Paper on resolving Kashmir issue
18 April 2006
The Daily Times
Islamabad: Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) need to flex muscle, study the situation and unite to move towards the proposed solutions of autonomy and self-governance for Jammu and Kashmir, said intellectuals and activists from Lahore and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday. Discussing the proposals made by Dr Mubashir Hasan of the Pakistan People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, the intellectuals said that although India and Pakistan were in control of their respective portions of Kashmir, their position had weakened and wanted to resolve the issue. Dr Hasan made the proposals in a paper titled ‘Resolving the Kashmir issue’. The paper focuses on the fact that Kashmiris – who want a unified state – will have to convince all ethnic, racial and political groups on both sides of the LoC to unite and plan to properly implement and utilise the proposed autonomy. PIPFPD’s Pakistan chapter arranged the discussion at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan office. Participants of the discussion urged Kashmiris to define the proposed autonomy and start working on one platform to shape the structure of a united and prosperous Kashmir. They also said the final solution to Kashmir was an independent and unified state and that work should be done in phases by shifting from ideal situations to realising ground realities. They said the time was right for Kashmiris not to think about justice, but to flex muscle to get their demands met. Kashmiris must prepare a roadmap without expecting anything from India, Pakistan, the UN and other external forces, they said, adding that Kashmiris could get maximum autonomy if they projected unity. The participants said there was a need for autonomy at the local and regional levels in Kashmir. The participants also felt that despite people-to-people contact between Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC, there was no true freedom and control over the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service was still with Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies. They said it was almost impossible to get a visa for the bus service and that the Indian and Pakistani governments to provide an independent environment and respecting the rights of Kashmiris. PIPFPD must help political parties, ethnic and racial groups and civil society on both sides of the LoC to prepare a comprehensive document proposing an autonomy implementation plan and structure, they added. The participants decided to arrange similar discussions at Islamabad and Karachi and at major Indian cities where the people of Kashmir will also be invited. PIPFPD may also help arrange a conference in both Kashmirs and push Kashmiris to evolve consensus for the proposed autonomy and its structure. The participants included Dr Hasan, IA Rehman, Rashid Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Dr Mehdi Hasan, Aziz Mazhar, Khawar Mumtaz, Nighat Said Khan and several senior journalists. Amanullah Khan of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Farooq Niazi and representatives of various parties and organisations from AJK were also present. Help Palestine: Dr Hasan, in a separate statement on Tuesday, said the Pakistani government should immediately send $50 million in aid to the Palestinians. “We must do all we can to help establish the state of Palestine. We want self-determination for Kashmiris. How can we deny the same right to Palestinians?” he added.