‘Peace will elude subcontinent till K-issue resolved’
2-DAY KASHMIR CONFERENCE ENDS
NISAR A THOKAR
Muzaffarabad, May 25: The 2-day International Kashmir Conference, hosted by the University of PaK, concluded here last night with all delegates unanimously agreeing upon that peace would continue to elude the subcontinent till Kashmir dispute was resolved.
While deliberating on different dimensions of Kashmir dispute the eminent delegates from India, Pakistan, UK and Turkey came up with some concrete and thoughtful ideas and stressed the need for a flexible, realistic and pragmatic approach to settle the lingering Kashmir dispute that happens to be a stumbling block in the way of peace in the subcontinent.
Kashmir dispute, they said, was primarily the issue of Right to Self-determination of more than 17 million people of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir saying that the habitats of the state have been the worst victims of this deadly conflict.
However, they opined that the issue involves life and future of billions of people of South Asia as it continues to bedevil relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals, India and Pakistan besides marring the region’s socio-economic development.
The denial of the Right to Self Determination (RSD) to Kashmiris has led to war hysteria and uncertainty that has pushed the entire subcontinent into a quagmire of insecurity and uncertainty.
Speaking at the preliminary session, the Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fair, said that the self-determination of the people is a basic principal and essence of the UN charter which has been reaffirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and applied countless times to the settlement of international disputes.
The concept, he said played significant part in settling border disputes after World War I and attained greater importance after the Second World War. Quoting Article 1.2 of the UN charter he said that the principle of equal rights and self-determination was set as criterion to forge friendly relations amongst the nations.
As for as the solution of the problem is concerned he said, “There is no international dispute which is not complex, if there is an interest in a settlement, the complexity becomes a motivating factor”.
“If there is no interest, then it becomes an instrument of passivity and inaction”, he added.
Executive Director of Justice Foundation, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl said, “The history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir reveals that its people have never given-up their claim to the right to self-determination.”
“The entire State of JK” he said, “Is a disputed territory. India and Pakistan need to recognize the heterogeneous character of Jammu and Kashmir and help towards starting an intra and inter state dialogue to for a greater consensus.”
On the issue of Kashmir and human rights, the National Defence University (NDU) Professor Muhammad Khan said that “draconian laws” enforced in Jammu Kashmir were the main cause of rights violations.
Referring to world human rights bodies he said that the Amnesty International, US state Department, the UN special Rapporteur had exposed the gross human rights abuses “perpetrated by armed forces in Kashmir.”
He said that irrespective of the political and religious dimensions Kashmir has a humanitarian/ human dimension that need to be addressed as the people of state have suffered terribly for last several years.
Regarding to media’s role and Kashmir dispute, GK columnist Z G Muhammad said, “Had Indian media presented Kashmir issue in its right perspective, political leadership in India could have thought differently as far as Kashmir issue is concerned”.
He said that today, there were many saner and sincere voices in the Indian media but one can’t really deny the fact that the media had played overall a “dubious role” regarding Kashmir and had wrongly supported the policies of the government.
Referring to the founder of National Conference late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Zahid said, “He happened to be the hero of India and within no time he became a villainous character.”
Recalling the Kunan Posh Pora mass rape incident, Zahid said, “Indian media camouflaged the whole story rather than exposing the culprits involved in the heinous crime.”
However he stated that there were big names in Indian media and the civil society like Arundhati Roy, Seema Mustafa and several others who took the lead and did not hesitate to call a spade a spade.
He said that same was the case with Pakistani media. “Nobody even challenged Musharraf’s 4-point formula and the media toed his line”, he said
Senior journalist Seema Mustafa said that corporate controlled media was one of the major issues in the modern world, which has unfortunately failed to raise the issues in right direction and in its right perspective. “A free-fair and independent media can only help out to spotlight the issues like Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan are using imperialistic tools to divide the people of Kashmir.”
Drawing parallels between Indian and Pakistan she said that both
the countries had “rigged local elections” to bring into power “such people who follow their agenda.”
She said New Delhi and Islamabad feel comfortable when they have their favourites run the administrative affairs in Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. She pointed out that the people of Gilgit Baltistan were denied of the fundamental rights for a very long time.
People of Kashmir, she said don’t want to go with either of the states India or Pakistan. “The youth in Kashmir are looking for freedom, they are against the status quo”, she said adding that the assurances and pledges made with the people of Jammu and Kashmir were not fulfilled.
She said that Indian army had no role in politics and they have no right to interfere into political affairs of the country whatsoever.
Professor Kamal Chenoy said that improving and expanding people to people dialogue repealing of “black laws,” ensuring the basic fundamental rights of Kashmiri people and engaging political as well as the civil society at different levels can really help to move down to peace in the region. Chenoy out rightly denounced the “draconian laws” prevalent in the state.
Chenoy said that Kashmir is an international problem and could be resolved provided the concerned parties to the dispute demonstrate magnanimity and flexibility. He was of the view that status-quo was not acceptable to the people of Kashmir and therefore an out of the box political arrangement was must to address the issue.
He suggested a political solution that gives substantial autonomy to the region could be worked out. “There could be amendments in the Article 370 whereby the people of Kashmir can be empowered. Under this arrangement only two subjects (Defence and Foreign Affairs) can remain under Indian control whereas people of Jammu and Kashmir can have their own flag and even of their own currency,” Chenoy suggested
He said that a joint Kashmir Council can be established and empowered that can help to restore cultural unity of the divided state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, he said that while talking about shared sovereignty it means both Indian and Pakistan will have some sort of control over the territories.
He stated that the nationalism and jingoism won’t really work, “We will have to make some sort of compromises, and some give and take is needed to address the problem”.
“Azadi” he said is demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and what shape does it take is a big question to answer at the moment”.
Veteran Kashmiri leader and a known jurist and Justice ( retired) Majeed Malik said that Kashmir was not only an issue of the people of Kashmir but it is an issue between India and Pakistan.
He said that Simla Agreement reduced the scope of Kashmir issue making it a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Bilateralism he said had unfortunately eliminated the role of Kashmiris though they happen to be the principal party to the dispute.
Responding to Prof. Chenoy’s remarks regarding the shared sovereignty of the state he said it was not acceptable to the people of Kashmir because we have seen that “husband of two wives remains hungry.”
APHC-G convener, Ghulam Muhammad Safi said Kashmiris want peace but peace with dignity and honour. He said no country whatsoever has the right to decide the fate of Kashmir saying that it were the people of Kashmir who were granted the right to determine the political future through a free, fair and impartial plebsice.
Terming unity as key to success Safi agreed that there were some weaknesses in Kashmiri leadership and hoped that time was not far when we will have one leadership and one agenda.
APHC representative Faiz Naqashbandi said that the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir was the best way to settle Kashmir issue. He said that Kashmiri leadership believes that tripartite talks could lead to a peaceful settlement of the issue.
Shujat Bukhari, Zaffar Chudhary and Murtaza Shibili shared the same views.
Mian Manzoor Watto the federal minister for Kashmir Affairs said that Pakistan strongly believes in the UN resolutions and won’t allow any solution that would be unacceptable to the people of Kashmir.
Referring to the sacrifices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir he said that the incumbent democratic dispensation in Islamabad cannot ignore aspirations of Kashmiri people.
The panellists also urged the respective governments of India and Pakistan to empower people of Jammu and Kashmir thereby including their genuine representatives in the talks process to make it a credible and result-oriented exercise.
They said India must bring an end to all cycles of violence in Kashmir, release political prisoners and revoke the “draconian laws” enforced in the state. India should also restore the right of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations and let Kashmiri leadership travel abroad without any hindrance.
“This is high time that the peace loving nations come forward in a big way to help resolve Kashmir dispute to ensure peace and stability in South Asia”, they maintained.
• Denial of RSD has led to war hysteria
• Indo-Pak need to recognize heterogeneous character of JK
• Address humanitarian, human dimensions
• Indo- Pak using imperialistic tools to divide people
• Kashmiri youth against status quo
• End all cycles of violence, release political prisoners
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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2-DAY KASHMIR CONFERENCE ENDS
NISAR A THOKAR
Muzaffarabad, May 25: The 2-day International Kashmir Conference, hosted by the University of PaK, concluded here last night with all delegates unanimously agreeing upon that peace would continue to elude More