The Kashmiri president recalled that the Americans were impressed by people of the area who want peace in the region and were grateful for the support they received. He also appreciated the US for making a clear distinction between the Kashmiris struggle for their rights and the issue of terrorism.
"Kashmir struggle cannot be equated with terrorism," he said. Yaqoob applauded the Pakistanis and the Kashmiri Diaspora for their important contribution to raising international awareness about the Kashmir cause around the world.