Intl Kashmir Conference Rejects Status Quo
23 July 2005
Washington DC: The Fifth International Kashmir Peace Conference has concluded here last at the Capitol Hill after a number of renowned speakers from various continents deliberated for two days on different aspects of Kashmir issue, including options for its solution. On the concluding day, a nine-para Washington Declaration was adopted, which made clear that 'status quo was no solution,' and that 'ceasefire line as an option was totally unacceptable.' It declared that Kashmiris should be 'an integral component' of the ongoing peace process, 'since they are the primary stakeholders.' The declaration called for 'an intensive and comprehensive dialogue' between various opinions and regions of Kashmir 'on both sides of the dividing line.' It urged that 'every form of violence' must come to an end to improve the environment 'for a constructive and progressive dialogue.' It called for 'cessation of all types of human rights violations,' and welcomed all Kashmir-specific CBMs. The Declaration says interaction among Kashmiris will improve the level of trust and confidence- as it will also help develop a consensus in the conflict resolution- 'and, the government of India and Pakistan must facilitate the inter and intra-Kashmir dialogue.' The theme before the roundtable conference was consideration of various options of Kashmir solution. Lars Rise, member of Norwegian parliament, questioned as to 'why can't we move faster?.' He urged that Kashmiri people be heard, and added, 'there could be no lasting peace without true participation of Kashmiri people.' In his view, there was 'a large movement now' on Kashmir, and hoped 'we will definitely reach a solution-' as we look forward to do it. The Norwegian government, he stated, was ready to facilitate just solution of Kashmir issue. 'While we have no power to change history, we can shape future.' Kashmiris, he stated were not 14 but 30 million people- in India, Pakistan, including all minorities; and that, it would be a pluralistic state. The speakers said it was not a religious or territorial issue. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai said 'if we are realist, peace and justice in Kashmir are achievable.' He said it is necessary 'to set the stage' for settlement of Kashmir, and that position of status quo 'is harmful and unacceptable.' The executive director of Kashmiri American Council contested the assertion that Kashmir was a complex issue, 'in fact, there is no international issue that is not complex,' he asserted.