Pak spokesmanís remarks a challenge to every Kashmiri: Nazir Gilani
6 July 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Chairman of London-based Jammu & Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR), Dr Syed Nazir Gilani, who is also heading International Kashmir Alliance (IKA), has strongly objected to the Pakistan government spokesmanís remarks that Pakistanís choice would be necessarily acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir. He has expressed serious concern over the tendency of taking the political aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir for granted. At an exhaustive interaction with the Kashmir intelligentsia here, Dr Syed Nazir Gilani welcomed the commencement of talks between India and Pakistan but made it clear that taking the people of Jammu & Kashmir for granted could prove disastrous for the two neighbouring countries. Dr Gilani, who is currently on a 10-day visit in the Valley, explained that in all jurisprudential references, Jammu & Kashmir would mean the undivided state, which had its territories in Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, ĎAzad Kashmirí and Gilgit-Baltistan. Dr Gilani objected to the recent remarks of the Pakistan government spokesman Masood Ahmed Khan and asked how the choice of the people of Jammu & Kashmir would be necessarily subservient to that of the Government of Pakistan. Gilani, a resident of Baramulla area, has held positions in ĎAzad Kashmirí government and he has maintained a close rapport with Benazir Bhutto in the last two decades, irrespective of whether she was the Prime Minister, a prisoner or in exile. Living in London, he has been practicing law at the British Supreme Court and his organisation, JKCHR, has been enjoying consultative status at the United Nations Organisation. The Pakistan spokesman, according to Gilani, had no right to impose his military regimeís decision over Kashmiris. 'A Kashmiri was a Kashmiri 20 years before the birth of Pakistan', Dr Gilani said while referring to the state subject law authored and implemented by then ruler Maharaja Hari Singh in 1920s. Reiterating that the people of all the five regions of the State must necessarily position themselves as 'Kashmiris' in any process of seeking resolution to the J&K crisis, Dr Gilani implored New Delhi and Islamabad to have respect for the Kashmirisí 'quality of life and dignity of lifeí. 'India- Pakistan dialogue should not be based on blood spilling of Kashmiris. If the people (of J&K) have been sufferers in Delhi- Islamabad hostility, they should be the immediate beneficiaries of the two countriesí dťtente and friendship', Dr Gilani said. While welcoming the arrival of the Pakistani scoutsí contingent in Gulmarg, Dr Gilani desired to know why the two countries should not allow the people of one region to visit the people of the other region. Gilani described it as a positive development that cultural troupes, politicians, cricket stars, matinee idols and mediapersons from India and Pakistan were now visiting each otherís country. Even Abbas Jeelani, who was a persona non grata for New Delhi for several years, got a red carpet welcome twice in India. 'Why should all barriers exist between the Kashmiris and the Kashmiris?', Dr Gilani asked. 'Life is central in all disputes over the World. Tomorrow is only for those who live for tomorrow', Gilani asserted. He observed that the 16-year-old long bloodshed had not only dismantled the institutions and the great value system in Kashmir valley but it had also decreased the stateís population by 80,000. 'Referring to a referendum under the UN resolutions while simultaneously having a generation decimated is a self-defeatist process', Dr Gilani said. He also referred to incidents like the brutal killing of IRCON engineer, Sudhir Kumar, and a 10-year-old Mumbai girl, who died in a grenade blast at Pahalgam last month, and said that such inhuman acts would only increase the suffering of Kashmiri people. While accepting New Delhiís and Islamabadís locus standi on Jammu & Kashmir, Dr Gilani asserted that the two countries should have to address the rights of the Kashmiris in all the five regions. He argued that if Pakistan was a well wisher of Kashmiris, it should initiate steps to protect the lives of Kashmiris dying every day. 'Why should our blood serve as fuel to Pakistanís diplomatic engine? Why should a system continue in which Kashmiris kill each other under labels of being Indiaís or Pakistanís agents? Why should a system continue in which armed forces as well as the guerrillas kill the poor Kashmiris?', Dr Gilani asked. He said that every political leader, running his politics over the blood of Kashmiris, was necessarily accountable to every Kashmiri. While advocating 'complete transparency and accountability' in the resources and deliberations of Kashmiri leaders, Gilani ridiculed the Hurriyat rhetoric that a 'road map' had been prepared and the same would be 'unveiled at an appropriate time'. Dr Gilani described Kashmir as a complicated problem in which it was very difficult for India as well as Pakistan to comprise their respective positions. According to him, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh had a 'disputed accession' to India while as ĎAzad Kashmirí and Gilgit-Baltistan had none with Pakistan. 'At this stage, Pakistan is in no position of bargaining the territories as the J&K territories under its control have no accession to that country. India is in equally difficult position. The moment it will start bargaining the territories, the accession (of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh) would become void. Then thereís a Parliamentary resolution, seeking occupation of the territories under Pakistanís control', Gilani explained. Additional Advocate General of Jammu & Kashmir Government, Manzoor Ahmed Ganai, leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party Bilal Lodhi and Abdul Haq Vakil, noted columnist Zaffar Iqbal besides hijacker-turned- activist Hashim Qureshi were among the prominent speakers who expressed their views on this unique occasion.