Pak Equates Kashmir With Palestine25 September 2011
New York: Two days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a historic move at the United Nations for recognition of his homeland as an independent State, Pakistan put the issue of Kashmir in the same bracket with the Middle East conflict and sought early resolution of the dispute in South Asia too. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told an annual meet of the 56-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) that the world community must strive for resolving the “two oldest unresolved disputes on the UN agenda – Palestine and Kashmir” to ensure the right to self-determination for struggling people in both the lands. The All Party Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too told an OIC Contact Group on Kashmir that Kashmiris supported the Palestinians’ bid for statehood recognition at the UN. “Let me say to the people of Palestine that the people of Kashmir, proudly, are the first to congratulate you on your bold initiative. Let it be written in history that an oppressed people are overjoyed looking at you in your moment of glory, confident that our time will soon come,” he said. India pledged support to Palestine’s statehood bid at the United Nations. New Delhi, however, is opposed to drawing a parallel between Kashmir and Palestine. It has been maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the OIC has no locus standi in matters concerning internal affairs of India. Khar joined her counterparts from other OIC member-States to seek an international investigation into the large number of unmarked graves in Jammu and Kashmir. Mirwaiz also referred to the issue of unmarked graves and called upon the UN to condemn “the atrocities perpetrated upon the innocent Kashmiris, organise a tribunal to ascertain the gravity of the tyranny and to request Jeremy Sarkin, chairperson of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, to conduct an independent investigation”. The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission recently recommended the identification of all the 2,156 people buried in unmarked graves in north Kashmir. The graves were identified through an investigation done by the panel’s police wing last month. New Delhi, however, is likely to reject the demand for independent international probe into the unmarked graves, pointing out that India was a vibrant democracy, which fully respected rule of law and human rights, with civil liberties and freedoms enshrined as citizens’ fundamental rights in the Constitution. India maintains that it has many effective mechanisms within its constitutional framework to address aberrations. UN’s obligations Mirwaiz said that the UN had moral and legal obligation to help resolving the issue of Kashmir and past disputes should not deter the world body from renewing its efforts to work for a promised settlement of the dispute. Khar said that Pakistan had repeatedly underlined in its engagements with India the fundamental reality that the prospect of a lasting peace in South Asia was directly linked with “a just and durable solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”. The Pakistani foreign minister had triggered a controversy last July, when she had met Kashmiri separatist leaders –both Mirwaiz and chief of the Hurriyat Conference’s hardline faction Syed Ali Shah Gilani – in New Delhi, just ahead of a meeting with her Indian counterpart S M Krishna. India had expressed its unhappiness over Khar’s meetings with the separatist leaders of Kashmir. Krishna and Khar, however, had discussed the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to “the need for continued discussions, in a purposeful and forward looking manner, with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences”.