Fazl says situation not conducive for early Kashmir settlement

11 June 2009
The Dawn

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chairman of the Special Committee of the National Assembly on Kashmir and chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, has ruled out an early resolution of the dispute because the presence of United States and Nato forces in the region has created a very volatile situation. Speaking at a 'roundtable conference on creating a consensus agenda' here on Thursday, he said there was a need to strengthen the freedom movement to such an extent that could pressure India into holding negotiations on the Kashmir dispute. The conference was organised by Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the executive director of the Washington-based Kashmir Centre. Maulana Fazlur Rehman informed the participants, drawn from occupied Kashmir, Azad Kashmir and across the country, that he had discussed the Kashmir issue at the OIC level and held meetings with Saudi authorities in this regard. He said the 'so-called war on terror' was a 'war for US interests'. For a lasting peace in the region it was necessary to force the US and Nato to pull out their forces, he added. In his key-note address, Dr Fai said that for the last one year the Kashmir freedom movement had been transformed into a peaceful campaign. The APHC leader, Syed Ali Gilani, and Hezbul Mujahedeen chief Syed Salahuddin support the strategy, he added. A declaration adopted by the conference said 'In view of this conference the right to self-determination, as recognised by the UN Security Council, is the only basis for the resolution of Kashmir dispute.' The resolution further said that for stopping arms race and promoting democratic traditions in the region it was necessary to give Kashmiris their right of self-determination. Speakers supported the Pakistan-India composite dialogue and endorsed the stand taken by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that the Indian government's overtures to Pakistan for peace were incompatible with Indian atrocities. They urged the international community to take note of the peaceful protests held in Kashmir and to pressurise India to withdraw troops from the occupied valley.