ISLAMABAD PR - The National University of Sciences and Technology launched its major policy research and advocacy centre on Wednesday and arranged a seminar on Pakistan-India Relations and the Resurgence of Freedom Struggle in Indian-Held Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi presided over the event as chief guest.

The launch was attended by Mushaal Hussein Mullick (wife of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Yasin Malik), Ambassador Riaz Khokar (former foreign secretary), Dr Salman Shah (former finance minister) and Attiya Anayatullah (former minister of state for population welfare).

Lt Gen Naweed Zaman (R), Rector NUST, in his welcome remarks, said that the university was a key player in the process of nation-building through human resource development, advancement of science and technology, promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation, and national policy formulation, to facilitate the creation of knowledge economy.

The launch of NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) will help to utilise the high policy formulation and advisory potential of the university in line with the best practices of the top university-affiliated think tanks in the world. He also said that ‘Kashmir holds a special place in our hearts’. He dwelled upon the deep cultural affinities and socio-religious commonalities that bind Kashmiris and Pakistanis together.

On Kashmir crisis, Mushaal Mullick urged international community to play its part for implementation of United Nations Security Council’s resolutions for a plebiscite in Indian held Kashmir. She also added that humanity was bleeding in Kashmir. The valley is burning, and innocent Kashmiris are afraid as reports of brutal killings and rapes continue to rise.

India is attempting to alter the demography of Kashmir, all the while targeting the people living on the other side of the LOC to divert attention from the human rights violations in Indian-held side of the valley, she said. She appealed to the world conscience to address the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities against and urged India to begin talks.

Former Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokar spoke on Pak India stand-off and impact on situation in IHK. He said that India’s secularism was a fraud and its democracy was limping as it was a very communalised and stratified society. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi regretted that the world community was keeping mum over the growing plight of the Kashmiri people. The Foreign Minister paid tribute to the people of Occupied Kashmir who are continuing their freedom struggle despite the raging Indian violence and atrocities.

He said that Pakistan gave a befitting response when India resorted to aggression in the wake of Pulwama incident. Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the need for national consensus on issue of security and said that it was under this spirit that he wrote letters to parliamentary leaders of different political parties and personally contacted the leaders of Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Pakistan Muslim League. He said that though the response of the opposition parties on these issues was not negative but they hesitated to act promptly on such issues of national importance.