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Former Norwegian PM condemns atrocities in IOK

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik has strongly condemned the gross human rights violations and atrocities perpetuated by Indian forces in held-Kashmir.

Mr. Bondevik who was on a three-day visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir to gain a first-hand understanding of the human rights situation called on Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi on Friday.

He had earlier met the President AJK Masood Khan who has invited him to the region, and Prime Minister AJK Raja Haider Farooq. He also visited refugee camps of those who have fled from the Indian occupied territory.

Mr. Fatemi highlighted the continuing grave human rights violations in held-Kashmir by Indian forces, which have intensified in recent months.  He strongly condemned continued use of pellet guns and live ammunition on peaceful protestors resulting in approximately two hundred deaths, over 20,000 injuries, and hundreds including young children being blinded.

SAPM said that India had recently imported 4000 more pellet guns despite strong international condemnation. He further said that the Hurriyat leadership has also been detained and imprisoned.

He further highlighted that Indian forces have shut several schools denying basic right to education for children. The constant imposition curfew has made life miserable, which is further aggravated by a deliberate shortage of basic amenities by the Indian government.

Mr. Bondevik underscored that Kashmir issue is a long standing conflict and needs a political solution, taking into account the UN Security Council resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people.

Fatemi hoped that Mr. Bondevik’s visit to AJK had provided an opportunity to him to witness firsthand the agony of divided families. He urged him to sensitise the international community about the atrocities, and the need for an expedited resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Mr. Bondevik twice served as prime minister of Norway from 1997-2000 and 2001-2005. He is the founder and President of the Oslo Peace Centre for Peace and Human Rights, and a strong advocate of human rights and inter-faith harmony.



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