Kashmir key to regional peace: Gilani
International Conference Begins At PaK University
Muzaffarabad, May 23: Terming Kashmir as key to regional peace, Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that socio-economic development in South Asia was inescapably linked to the settlement of the long-outstanding issue.
“Finding out an amicable solution to the core issue of Kashmir, lasting peace and economic prosperity in the whole region is absolutely interlinked”, Prime Minister Gillani said this while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day international conference on Kashmir here today, which is being organized by Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) University and attended by the eminent delegates from India, Pakistan, UK and across the divided state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Reaffirming his country’s political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmir, he said that it was high time that the world community should come forward to help resolve the dispute peacefully.
Regarding the resumption of talks, he said India and Pakistan have resumed the dialogue and the process should go on so that the core issue of Kashmir could be settled amicably in accordance with Kashmiris’ aspirations in line with the UN charter and UN resolutions in a friendly geo-political environment. Owing to this dispute, he said, people of the entire sub-continent and in particular the people of Kashmir have terribly suffered for last several decades.
“Pakistan is a peace loving country and wants peace with all its neighbors, however peace in the sub-continent is unattainable without finding a solution to Kashmir issue”, he said adding that Pakistan wants a solution but it has to be tangible.
Expressing concern over the human rights situation in the Valley, he said, “Kashmiris are subjected to torture and are being deprived of fundamental rights.”
Despite the Karachi attack, the Pakistan PM traveled to the mountainous region to kick off the formal proceedings of the conference.
Seeking a peaceful settlement of K-dispute, federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Mian Manzoor Watto said that India and Pakistan cannot afford another war as the two countries have fought two wars in the past. He urged the Government of India to respect the UN resolutions and grant Kashmiris the internationally pledged right to settle the issue peacefully.
He said that Prime Minister Gillani’s participation shows Pakistan’s commitment and seriousness in resolving the Kashmir dispute.
Regarding the forthcoming elections in PaK, he said the incumbent democratic dispensation in Islamabad was committed to hold free, fair and transparent elections in the region.
Responding to Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani’s video message to the conference, he said that the day was not far when the miseries of Kashmiri people would come to end.
Raja Zulqarnain Khan, the President of PaK, said, “Kashmir is not a territorial dispute, it is about the fundamental rights of millions of Kashmiris.” The unresolved dispute, he said, was the main reason of the lack of economic development in South Asia. He was of the view that a peaceful settlement of the decades long dispute could usher an era of peace, prosperity and economic development. “Let us turn Kashmir into a peace zone”, he said adding that it was possible only if Kashmir was resolved keeping in view the aspirations of Kashmiri people.
PaK Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan said that the issue of Kashmir rises from non-implementation of the grand agreement of July 1947. He said India’s ‘intransigence and unrealistic approach’ was a main hurdle in the way of peace.
Referring to the historical perspective of Kashmir imbroglio he said that India had always backed out of its commitments, which he said was the main reason that Kashmir issue was hanging around for several years.
Kashmiris, he said, wanted a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the problem. He however maintained that the India and Pakistan can achieve new levels of economic prosperity provided the core issue of Kashmir was resolved peacefully. If left unresolved, he said, the unresolved Kashmir issue can become even more complicated besides pushing the region into a morass of economic uncertainty.
Referring to the CBMs taken by the governments of India and Pakistan he said that both the governments should initiate more Kashmir-centric CBMs like setting up of joint Indo-Pak development fund to strengthen economy of the region (on both sides of LoC), education co-operation and suggested that leadership of India and Pakistan should arrange joint visits to all the three regions including Jammu & Kashmir, PaK and Gilgit Baltistan.
He also stated that LoC should be transformed into line of commerce and should be rendered irrelevant.
He also flayed the human rights violations ‘inflicted on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.’
Regarding Indian army general’s recent statements he said it was very unfortunate that after Abbotabad incident the Indians started to threaten Pakistan.
In his video message, Syed Ali Geelani urged the Government of Pakistan to stand by its principled stance on Kashmir. He also thanked the people of Pakistan and PaK for lending all out support to Kashmir cause.
Highlighting Kashmiris’ sacrifices he said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have rendered unprecedented sacrifices to get their cherished goal. He said that Kashmiris were not averse to talks but talks must be meaningful, result-oriented and Kashmir-centric. He said that unless India accepts the centrality of the core issue of Kashmir, getting engaged in a dialogue with India was a meaningless and futile exercise.
Speaking on the occasion, Kashmir American Council Executive Director, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai said, “The settlement of Kashmir is achievable if pragmatic and realistic strategy is established to help set a stage to put the Kashmir issue on the road to a settlement.”
He said, “The principle of self-determination and the maintenance of international peace and security are inseparable. The denial of this right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir has brought two neighboring countries in South Asia – India and Pakistan –to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.”
He said that since the establishment of India and Pakistan as sovereign states, Jammu and Kashmir was ‘not part of the territory of either,’ the two countries entered into an agreement to allow its people to exercise their right of self-determination under impartial auspices and in conditions free from coercion from either side.
Earlier, Habib-u-Rehman, the Vice-Chancellor of PaK University thanked the distinguished delegates for attending the conference.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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