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Riyadh Community

Report by Zaheer Uddin Butt

English version by Pervaiz Imam
Riyadh, October 7, 2000 – Abbas Sarfraz Khan, the Federal Minister of Pakistan for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, was recently in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to attend the two days conference titled "The fifty-three years of Kashmir crisis, solution and its future" on the invitation from World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).
This conference, which was held at the Prince Salman Social Center in Riyadh, was opened by the Saudi Islamic scholar, Dr. Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Abdulrahman Al Jabreen. The conference consisted of two sessions of which Khan chaired the second.
During the course of the conference, a documentary film prepared under the supervision of WAMY was shown along with the display of pictures showing the torture committed by the Indian forces on the people of Kashmir.
In a brief press conference before his departure, Khan said that this get together on Kashmir issue by WAMY is an indication of the support for the freedom of struggle of the Kashmiris from the Indian occupation.
Of the others who were present on this occasion included Dr. Abdulhameed Y. Al Mazroo, chairman of the Kashmir committee of WAMY; Nawaz Chaudhry, deputy chief of mission of Pakistan Embassy and Abdul Matin, counselor also of the Pakistan Embassy.
Khan said that his trip to the Kingdom was part of efforts to convey the message of the Kashmiri people to the world community and to solicit support for the Kashmir cause. The Kashmir issue should be solved as per the approved resolutions of the United Nations and the wishes of the Kashmir people. War is not the solution and as has been seen in the past, the problems are solved on the table, he pointed out.
The honorable minister went on to point out that the role of WAMY for the cause of Kashmir is an attempt to harness the Muslim world’s opinion and also to garner the attention of Muslim youths. "I think it is a very important step since our youths are our future."
The institutions of foreign services should be patronized, he said referring to WAMY. Such institutions should be included in the dialogue and through them "our point of view should be forwarded to the world community."
In this context, he said that Pakistan government has granted permission to WAMY to open its offices in Islamabad and Muzafarabad in Azad Kashmir. With this, the involvement of WAMY will be more pronounced in serving the cause of Kashmiri, he said. "The basis of my visit to the Kingdom is to talk of the solidarity that the Saudis are demonstrating for the cause of Kashmir. I am not having any discussion with any government functionary," he clarified.
Khan called on the Kingdom to play a role in unifying other Islamic countries at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to have a joint stand on the Kashmir issue. Replying to a question, Khan said that Pakistan will request the Saudi government to use its good offices to convince India during the forthcoming visit of Jaswant Singh, the external affairs minister of India in the second week of October 2000 to reach for an amicable solution on the Kashmir issue.
The Kashmir issue is in the heart and mind of the Saudi government. The Kingdom is already very concerned about it and their position on Kashmir is very clear to the world, he stated.
He said that Pakistan is suggesting to all the OIC countries to take a joint stand and pressurize India into coming to the negotiating table. It cannot be done on an individual basis, he said.
He concluded by saying that the Pakistani government of chief executive General Pervez Musharraf has repeatedly offered to India to solve the Kashmir issue through a dialogue. The wise efforts of the present government have really high lightened the Kashmir cause to the world and even the President of the United States, Bill Clinton has also expressed his concern on this matter.

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