In the wake of one of the worst clashes between Pakistan and India in two decades, Pakistani Federal Minister for Interior expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri people in the decades-long conflict between India and Pakistan over the Indian-occupied Kashmir region’s ownership. Ahsan Iqbal also urged Pakistani Americans to keep Kashmiris in their hearts and minds as they work for the development of Pakistan even while abroad, reports Urdu Point.
The plea came as tensions rose between India and Pakistan after an exchange of gunfire this weekend that left four Indian soldiers and a Pakistani civilian dead, according to Radio Free Europe
“The Indian army will respond when the time is right, and it will be a fitting response to Pakistan,” India’s federal home minister Rajnath Singh said to the Irish Times.
Iqbal affirmed that Pakistan will continue to support the people of Jammu and Kashmir, calling it the Kashmiri struggle for “self-determination.” He noted that “Pakistan has always provided moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiri brothers and sisters.” The Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reports that the Pakistani Ambassador, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, urged the international community to keep the aspirations of the Kashmiri people in their minds as Pakistan sought for a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
APP also reports that Iman Malik, a scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, and Sardar Zulfiqar Khan from the Kashmiri American community joined many prominent Pakistani Americans and Kashmiri locals at the event.
Taking a more pressing posture, Iqbal vowed that Pakistan “will continue to urge the international community to force India to stop its barbaric occupation of Kashmir.”
The Indian army accused Pakistan of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement 868 times last year, almost four times more than the year before. India says Pakistani ceasefire violations so far this year have already reached 240.
While Pakistan and India traded barbs, the Washington event reflected on Muslims’ pioneering contributions to fields as diverse as chemistry and mathematics. Iqbal urged Pakistani American Muslims to regain that “past status” and noted that “today we lack in these fields that is one factor, Muslims are weak in comity of nations.”
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