Washington, DC (February 20, 2019) — At yesterday’s International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable meeting held on Capitol Hill, a joint letter from Indo-American Kashmir Forum and HAF was hand delivered to US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. The letter urged the US to take both international and domestic action to censure terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and its leader Masood Azhar, as well as those nations providing support to them. JeM claimed responsibility for last week’s attack in Pulwama, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which killed and injured more than 80 people.
The letter was read in full before Ambassador Brownback and the participants of the IRF Roundtable by Dr. Vijay Sazawal, the International Convener of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum and a Kashmiri Pandit who experienced first-hand the Islamist insurgency driven by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Dr. Sazawal moved the audience when he stated unequivocally, “there is a cultural genocide happening in Kashmir.”
The letter states:
“We call upon the US government to condemn in all international fora the role played by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and China in providing physical and diplomatic cover to armed Islamic terrorists like Masood Azhar that have wreaked havoc in Kashmir. We will also request the US Congress to urgently convene special hearings to examine the international terror nexus plaguing Kashmir and India, especially on the plight of minorities who have fallen victim to ISI sponsored Jihadi terrorist groups operating in Kashmir since 1989. Relevant US State Department, Defense Department, and intelligence agency reports should then reflect these findings.”
HAF’s Jay Kansara, Director of Government Relations, further reiterated to Ambassador Brownback, who as a senior official in the Trump Administration at the State Department has repeatedly spoken out against religious persecution of minorities in Pakistan, that, “The environment of intolerance at the grassroots level only feeds into the ecosystem which breeds terrorists like Masood Azhar who then carry out such transnational attacks in Afghanistan and India.”
Read the full IAKF-HAF Letter to Amb. Brownback