Kashmir Deserves Urgent Attention

Washington, DC, September 7th, 2009. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center, said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir still have confidence in the United Nations despite its failure to resolve many international disputes.  However, Dr. Fai added, that it is crucial to remind the international community of United Nations Security Resolution # 209 which was adopted in its 1237th meeting on September 4th, 1965.  That resolution was unanimously adopted with the clear support of the United States of America wherein the Security Council expressed its concern at the deteriorating situation in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Dr. Fai emphasized that today, after 45 years of passing of that resolution, the situation in Kashmir has become increasingly deadly with human rights abuses ongoing unabated.  In recent months, Kashmir has witnessed a colossal mass revolt against Indian oppression. These massive demonstrations have been absolutely peaceful. The recent gruesome discovery of 4600 mass graves, the rape and brutal murder of two young girls in Shopian in June 2009 only sharpen the imperative to act swiftly and justly.  The resolution is clear, nothing less than the respect of wishes and aspirations of the people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

“In Indian occupied Kashmir, the inalienable right for freedom of opinion are as grotesquely violated as the people.  The indigenous Kashmiri leadership including Syed Ali Gilani, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Masarat Alam Butt and others are the victims of the atrocities committed by the Indian armed forces.   Sadly, as of yet, all are languishing in jails” said Fai.

To carry out their terror, the Indian government has enforced many draconian laws that have been used from time to time to suppress the movement for right to self-determination in Jammu Kashmir. Just to briefly some of them Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provides wide powers to the occupying Indian forces in Jammu Kashmir and they can arrest torture and kill any person at their will. Another draconian law is the Jammu Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (JKPSA) amended in 1987 and 1990. In Jammu and Kashmir it empowers the state government to detain a person without trial for two years under the pretext of maintenance of public order. No civilized society on earth should tolerate this monstrosity, particularly from a nation that proclaims itself ‘the world’s largest democracy.’

The history of past sixty-two years bears testimony that arm-twisting methods have not helped in containing or defeating the political dissent. This simplistic and barbaric 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.

To prevent such a cataclysmic event, President Obama said on January 9, 2009 "We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals."  Dr. Fai, commenting on the significance of that statement, said, “We would like our President to remind India to abide by the UN Security Council Resolutions, Universal declaration of Human Rights & Geneva Convention.”

The Kashmiri American Council is committed to finding a just and lasting peace to the disputed territory of Kashmir through tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and genuine Kashmiri leadership, to resolve this longstanding dispute.  It urges the international community to intervene on humanitarian grounds to ease the suffering of the innocent and unarmed Kashmiri population.