EU for independent observers in Kashmir
28 October 2003
The News International
LONDON: The secretary of the All-Party Kashmir Group in the European Parliament has called upon the European Union to send independent observers to Kashmir to check the veracity of Indian allegations.Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, who recently returned from a fact-finding visit to the Azad and Jammu Kashmir told APP on Tuesday that India's claims about Pakistan having alleged terrorist training camps or initiating shelling across the Line of Control should be put to the test.He said if the allegations are not proved the international community must put pressure on India to negotiate a settlement to the Kashmir dispute, which has cost so many lives and so much money.Davies said, during his meetings with the cross- section of the people in Pakistan the message was the same - Pakistan has nothing to hide, and wants international observers to prove once and for all that India's allegations are false.He said that he was impressed by the realistic attitude towards negotiations between India and Pakistan adopted by most of the people with whom the group had talked.'At our meeting with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, it was said that there would have to be a 'give and take' by both sides, and the need for compromise was repeated often. A final proposal would have to be put to the Kashmiri people, but peace will come only if all concerned accept that they will not get everything they want.'Davies said that he was depressed by India's refusal to contemplate serious discussions on the core issues.He said: 'The tragedy is that if just two people were to commit themselves and their governments to explore the way forward then the conflict might draw to an end.'Davies, who represents the entire North West of England, was accompanied by Liberal Democrat European candidate Sajjad Karim and visit organiser Abdullah Zaid of the Kashmiri Studies Circle in Pendle, Lancashire.Sajjad Karim appreciated the peace overtures between the two countries. He said the proposal of reopening the road through the Chakoti between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar would be seen with suspicion.The fear was, he said, that India might use these attempts to normalise relations as a means of avoiding the critical issues.