June 2004 News

Conversion of LoC into permanent border rejected

7 June 2004
The Dawn

Birmingham: The two-day International Kashmir Conference, which concluded here on Sunday, unanimously adopted a resolution rejecting conversion of the Line of Control (LoC) into a permanent border between Pakistan and India. The moot was organized by World Kashmir Freedom Movement (WKFM) here at the Town Hall. The WKFM resolution approved by the delegates said that 'conversion of the LoC that artificially divides Kashmir into permanent border between India and Pakistan or any other such instrument employed to perpetuate the status quo in the State is totally unacceptable'. It said that Kashmiris were the central party to the Kashmir issue and the legitimate Kashmiri leadership, which was involved in the current freedom struggle, 'must be an integral part of any dialogue, discussion or negotiations' between Pakistan and India at an early stage. The resolution said that the dispute should be resolved on the basis of the 'expression of the free will of the people of Kashmir and without compromising the territorial integrity of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, as it existed on August 14, 1947'. The conference was attended among others by Pakistan's Acting High Commissioner to the UK, Murad Ali, Lord Nazir Ahmed, MP Khalid Mehmood, Member of Labour Central Shahid Malik, and Member of European Parliament (MEP) Liz Lynn. The resolution appealed to Kashmiri political leadership to close their ranks and forge unity. It spelled out various confidence- building measures to create a conducive atmosphere for a meaningful, result-oriented and unconditional dialogue between Pakistan and India for a just solution of Kashmir in line with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It called for the release of political prisoners and withdrawal of cases against them, extension of the ceasefire throughout Indian held Kashmir, restoration of civil liberties and repeal of draconian laws like Jammu and Kashmir Public safety Act, Disturbance Areas Act, and Armed Forces Special Powers Act. It urged India to notify the families of the people who had disappeared, lift restrictions on movement of political leaders, and stop all human rights violations. In another resolution the conference recognized with gratitude and pride the lifelong services and commitment of Dr Ayub Thakur towards the just cause of the Kashmiris. The conference decided to institute an award to be presented to those who made positive contributions to the cause of Kashmir. The speakers who came from the US, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and from the UK called for giving Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination which was enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions. They expressed concern on human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. They supported the current peace moves between Pakistan and India for seeking a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue but made it clear that a lasting solution of the issue could be found only by involving the people of Jammu and Kashmir who were the main party to it. Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Murad Ali, represented the High Commissioner Maleeha Lodhi at the Kashmir conference because Ms Lodhi was in Islamabad to attend a three-day seminar on South Asia. Speaking on the occasion, Murad Ali said that Kashmir was not a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India, but it was the question of the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said Pakistan had always called for 'a serious, result-oriented and composite dialogue between Pakistan and India for resolution of the Kashmir dispute and all other differences that exist between the two neighbours'. Mr Ali said that the 'composite dialogue' meant that all issues would be dealt with simultaneously. All Parties Group Chairman in the House of Commons Roger Godsiff said he was 'absolutely convinced that people of Kashmir will earn their right to govern themselves'. They had made it clear not to accept Indian subjugation as it were the Kashmiris themselves who could determine how to govern themselves, he said. Pledging support to the Kashmir cause, Godsiff said he would help keep Kashmir on the international agenda, be it in the Commons or the EU. Referring to India's quest to get a permanent slot in the UN Security Council, he said that New Delhi could not have it as long as it was in breach of UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.


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