Washington Declaration passed overwhelmingly
24 July 2006
The Daily Times
Washington DC: Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, has expressed disagreement with a report published in this newspaper which said that the declaration issued at the end of the 6th International Kashmir Conference was mired in controversy. He said in a statement that there had been a paragraph by paragraph confirmation of the entire text of the Washington Declaration at an extended session of the conference on July 21, the last day. He said delegate Gautam Navlakha from India, who moved an amendment in the earlier session to one of the recommendations, an amendment that had passed by a 17-12 vote, on second thought wanted to withdraw it. However, the chair, Dr Karen Parker, an internationally renowned jurist, told Navlakha that he could not reverse the democratic will of the house unless the house authorised him to do so. Abiding by the direction of the chair, another vote was taken and the amendment was withdrawn by an overwhelming vote of 38 with just one abstention. Later, Navalakha offered a revised amendment which said, The Conference resolves that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their genuine leadership should be central to the peace process. We reaffirm that only through democratically established procedures for ascertaining the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir can a sustainable and just settlement of the Kashmir dispute be achieved. This amendment was carried overwhelmingly and is part of the Washington Declaration issued by the conference.