May 2007 News

Call to involve Kashmiris in peace process

22 May 2007
The Dawn

Islamabad: The ongoing peace process between Pakistan and India should be given right direction by involving the genuine leadership of the Kashmiris in it. This was stated by the executive director of Washington-based Kashmiri American Council, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, while speaking at a meet-the-press programme of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) here on Tuesday. “When you talk of resolving the Kashmir dispute, you cannot ignore the basic party to the issue,” he said. He said the Kashmir problem can be resolved within the next five to seven years if the peace process was allowed to be moved in a right direction. Dr Fai said though tension had subsided following the resumption of dialogue process between the two countries, yet what the international community wanted had not been done. He referred to President George Bush’s remarks that the United States supported a solution to the Kashmir dispute which was not only acceptable to Pakistan and India but also to the people of Kashmir. He also pointed towards calls by various world leaders underlining the need for trilateral talks to resolve the dispute. He said no genuine negotiations had yet been held by Pakistan and India to arrive at a just and lasting solution. Both are holding parleys which turn out to be more a matter of pretence than substance, he remarked. Pointing out that the army concentration in Kashmir was the largest in the world in terms of the numerical strength of the Indian occupation troops viz-a-viz the total population of Kashmir, he said India should give relief to the Kashmiris if it wanted a tangible progress on the peace process. “The blatant human rights violations in occupied Kashmir must stop if the intention is to carry forward the peace process. Otherwise, the process will not take off,” he stressed. He said India maintained a large military presence in Kashmir with the number of paramilitary forces, central reserve police and the border security force equipped with state-of- the-art torture machines exceeding 700,000. He said there were 16 Indian secret service agencies spying on the 8.3 million citizens. He said Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had held out an assurance to Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to explore possibility of repealing black laws, and underlined the need to swiftly fulfil the promise. Dr Fai said the world had started realising that status quo was not the option and the Kashmir tangle had to be resolved. In reply to a question, he said the Simla agreement placed no bar on taking the Kashmir dispute to international fora. He said Pakistan was in a very weak position in 1971 and it was the genius of the then leadership of the country that signing of Simla pact was made possible under which Kashmir was recognised as the outstanding dispute between the two countries. He said Kashmiris were not and cannot be called separatists because they cannot secede from a country to which they have never acceded to in the first place.


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