The Kashmiri people already decided their political destiny with Pakistan in a resolution adopted even before the partition of the subcontinent, said Masood Khan, president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, also known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Speaking at a webinar earlier this week organized by the think tank the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) titled "Kashmir: A Saga of Suffering,” Khan said the resolution of accession to Pakistan adopted on July 19, 1947 was a referendum that reflected a long unfulfilled dream of Kashmiris.
“The day of July 19 is an important day in the history of Kashmir, as on this day in 1947, the accession to Pakistan resolution was adopted under the leadership of Ghazi-e-Millat Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan by representatives of the Kashmiri people from the entire state, and [the people] decided to attach their destiny with Pakistan,” he said.
He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir through this resolution had set their political and ideological direction by expressing their will in unambiguous and unequivocal terms.
Highlighting the suffering of the Kashmiri people, he noted that the "dark night" of suffering of Kashmiris which started in October 1947 after the Indian Army entered Jammu and Kashmir and occupied a large part of the state has not ended until today.
India’s "occupation army,” he went on to say, has been killing Kashmiris, making women suffer tremendously and arresting innocent and peaceful civilians and torturing them in jails simply because they were peacefully demanding their freedom, liberty and right to self-determination.
"Despite the worst repression, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Kashmiri freedom movement was continuing and now India has adopted a new tactic to settle its Hindu citizens in Kashmir to turn the majority of Kashmiris into a minority," Khan added.
The event was also addressed by Syed Nasir Qadri, an expert on international law, Noorin Farooq Ibrahim, a member of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir, IICR Executive Director Saba Aslam and Waleed Rasool, director of the Institute of Multi-Track Dialogue Development and Diplomatic Studies.
On Monday, Kashmiris across Pakistan and the Islamabad-administered part of the Jammu and Kashmir region observed the 74th Accession to Pakistan Day.
The day is observed to mark a resolution passed by several Kashmiri groups linking the destiny of the Muslim majority valley with Pakistan on July 19, 1947, only weeks before the end of British colonial rule in united India, which resulted in the creation of two independent states -- India and Pakistan.
The valley's Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, however, handed over control to India in line with a counter accession agreement he signed in October 1947, triggering decades of acrimony between the two rivals.
The Islamabad-administered part of Kashmir, also known as Azad (liberated) Kashmir, was captured by a Pakistani tribal militia following the accession resolution signed by the Kashmiri groups.
Since then, the picturesque valley has been a key bone of contention between the two nuclear rivals, which have fought three full-scale wars -- two of them on Kashmir in 1948 and 1965 -- in addition to the Kargil skirmish in 1999.