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PM Nawaz to take Kashmiri leadership on board before UN session

MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will take Hurriyat and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) leaders on board for his speech in the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

“Prime Minister Nawaz will visit Muzaffarabad on Friday (tomorrow) before leaving for New York. He will consult the Kashmiri leadership regarding his speech at the UN session,” AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider told DawnNews.

Nawaz will hold separate meetings with AJK legislators and with a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, AJK chapter.

Read: Pakistan rejects Indian claims of restraint in India-held Kashmir

The prime minister will take the Kashmiri leadership into confidence over the content of his speech to be delivered at the UN General Assembly session on Sept 21.

Welcoming the decision, AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider said the gesture would send a positive message across the Line of Control (LoC).

At least 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in India-held Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.

Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.

Read: Human rights violations in held Kashmir not internal Indian matter, says OIC

On Wednesday, the UN rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said the deteriorating situation in the held Kashmir has made it crucial to establish an independent, impartial and international mission to assess the situation.

Talking to Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Hussein said he received a letter from the Government of Pakistan on Sept 9 formally inviting a team from his office to visit AJK but only in tandem with a mission to the Indian side.

Kashmir has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since 1947, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

Read: International probe into Kashmir killings imperative now, says UN rights chief

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.

Violence had sharply declined in recent years following a major crackdown by the hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region.

But a recent uptick in militant attacks has galvanised frustrated young Kashmiris, majority of whom deeply resent the Indian military’s presence.

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