Kashmir Deserves President Obama’s Attention

Washington, D.C.  November 23, 2009. “Kashmir dispute is simply this: the people of a large territory which is not part of any existing sovereign state were assured by the entire international community represented by the United Nations that they would be enabled to decide their future by a free vote.  It was supported without any dissent by the United Nations Security Council and prominently championed by the United States and other democratic states. Until now, this assurance has not been honored,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center on the occasion of Prime Minister India’s visit to Washington.

Dr. Fai said that the Kashmir dispute primarily involves the life and future of the people of the land. Because of its impact on relations between India and Pakistan, however, it directly affects the peace and stability of the South Asian subcontinent. This is a region which contains one-fifth of total human race.

He warned that two wars have been the harvest reaped from the dispute. The possibility of a third, bloodier, probably nuclear and more extensive one has by no means been eliminated.

The Executive Director reiterated that the dispute is not insoluble through peaceful procedures. It appears to be so only because the obduracy of one of the parties is encouraged by the apathy of the world outside.

Dr. Fai hoped that the Obama Administration can, and should, lead the effort to achieve a fair and lasting settlement of the dispute, fair to the people most immediately involved and fair to its own commitments to democracy and human rights. By doing so, the United States can strengthen the principles of a just world order. It will also earn the gratitude of generations in Kashmir, in Pakistan and even in India itself.

Dr. Fai underscored that the importance of the peace initiatives between India and Pakistan cannot be overstated, particularly when considering the link between stability and American socioeconomic and geopolitical interests in the region. Sadly, the potential for violence is ever-present which could catapult South Asia towards uncontrollable destabilization.

Dr. Fai underlined that in order to save the region from descending into the chaos, experts on South Asia have all rightly analyzed that the resolution of Kashmir issue is necessary for peace in the entire region. The extremist elements in the region have hijacked what is essentially a political issue and have used it as a convenient alibi for realizing their sinister agenda.  This fringe element has mastered the art of brining the two neighbors to the brink of war. At present, the unpredictability of the Afghan rebellion and it’s ever widening encroachment on governmental control directly threatens both regional and international stability.  Nothing would be as catastrophic of Pakistan collapsing under the weight of militant tyranny. As a candidate President Obama mentioned on October 30, 2008, “We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation
with those militants.”

Dr. Fai said that now is the time that President Obama tells Indian Prime Minister that the past sixty years history bears testimony that arm-twisting methods have not helped in containing or defeating the political dissent. This simplistic strategy has proven dangerously counterproductive and augmented regional instability. It may be reiterated that suppressing the political dissent and suffocating the public opinion is like laying of a minefield that has the potential of blowing up on the slightest touch.

“The United States paved the way for freedom around the world and it can help the people of Kashmir achieve peace, freedom and self-determination. Indeed, the appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir would hasten the progress of peace and reconciliation in the region, particularly India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan,” Dr. Fai emphasized.

For more information, please call: gnfai2003@yahoo.com