MINA News Agency reporter team held an exclusive interview with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (LBBP) of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Indonesia Muhammad Hassan on Monday, March 23, 2021 at the Pakistan Embassy Office, Jakarta.
Ambassador Hassan handed over a credential letter to the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo on February 4, 2021.
The MINA team consisted of Advisor Imaam Yakhsallah Mansur, General Leader Arief Rahman, Senior Editor Widi Kusnadi, Chief Editor of Arabic Language Rifa Berliana Arifin, Chief Editor of English Sajadi and Young Journalist Lailatul Mukaramah and Cameraman Abdullah.
In the interview entitled Ambassador Talks, Ambassador Hassan said that Pakistan and Indonesia have had deep relations in various fields since the establishment of the two countries.
In addition, Indonesia and Pakistan also support each other in international forums such as the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations, especially in voicing support for nations that are still oppressed, such as in Palestine, Rohingya, Uighur, and also Kashmir.
The following is an excerpt from the interview:
MINA: What is the content of your Mission Paper during your duty in Indonesia?
Ambassador Hassan: I have been given a mission by the Prime Minister and my Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work to strengthen relations between Pakistan and Indonesia.
Pakistan and Indonesia have had deep relations in the social, cultural, religious and other fields since the founding of the two countries, in 1945 (Indonesia) and 1947 (Pakistan).
You are here on a very good day, March 23 is Pakistan National Day.
So, it can be said that we already have very good relations between the two countries politically, economically and also nationally.
When it comes to politics affairs, fortunately, we don’t have any problems at all. We have something in common, the leaders of the two countries have a good record with each other and they care for each other in all important issues.
Then, regarding the problems of the Islamic world, such as the problem of Palestine, Rohingya, Kashmir, and Islamophobia, the two countries are working together to face them bilaterally or through the OIC.
Economically, we have good trade relations, valued at US $ 2.6 billion this year.
Most of the trading products came from Indonesia to Pakistan.
There are quite a number of trading opportunities in these two years. So, one of my goals here is to strengthen economic relations.
We already have a trade agreement between the two countries and my effort is to turn it into a free trade agreement that will give further impetus to our economic contraction.
In terms of tourism, Indonesia is a beautiful country and there is tourism potential. Pakistan also has a landscape that varies from mountains to deserts. So, I think there are enough opportunities for the two countries to cooperate here.
MINA: How is the current condition of Kashmir, especially after the revocation of the special status of the region?
Ambassador Hassan: Unfortunately, the situation in Kashmir remains alarming. There has been no end to the atrocities committed by the State and Indian forces against Muslims in Kashmir, especially after India’s decision in August 2019 to revoke the provisions of their own Constitution. They designated Kashmir as a disputed territory and not part of India and then divided the territory into three distinct parts.
Then, since then the people of Kashmir have opposed this decision. As a result, until now it has been one year and seven months, the entire leadership of the Kashmiri people has been detained.
Moreover, no one can speak out and no human rights organizations are allowed to enter the Kashmir region.
Furthermore, with the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly eight million residents of Kashmir are under lockdown.
We have made every effort to help the people of Kashmir, including asking the media crew to cover, but this has not been successful and so far there has been no discussion between Pakistan and India on this issue.
MINA: What is the relationship between the Kashmir issue and the Pakistan-India conflict?
Ambassador Hassan: I want to make it clear that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.
We never thought of Kashmir as part of Pakistan and We are not at war with India for that.
It is about the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people, which was granted by the United Nations and approved by India and Pakistan in 1947.
In that year, India and Pakistan declared their respective independence.
There are several states that were independent under local rule, Kashmir is one of them. They are given the option of joining Pakistan or India on the basis of proximity and majority of the population.
At that time, Kashmir was close to Pakistan and the population was mostly Muslim. The people of Kashmir decided to join Pakistan, but the then Hindu leadership of Kashmir conspired and declared to join India. Britain also illegally gave Indian troops access to Kashmir.
Muslim-majority Pakistan wants to help the Kashmiri people. However, because Pakistan is a newly independent country and does not yet have army, it cannot do anything about it.
Therefore, the Government of Pakistan continues to provide political and diplomatic support for a referendum or self-determination in the Kashmir region.
MINA: What does your country expect from Indonesia in solving the Kashmir problem?
Ambassador Hassan: I believe Indonesia is a very important country in the region, can play a big role in resulting solutions in Kashmir because Indonesia is not only the largest Muslim country, but also the fourth largest country in the world and is a member of the G20, an economic powerhouse.
Of course, his voice will be heard internationally. So, whatever is said and Indonesia’s position will have weight on the international scene.
Apart from that, Indonesia also has good relations with Pakistan and India. It can be used to force India to stop their atrocities in Kashmir and find a solution to the problem.
Pakistan would welcome any role Indonesia has played in this matter and in any form. We have confidence in Indonesia and we hope Indonesia can use it to India and internationally to solve this problem.
Indonesia plays a big role in solving the problems of Palestine, Rohingya, and the Islamic world as well as Afghanistan.
On the issue of Afghanistan, we are working together, so there is no reason we cannot cooperate for Kashmir, but unfortunately so far Indonesia has not taken a proactive position in resolving the Kashmir Issue.
MINA: How is your state affirmative regarding the Palestinian issue, which is still under threat from the Israeli occupation?
Ambassador Hassan: Until now we are friends of Palestine. We always support fair solutions and our position is quite clear. We have not recognized Israel so far and have no intention of recognizing Israel.
We support a Palestinian peace solution based on UN resolutions and international law.
We also welcome the General Elections (Elections) by the Palestinian Authority and we hope that they will unite them. (WT/P2/RE1/RA1/R11/R9)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)