The question of Kashmir

Istanbul, Turkey. October 19, 2010. “The question of Kashmir is one of the oldest unresolved international disputes in the world. The experience of last 63 years has shown that an international effort is urgently needed to resolve it for the benefit of the whole region of South Asia, which contains more than 1.2 billion people – one fifth of total human race,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi  Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center while addressing an impressive gathering at Political Foundation Center, Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Fai said that Turkey voted for the United Nations Security Council resolution # 91 of 1951; # 96 of 1951 and # 98 of 1952 which re-affirmed that the future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations; which decided to appoint a United Nations representative in succession to Sir Owen Dixon; and which also talked about the demilitarization of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

Dr. Fai emphasized that these were not resolutions in the routine sense of the term. Their provisions were negotiated in details by the Security Council with India and Pakistan and it was only after the consent of both governments was explicitly obtained that they were endorsed by the Security Council. They thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Dr. Fai said that the popular, indigenous and non-violent movement in Kashmir has been met with studied unconcern by the United Nations and the world powers. This has given a sense of total impunity to India. It has also created the impression that the United Nations is invidiously selective about the application of the principle of human rights and democracy.

Fai quoted Mr. Gautam Navlakha of Economic & Political Weekly of India who wrote, “There is no point blaming Pakistan, fundamentalism, human rights activists and the usual alibis used by the Indian State. It is time to acknowledge that ‘national security’ paranoia cannot hide the reality that Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir have no confidence in the Indian State.” Mr. Swaminathan Aiyer wrote in the Times of India, “Let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and armies of India and Pakistan.”

The United States paved the way for freedom around the world and the United States can help the people of Kashmir achieve peace, freedom and self-determination, said Fai.

Fai reiterated that the Kashmir dispute cannot and must not be resolved militarily. It is a political issue and needs to be resolved only through peaceful political means between all parties concerned – the Governments of India and Pakistan; and the genuine leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

Dr. Fai repeated that an appointment of a special envoy by President Obama of a person of an international outstanding, like Bishop Desmond Tutu will hasten the process of peace and prosperity in the region of South Asia.