April 2004 News

Kashmir Forum At The Capitol Hill Praises Indo-Pak Peace Move

22 April 2004
News Network International

Washington DC: The Kashmir Forum on Capitol Hill addressed the latest South Asian peace initiatives between India and Pakistan and its impact on resolving the 56 year old dispute over Kashmir. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council, was the featured guest speaker, and was introduced by Congressman Joseph Pitts. The Congressman had visited Kashmir earlier in the year and witnessed the grief and suffering of the Kashmiri people. Dr. Fai praised the leadership demonstrated by both Indian Prime Minister B.J. Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in recognizing the time had come for bold moves to negotiate a solution to Kashmir consistent with humanity and the wishes of 13 million people of Kashmir. The Prime Minister, for his part, has accepted that Kashmir may be resolved outside the Indian constitution and within the parameters of (Insaniat) humanity. The President, for his part, has accepted that all parties need to make concessions so as to reach a final settlement of the conflict and so long as a solution respects a consensus among Kashmiris. Dr. Fai added that the United States deeper engagement would be necessary to facilitate negotiating progress. He concluded by underscoring the continuing Kashmiri vote of no confidence in their current subjugation by India through widespread boycotting of sham elections. According to Star Television and companion independent sources, the current balloting for a national parliament attracted a tiny 7% turn out in the Baramulla constituency on April 20, 2004. That figure tacitly reaffirmed the desire of Kashmiris to decide their fate directly by referendum, a right of self-determination enshrined in the United Nations charter. Dr. Fai ended optimistically by declaring, 'I am certain that a self-determination solution to Kashmir can be fashioned in such a way that will be a win win situation for every concerned party to the dispute, i.e., Governments of India and Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.


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