Arab League skirts Kashmir16 May 2011
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Srinagar: The Arab League’s ambassador to India today said the organisation had “no position” to speak on Kashmir, in a reality check for Valley separatists who have been trying to drum up support from Muslim countries. “The Arab League has no position to speak on the Kashmir issue. We hope bloodshed ends and peace prevails,” Ahmed Salem Al Wahishi said on the sidelines of a peace conference here. The comments - which are in tune with India’s stand against any third-party intervention in Kashmir - came days after moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had said the Organisation of Islamic Countries was setting up a rights commission to probe abuses by Valley security forces. The separatist leader was recently in Brussels, where he met OIC assistant secretary-general Abdul Aleem. A Hurriyat spokesperson had said the OIC official reportedly expressed “serious concern over the wanton arrests and other human rights abuses”. The Hurriyat enjoys observer status at the OIC, which includes the 22 Arab League states apart from 35 other Muslim countries. The League ambassador was in Srinagar to preside over a meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Foundation, a non-government organisation. Among those who attended the meet were governor N.N. Vohra, the Centre’s chief interlocutor on Kashmir Dileep Padgaonkar and social activist Swami Agnivesh. Agnivesh demanded immediate revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, release of all political prisoners and a judicial probe into the death of more than 100 people last year in alleged firing by security forces. “Temperatures are rising in other states of India and what better than Kashmir to relax,” he said, taking a dig at frequent visits by the interlocutors. Chief guest Vohra said there was an “imperative need” to ponder over the “unfortunate happenings” of the last two decades.