Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Kashmir Dispute Is Primarily an Issue
By Ghulam Nabi Fai
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 12, 2010
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American
Council-Kashmir center said during a panel discussion entitled,
"Overcoming Barriers to Realizing the Right of Self-determination." He
said that the Kashmir dispute is primarily the issue of
President Obama Needs to Provide Indian Government Encouragement to
Resolve Kashmir Dispute: Professor Bonney
The Right of Self-determination is a basic principle of the
United Nations Charter that has been applied countless times to the
settlement of international disputes. Although, the applicability of
the principle of self-determination to the specific case of Jammu and
Kashmir has been explicitly recognized by the United Nations.
It was also upheld equally by both India and Pakistan when the Kashmir
dispute was brought before the Security Council in 1948. All the above
mentioned statement may be regarded as history but there is no reason why,
when the human, political and legal realities of the dispute have only not
changed but have become more accentuated with the passage of time, it
should now be regarded as irrelevant.
It is no less relevant to the settlement of the dispute than the
termination of the Indonesian mandate was to the question of East Timor or
than the circumstances of the incorporation of Lithuania, Latvia and
Estonia in the Soviet Union were to the reassertion of their independence.
No settlement of Kashmir will hold unless it is explicitly based on
the principle of self-determination and erases the so-called line of
control, which is in reality the line of conflict, Fai concluded.
Professor Richard Bonney, Chairman, Europe Islamic World Organization,
England said Kashmir may, in reality be a more difficult nut to crack than
even Palestine. India rejects third party mediation, and the US is
therefore unable to act as anything more than a covert honest broker.
There is no infrastructure for peacemaking.
meeting held at New Delhi over three days in January 2010, with
representatives from both India and Pakistan, produced a final declaration
A Road Map towards Peace. The document deserves to be better known.
Since Kashmir is the core issue in India-Pakistan relations, the
declaration states that
there must be a genuine and urgent effort to find solutions. Both
India and Pakistan should agree to de-militarize Jammu & Kashmir, the Road
Map towards Peace argues.
The Indian government should repeal the Armed forces Special
Powers Act. Troops should be withdrawn and those guilty of crimes against
the people should be punished. The interests of the minorities in Jammu
and Kashmir should be protected and the opinions and aspirations of people
in all the areas of Kashmir should be considered when solutions to the
conflict are being worked out.
Whether it is realistic politics
remains another matter. As has remained the case for the 63 years of the
dispute, the ball remains very much in Indias court. If it wishes to take
some action on Kashmir, involving a broad spectrum of Kashmiri opinion,
reversing excessive militarization and punishing human rights abuses, it
may well find partners to dialogue.
There might even be reason for
hope for concessions on the key point of allowing Kashmiris a collective
voice in one way or another to determine their own future and thus for an
eventual solution to the problem of Kashmir in our own lifetime. India has
great power ambitions. Great powers have to show statesmanship and be
prepared to make concessions in the greater interests of regional or world
peace. When President Obama visits India in November this year, he needs
to provide the appropriate encouragement to its government and opposition
leaders that now is the time for this to happen.
Keppley Mahmood, Associate Professor of Anthropology & Senior Fellow, Joan
B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre
Dame, Indiana said that Kashmir, divided at the time of
decolonization/Partition, is one of the longest standing disputes on the
United Nations Agenda.
From the first, the U.N. declared that self-determination on the part
of the Kashmiri people (i.e. a plebiscite) would be the fair way to decide
whether the region should accede to India, to Pakistan, or move to a
sovereign status of independence. But though appealing on the ideal
level, this goal has never moved Kashmir toward peace over the many years
since its division, over the several major wars fought over its territory.
It appears that a fresh level of thinking, a thinking outside the box,
may be required if this dispute is to be truly resolved.
involvement in Afghanistan following the events of September 11, 2001, may
provide a surprising avenue for peace building in Kashmir.
From the first, the U.S. has been calling upon its ally, Pakistan, to
devote its military attention to the border area with Afghanistan, where
Taliban and al Qaeda militants are at least partially based. The
region has always been only partly under the control of Islamabad, but now
the U.S. asks for a new level of control as it searches for its enemies.
But Pakistan's attention is diverted, as it always has been, to the
eastern border with India - that is, to Kashmir. Some policy
analysts in the U.S. suggest a new urgency may exist here for resolution
of the Kashmir conflict; it is directly in the interests of the U.S. and
NATO that the question be settled rather than diversionary for major
One possible suggestion is a round table of representatives from
countries in the region, perhaps including the U.S. and NATO only as
observers, recognizing for the first time that the Kashmir issue must be
solved regionally, putting Kashmiris front and center, and not as a
geopolitical issue to be solved by superpowers.
Muzzammil Siddiqui, former President of Islamic Society of North America
(ISNA) said that the conflict of Kashmir was one of the oldest continuing
conflicts sin the world and the people of Kashmir are the longest
The United Nations Security Council passed
resolution # 47 on 21 April 1948 which states that the final disposition
of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will
of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and
impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.
Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru reaffirmed the Indian
Governments commitment to the right of the Kashmiri people to determine
their own future through a plebiscite.
These are all indisputable
facts. But still the people of Kashmir are denied their legitimate right
of self-determination under one pretext or other.
Pakistan both have to go back to their pledges and do what they have
promised to each other and to the world. The events of the last 60 years
have shown that they are not capable to do it themselves. They need help
and encouragement of the Security Council, especially the United States.
The solution must come peacefully. All parties have to recognize that
violence and wars cannot solve the problem. The solution of this problem
will be for the good of all the three parties: the people of Kashmir as
well as India and Pakistan.
Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, President, World
Kashmir Freedom Movement said that mass graves containing thousands of
slain bodies found in Uri region have failed to call for an international
investigation. India is guilty as charged in our public court of
innumerable war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of torture.
Even as we speak, Kashmir is once again under a barbaric siege in nearly
all towns and cities- Srinagar, Sopore, Anantnag, Baramullah, Kupwara and
many more. 18 innocent youth, some as young as 18 years have been gunned
down by the security forces in two weeks. Life in all major towns has been
choked and paralyzed by the shoot-to-kill curfews around the clock. People
cannot venture out to buy a loaf of bread, a pound of meat or vegetables,
or take their sick to the hospitals. If that wasnt enough as a collective
punishment, the Hindu parties in the southern province of Jammu with tacit
approval of the government Kashmir have imposed a blockade of the only
high way to the valley of Kashmir to strangle the economy and force the
population in to Indian submission. It is a collusion and a collaboration
of the worst kind aimed at driving a wedge between two communities to
promote nefarious designs of a government- pitting people against people
to achieve political ends.
Indian must demilitarize Kashmir of
over 600,000 of its troops stationed in towns, cities and countryside.
They are a source of much brutality, terror, fear and moral corruption.
Indian civil society must rise and demand unequivocally that brutality of
the military rule in Kashmir over civilian population is wrong and must be
stopped. It must demand an end to military and police rule in Kashmir. End
of military rule will restore some semblance of public confidence and a
sense of security to help pave the way for a peace process.
Kashmir is not about to abandon its quest for total and absolute freedom.
They remain convinced of the justness of, and committed to that cause. And
no power in the world is going to be able to dissuade them to abandon that
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai can be reached on