London, Nov 30: The two-day international conference titled “Sixty years of the Kashmir dispute—a way
in the House of Commons, London on November 28-29, ended here Thursday, with
the participants urging early resolution of the Kashmir dispute for the interest of the people of the region.
Speaking at the plenary session of the conference organized by the Kashmir Centre London at Palace
of West Minister, House of Commons, the UK MP and Secretary All Parties Parliamentary Group, Martin Salter stated that Kashmir
was the longest outstanding issue which needs to be resolved. He said that the 60-year-old problem was the main cause of the
tension in the South Asian region.
Welcoming the delegates the Executive Director of Kashmir Centre, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl
said that the struggle of Kashmiris reveals that essential ingredient is the people’s empowerment for the restoration
of their fundamental freedoms, their dignified identity and the freedom to end the political uncertainty, which surrounds
them. He said that Kashmiris are struggling for their right to self-determination.
President of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Raja Zulqarnain Khan, while appreciating
India-Pakistan dialogue process urged the inclusion of Kashmiris in the talks process. He reminded Britain of its moral responsibility to
address the sufferings of people of Jammu and Kashmir and help in bringing this traumatic situation to an end by facilitating
The Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that no solution to the Kashmir dispute within Indian constitution
or under the aegis of the Election Commission of India was acceptable to the people of Kashmir. He said elections cannot be construed as referendum
as had been envisaged in the UN resolutions and cannot be taken as exercising of right to self-determination.
He said, “It is historical reality that fraudulent elections were held in disputed territory
to legitimise the occupation of Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. Even the United Nations Security Council in its
resolution of 1957 had in categorical terms stated that any election held in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be substituted for holding
of plebiscite under the supervision of the United Nations. It is high time for the international community to know that holding
of fraudulent elections in Kashmir can only vitiate the atmosphere required for taking forward the peace process towards the resolution of the problem.”
Mirwaiz called upon the international community to rise to the occasion and impress upon India to respond positively with the
peace initiative. He said Pakistan has shown magnanimity and flexibility and so has the Kashmiri
leadership. He said the peace process between India and Pakistan has entered the fourth year but
there has been no perceptible progress on Kashmir. “Nothing substantial has been done to find an amicable solution of the problem.”
He said till the Kashmir problem remains unresolved the peace and development in the region will remain a mirage.
“It is in India’s own interest to resolve the Kashmir problem. It is in the interest of teeming millions in the
sub-continent living below the poverty line to resolve this most outstanding problem.”
Mirwaiz called for allow free travel between the two parts of Kashmir as well as the free flow of trade and good between
all the regions of the Kashmir. He said this arrangement could be an interim arrangement for a period of five years or ten years.
Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan High Commissioner to UK stated that there has been progress
in ongoing Pak-India dialogue process since 2004 but more needs to be done to address the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. She said Line of Control is part
of problem not a part of solution, adding that President Musharraf travelled extra mile, demonstrated flexibility while India is yet to reciprocate Pakistan’s proposals on Kashmir dispute. “The opportunity
to resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue exists. This is because after a long time, this dialogue is being conducted
in a vastly improved environment of bilateral relations between Pakistan and India as well as a conducive international
environment. We must seize the opportunity provided by these factors to negotiated settlements of Kashmir issue.”
The Kashmir issue, she said, has three interconnected dimensions including political, security and humanitarian “Our approach
in pursuit of a peaceful settlement is one that seeks to address all these aspects,” Dr Lodhi added.
She pointed out that Pakistan has offered the ideas of demilitarization and self-governance
as the basis of a possible interim solution, acceptable to all stake holders especially the people of Kashmir.
She further said Pakistan has also emphasized the need to involve and associate
the Kashmiris in the peace process. She said Pakistan has called for withdrawal or reduction of Indian
troops from towns and population centres, repeal of the repressive laws, release of political detainees and end to crackdowns
and other operations and dismantling of bunkers and barricades.
Dr Lodhi also noted that a number of Kashmir related CBMs have been proposed and discussed and some agreed. “Their
aim is to facilitate interaction among Kashmiris on both sides and encourage people to people contact, strengthen communication
links and promote trade.”
The first technical session of the conference was presided over by Ambassador Arif Kamal. The
panelists in this session were Dave Anderson, MP Paul Goodman, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director Kashmir American Centre,
Washington, Zahid G Muhammad, a Srinagar-based columnist, and Nayeem Khan.
Dr Fai said the denial of the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir by India has made the lives of Kashmiri
people miserable, adding that this principle was recognised by the United Nations and upheld by India and Pakistan and UN Security Council.
“The issue involves the life and future of the 14 million people of the State of Jammu &
Kashmir,” he said.
Dr Fai reiterated that the denial of this right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir has brought India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. The issue was upheld equally by both India and Pakistan when the Kashmir dispute was brought before the
Security Council in 1948. The international agreements were agreed upon by the United Nations and endorsed by the Security
Dr Fai reminded the audience that the United States and Britain have traditionally been committed
supporters of the plebiscite agreement as the only way to resolve this issue. They sponsored all of the Security Council resolutions
which called for a plebiscite.
Their commitment was indicated by a personal appeal made by America’s President Harry Truman
and Britain’s Prime Minister Clement Atlee that differences over demilitarization be submitted to arbitration
by the Plebiscite Administrator, a distinguished American war hero: Admiral Chester Nimitz. India rejected this appeal and, later
on, objected to an American acting as the Plebiscite Administrator.
The PaK Prime Minister Sardar Atique Ahmad Khan, speaking in the third and final session of the
day on “The impediments of the Indo-Pakistan dialogue” said there was a need for a forward vision. He said South
Asian region was clouded in danger because of the unresolved issue of Kashmir.
He called for frequent interaction between people of Kashmir living across the Line of Control to develop more
confidence and understanding. He said open debates must be held in Srinagar and Muzaffarabad to freely discuss the various options
on the Kashmir and allow consensus to develop.
Omar Abdullah, president National Conference, in his speech said flexibility and dialogue was
must to move forward on the issue. There was a need to look for resolving this issue beyond the beaten track. He said the
people of Kashmir must not ask for all but should
know how much space was available to them. He said it was up to the Kashmir leadership to decide what they want. He claimed that the Indian
leadership was moving forward but has been handicapped by the coalition government in the Centre, which does not allow Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh much room to manoeuvre.
British MP Paul Goodman pleaded that India cannot become a member of Security
Council if it does not improve human rights record in Jammu and Kashmir.
Zahid G Muhammad urged the international community for facilitating the two countries to find
out a solution of the Kashmir problem based on justice and fair play in tune with the UN charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ex-MP John Cushnahan, MP Fabian Hamilton, and Majid Tramboo, Director Kashmir Centre Brussels,
also spoke on the occasion and discussed the various aspects of Kashmir issue.
The two-day Kashmir conference adopted a seven-point resolution stating that right to self-determination was the
inalienable and non-negotiable right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The resolution demanding demilitarization of entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, facilitating travel
of Kashmir leaders, allowing expatriate Kashmiris to visit their homeland, holding of all inclusive dialogue on Kashmir, release
of all detainees and repeal of all draconian laws in vogue in the state was adopted in the plenary session chaired by Prime
Minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan.
Those present in the closing plenary session were Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Senator Mushahid Hussain,
Dr G N Fai, Farooq Siddique, Prof Nazir Ahmed Shawl, Z G Muhammad, Sardar Ali Shahnawaz Khan, Prof. Edgar Garcia, Mike Pennning,
Paul Rowan, Brendan Maclaster, John Cushnan and Dr. Zulfikar Ali.
Dr. Zulfikar Ali read the resolution in the conference.
The text of resolution:
*Right to self-determination is an inalienable and non-negotiable right of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
*There should be complete demilitarization of entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as it stood on August 15, 1947.
*An international commission should be set up to look into human rights violation by all in the
state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir should be declared as non-nuclear zone.
*All political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir should be allowed to
travel abroad freely and travel documents should be issued in favour of
all leaders, political activist, academicians, human rights workers and professionals who
have not this facility thus far. Kashmir expatriates living in different parts of the world should be allowed to visit their homeland
for furthering amicable and peaceful resolution of Kashmir problem.
*The dialogue on Kashmir should be all inclusive and leaders of the armed resistance should be integral component
of the peace initiatives for resolution of the Kashmir problem.
*All political prisoners languishing in different jails and interrogation centers in the state
and in different parts of India should be released. Cases instituted against various political leaders
of Kashmir should be withdrawn. The draconian
laws in vogue in the state should be repealed.