Two days ago, India called off forthcoming foreign secretary-level talks with neighboring Pakistan after Pakistani Ambassador to India Abdul Basit met with Kashmiri pro-independence leaders in New Delhi. Perhaps it is somewhat fortuitous, given the fact that the current Pakistani government is now being viewed as being too conciliatory toward India and is a key factor in the revolution now taking place in Pakistan, where 30,000 demonstrators yesterday marched peacefully against the government, demanding the resignation of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been accused of rigging the elections and other corruption. In the context of these events, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of World Kashmir Awareness, addressed a forum yesterday in Peoria, Illinois, on Muslim global affairs.
Peoria, Illinois. August 19, 2014. “India cannot disentangle from her responsibility by calling off the foreign secretary level talks because Pakistani Ambassador met with the leadership of the Kashmiri resistance in New Delhi. Both India and Pakistan must realize that the people of Kashmir must be the integral component of ongoing peace process as they are the primary stakeholders. The Kashmiri leadership should be included as it will facilitate permanent, durable and honorable settlement of Kashmir dispute. Both countries should understand that they cannot and must not try to resolve the Kashmir dispute by themselves. If they try without the the involvement of Kashmiri leadership, they will be performing Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of ‘World Kashmir Awareness’ while addressing a forum at Peoria Convention Center, Illinois entitled “Muslims Around the World Series” subtitle, “Kashmir: Challenge to the World Conscience.” The event was a part of the ICNA Midwest Convention.
The leadership of both India and Pakistan must recognize that there can be no settlement, negotiated or otherwise, without the active and full participation of the people of Jammu & Kashmir living on both sides of the Ceasefire Line, Fai added.
“There are certain characteristics of the situation in Kashmir, which distinguish it from all other deplorable human rights situations around the world. It prevails in what is recognized – under international law and by the U.N. – as a disputed territory. According to the international agreements between India and Pakistan, negotiated by the United Nations and endorsed by the Security Council, the territory’s status is to be determined by the free vote of its people under U.N. supervision,” he stressed.
He added that it represents a Government’s repression not of a secessionist or separatist movement but of an uprising against foreign occupation, an occupation that was expected to end under determinations made by the United Nations. The Kashmiris are not and cannot be called separatists because they cannot secede from a country to which they have never acceded to in the first place,”
Fai ruled out one thing about the resolution of Kashmir and that is doing nothing. Because time, he said is not on the side of people of Kashmir. Time has made the things worst. It will never heal this problem of Kashmir.
He suggested the following agenda to help resolve the Kashmir problem:
(1). The conflict over Kashmir cannot be resolved through military means. Kashmir issue is a political issue and has to be resolved through political means;
(2). There has to be a cease-fire from all sides during negotiations. Negotiations cannot be carried out at a time when parties are killing each other;
(3). Talks must be tripartite between India, Pakistan and genuine leadership of the people of Kashmir;
(4). There cannot be and should not be any condition from any party, other than commitment to non-violence and to negotiations;
(v). Negotiations should be initiated simultaneously at four different levels, including:
(a). an intra-Kashmir dialogue between the leadership of the Kashmiri political resistance, and the leadership of Azad Kashmir, Gilgat-Baltistan and the leadership of Pandits, Sikhs and Buddhists;
(b). talks between the government of India and Pakistan;
(c). talks between the Governments of India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership;
(d). talks between India, Pakistan, Kashmir, China and the United States.
(vi). There should be third party facilitation to make sure that the talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership remain focused. Third party facilitator could be a person of an international standing, like Nobel Laureate, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa or Dr. Kofi Annan of Ghana.
The other panelists were Dr. Zahid Bukhari, former President of ICNA and Executive Director, Center for Islam and Public Policy (CIPP) who spoke on, ‘Burma & Sri Lanka: Muslim’s hot spots and our responsibilities’ and Professor (Dr.) Mohammed Nazrul Islam, whose focus was on, ‘Islamic Movement of Bangladesh: Challenges & Opportunities.’ The session was moderated by Mr. Saleem Akhtar, National Director, American Muslim Task Force.