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US senators visit AJK’s Muzaffarabad, vow raising voice for Kashmiris

MUZAFFARABAD: A delegation comprising US senators has paid a visit to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), to review the situation after the illegal annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian authorities on August 5, ARY News reported on Sunday.

The delegation members include US Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Maggie Hassan, US Chargé d’Affaires Paul W Jones and a high ranking member of the democratic party Tahir Javed.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Office said that Major General Amir briefed the US delegation over the latest situation of the Line of Control (LoC). Moreover, the visiting delegates were also informed about the ongoing human rights’ violation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir besides highlighting the different aspects of the longstanding dispute.

Read More: US presidential candidate presses India to respect Kashmiris’ rights

The delegation also met top leadership of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir including AJK President Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.

The AJK leaders praised the visiting US senators arrived in the valley along with a delegation over supporting the struggle of Kashmiris. The AJK top leaders expressed hopes that the delegation will apprise the facts to the world for what they observed during their visit.

The spokesperson said that the delegation had been stopped to visit the occupied valley by the Indian government, whereas, they are free to move anywhere in the AJK. US senators have also expressed concerned over the situation of IOJK besides demanding the Indian government to immediately lift curfew and release all prisoners.

Read More: US Senate panel’s report calls for an end to ‘humanitarian crisis’ in IOK

US senators urged for a permanent and lasting solution for the Kashmir dispute. The high-ups supported Pakistan’s stance for the provision of self-determination right to Kashmiris. The senators vowed to raise a strong voice for the rights of Kashmiris.

US Senate Committee’s call

Earlier, it emerged that the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has called for an end to what it has described as a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and restrictions including the curbs on communication in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) in its report ahead of the annual Foreign Appropriations Act for 2020.

The call was an addition to its report to the Senate by Lindsey Graham, Kashmir Media Service reported.

The report “notes with concern the current humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and calls on the Government of India to: fully restore telecommunications and Internet services; lift its lockdown and curfew; and release individuals detained pursuant to the Government’s revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution,” Indian newspaper the Hindu said.

The illegal annexation of Kashmir

The Indian government, through a presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to Occupied Kashmir, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the occupied valley, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.

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