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(2017-03-31) Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway, called on the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs today. Mr. Bondevik along with a two member delegation is visiting Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) from 29-31 March 2017 to gain a firsthand understanding of the ongoing Indian atrocities and gross human rights violations perpetrated by Indian occupation forces against defenceless Kashmiris in Indian occupied Kashmir. Earlier, he traveled to AJK where he called on the President and the Prime Minister of AJK and also visited camps of refugees who had fled from the Indian occupied territory.

Welcoming the delegation, the SAPM highlighted the continuing grave human rights violations of the peoples of IoK by India, which had intensified over the past months. He strongly condemned continued Indian use of pellet guns and live ammunition on peaceful protestors which had already resulted in approximately 200 civilian deaths, 20,000 injured and hundreds, including young girls and children, being blinded. Despite strong international condemnation, India had recently imported 4000 more pellet guns.

The Hurriyat leadership was imprisoned or placed under house arrest. Indian paramilitary forces were burning and shutting down schools resulting in children being denied their basic human rights to education. The imposition of almost constant curfew in IoK made the lives of innocent people miserable. Their situation was further aggravated by the Indian government deliberately creating a shortage of basic amenities, including food for children and medicines.

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, along both sides of the Line of Control.

The SAPM expressed the hope that Mr. Bondevik’s visit to AJK had provided an opportunity to him to witness firsthand the agony of divided families and the plight of the Kashmiri refugees who had migrated to AJK to escape Indian atrocities.

The SAPM appreciated the strong support of Mr. Bondevik for protection of human rights and urged him to sensitize the international community about the gross Indian atrocities in IoK and the need for expedited resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in line with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Mr. Bondevik is the founder and President of the Oslo Peace Centre for Peace and Human Rights. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1997-2000 and again 2001-2005. He is a strong advocate of human rights and inter-faith harmony.

31 March 2017

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