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Jammu and Kashmir:
An Internationally Recognized Disputed Territory

By Ghulam Nabi Fai

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June 28, 2012


Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory and has never been an integral part of India, a veteran Kashmiri leader said.
“I want to debunk this myth created by India that Kashmir is an integral part of India ---- this is a matter of historical record that India occupied the region on October 27, 1947 when the very first Indian soldier set foot on the soil of Kashmir ---- the highest diplomatic forums including the United Nations and the United States have recognized the disputed nature of the region,” Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai told a forum of journalists in Springfield, Virginia.
The Kashmiri-American activist said in the post-9/11 world, New Delhi has tried to weave a smokescreen with some unfounded myths, which seek to discredit the genuine struggle of the people. But these ploys will never be able to cover up the reality and sufferings of people in the Occupied Kashmir, he added.
“India has failingly tried to equate Kashmiri people with terrorists --- how can a people, who believe in the UN-mandated right to self-determination and then hold demonstrations to go to the UN office in Srinagar to remind the international community of its pledge, be terrorists? Terrorists don’t believe in the UN system or any other global forum.
“Also, how can an entire population of millions be dubbed as terrorists when they hold peaceful demonstrations for their promised rights?” he questioned.
Dr. Fai also said that India would like you to believe that Kashmir is an issue of fundamentalism. He explained that “the term fundamentalism is quite inapplicable to the Kashmiri society. One of the proud distinctions of Kashmir has been the sustained tradition of tolerance and amity between the members of different religious communities.  It has a long tradition of moderation and non-violence.  Its culture does not generate extremism or fundamentalism. The fact is that Kashmir conflict was never a fight between Hindus and Muslims.  It was never a struggle between theocracy and secularism.  Nor was it a border dispute between India and Pakistan.  It has always been about the hopes and future of 17 million people of Kashmir, be they Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists.”
Fai, who next month begins a two-year period of incarceration, told journalists that his sentencing pertains to tax-related issues and not as an agent of a foreign government.
“The U.S. government voluntarily withdrew allegations against me that I was an agent of a foreign government,” he clarified.
Fai regretted that despite the US government’s voluntarily dropping the allegations against him, some parts of the media misleadingly tried to give the impression that the sentencing was on account of his being an agent of a foreign government. He said that he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and tax violations.
Fai emphasized, “I have never worked for Pakistan. I am not an agent of Pakistan. I dedicated all my effort to the Kashmir cause and for the peace in the region”.  Even the federal court judge, Fai explained, who sentenced me called Kashmir a wonderful cause and said: “I don't doubt your love for Kashmir and its people, and I do not doubt that your mission over the last 25 years has been a mission to bring peace to Kashmir and to try and identify a means to peace between India and Pakistan and Kashmir. You are to be heartily commended for those efforts. But your zealousness overwhelmed your good judgment.”
Dr. Fai quoted his attorney, Ms. Nina Ginsberg who said in the court, “And I will tell you that Dr. Fai absolutely, from the very outset, adamantly denied that he was ever, in Mr. Kromberg's terms, a shill for the Pakistani government. And this case would have gone to trial had the Government not agreed, for whatever the reasons are-- My reasons, my view of their reasons is they couldn't prove it. They have a lot of words that were captured in intercepts, 20 years of intercepts, hundreds of thousands of interprets, and Mr. Kromberg cannot stand in front of this Court with one example of a statement, a public statement by Dr. Fai, a writing by Dr. Fai, a position taken at a conference that he sponsored, not one, not one word that is anything that could be characterized as propaganda for the Pakistani government.”
Fai said he would continue with his bid to draw world attention to the need to give the Kashmiris their long-denied right to self-determination. The Kashmiri-American community and all those who believe in universal human rights and human dignity will continue to project the Kashmir cause in Washington, he said.
In this respect, he referred to a series of planned conferences and advocacy moves that would highlight to the U.S. administration the need to address the longstanding Kashmir dispute in accordance with will and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.




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