Washington: “Kashmir has been internationally recognized as a disputed territory since the adoption of the United Nations resolutions in 1948 & 1949. The most tragic aspect of the present situation is the inflexible position taken by the Government of India – its refusal to recognize the internationally mandated status of Kashmir and its stubbornness of parroting that Kashmir is its integral part. India’s obduracy has become an impediment in creating an atmosphere of peace and stability in the region of South Asia. Peace will come to Kashmir only when the Government of India abandon its brutal activities and harsh rhetoric and realizes that the people of Kashmir are not the problem, but rather part of the solution,” this was sated by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum during the 44th Annual Convention of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Dr. Fai was speaking on the subject of “Kashmir: its International dimension.’
It is the people of Kashmir who suffer. Their calls for self-determination have been brutally suppressed by the Indian armed forces. India has deployed over 700,000 of its military and paramilitary forces to Kashmir to quash the people’s call for freedom and justice.. These troops have unleashed a rein of terror on the civilian population. Amnesty International and other international NGO’s, including the report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights have graphically documented gross human rights violations by Indian military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir. In developing economic relations with India, the would powers must not ignore these human rights abuses committed by Indian armed forces under the acquiescence of India government.
The people of Kashmir urge the world powers to help resolve the Kashmir conflict through dialogue. They seek neither to support India nor Pakistan, but to support the principle of democracy and freedom. They demand to be allowed to exercise the right to self-determination in an atmosphere, free from coercion, intimidation and external compulsion.
The people of Kashmir firmly believe that if the tripartite negotiations takes place between Governments of India & Pakistan and the genuine leadership of the people of Kashmir – political uncertainty and mutual hostilities raging in the subcontinent since 1947 would be removed and replaced by sincere and lasting friendship, cooperation, peace and progress in the region.
Once peace is established in Kashmir, the Governments of India & Pakistan will have eliminated the source of their bitter resentment and establish a sense of confidence. Once confidence is established, the two sides can more easily be approached on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation. Absent that confidence, however, neither side will have the incentive or the inclination to deter their nuclear weapons build up. The result of that build up, in a region with rising tensions and no end to the conflict in sight, could be disastrous.
In addition to the potential threat of nuclear devastation, many people outside of Kashmir currently suffer the real consequences of the continuing conflict. The Governments of India & Pakistan are spending billions of dollars annually for armaments, troops, security personnel, and other military equipment to contain the conflict, while tens of millions of their citizens are deprived of food, water, electricity, sanitary conditions and other basic necessities. Both of these conditions – real and potential – can easily be improved by ending the conflict in Kashmir.
It is vital for the world powers not to loose sight of the true objective in determining peace in South Asia. Settlement of the Kashmir conflict is central to the purpose of stability and security in the region. The world powers must not be swayed by the diplomatic row coming from New Delhi, or the allure of a quick fix to Pakistan. The problem between India & Pakistan as clearly defined and understood by the experts, remains the dispute over Kashmir. The final settlement to this conflict to the satisfaction of all parties concerned will guarantee peace and stability not only in Kashmir but also in the whole region of South Asia and beyond.