JKLF seminar urges UK Govt and intl’ community to play meaningful role in resolving Kashmir issue

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LONDON: Speakers at a seminar organised by Diplomatic Bureau of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF- in London’s Central Westminster Hall on Tuesday (October 24) acknowledged, that for seventy years India and Pakistan have failed to resolve the issue of Jammu Kashmir’s future status.
The participants agreed that dialogue and the recognition of the rights of 20 million people of Jammu Kashmir wasthe only wayward for a solution of the long standing Kashmir conflict.
Welcoming the participants, Head of the JKLF’s Diplomatic Bureau Professor Zafar Khan said that the fundamental right of 20 million people to freedom across the divided Jammu Kashmir, has been ignored and neglected by the world community. This is a grievous injustice inflicted upon a people who long for peace, dignity and reunification of their country.
He said his party and leadership has always wished for the entire state to become a bridge of peace in South Asia, and Kashmiris want their country in the region to be at peace with itself and in harmony across its borders. Referring to the message of his Party Chairman Mr Muhammad Yasin Malik, Zafar Khan said that the pain of a subjugated nation and its people, is clearly visible from Mr Malik’s message.
He said that the Indo- Pakistan dimensions over the Kashmir issue however, have rendered the entire nation diplomatically invisible. In a message especially sent for the seminar from Srinagar, Yasin Malik the Chairman of the JKLF told the participants that “Jammu Kashmiris burning and its people are going through an unabated trauma and agony for many decades, and that twenty million Kashmiris are living in a life of total instability, brutal agony and distress”.
He went on to impress upon the participantsthat “ourland has been illegally occupied by militarymight and we are being denied our democratic right of self-determination which is guaranteed to us even by the United Nations”. The JKLF Chairman reminded the participantsthat despite wars between India and Pakistan, over a dozen UNSC resolutions, and bilateral agreements, India and Pakistan have patently failed to make any progress on the all-important political status of Jammu Kashmir.
He lamented at the “criminal silence” of the international community, and in particular pointed at the USA, the UK and the European Union who have turned a blind eye on the plight of Kashmiris, which encouraged India to deny the right of Kashmiristo freedom. At the end of his message, referring to the great South African statesman, late Nelson Mandela who had said that the mode of resistance is determined, not by the oppressed but by the oppressors, the JKLF Chairman said that “our mode of resistance against the tyranny of Indian state oppression may vary from time to time”.
The author and journalist Ms Victoria Schofield, who has authored four books on Jammu Kashmir, said that she has been associated with Kashmir for over thirty years, and spoke of differing narratives on the issue of Kashmir which needed to be understood. She said India and Pakistan were not prepared to give up territories ofJammu Kashmirthat each occupied. She said that the international community wassupine over Kashmir in the face of Indian and Pakistani positions. Victoria Schofield emphasised that the period of 1947 to 1949 in Jammu Kashmir’s history was crucial and emphasised that if Pakistan forces had withdrawn in the territory they controlled in Kashmir, this would have not given India the excuse to refuse the UN proposed plebiscite on Kashmir.
Lord Nazir Ahmed said that all the optionsincluding, the option of an independentJammu Kashmir was amatterforthe 20million people of Kashmir, astheir basic right. He said our priority is Kashmir and its people and not India and Pakistan. He said war was not and has never been a solution, and the British Peer proposed an international conference for a peacefulsolution of the issue.
He said as basic stakeholders Kashmiris from across both sides of the ceasefire line must be enabled to participate in the proposed conference. Mr Chris Leslie MP, the Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir,said that it was important to take stock of the current situation in Kashmir. He said he would organise a meeting in December to engage with those with personal experiences and their testimonies on the situation. He pointed out that a calmer atmosphere and scenario needed to be espoused in the conflict. He said he would organise a delegation to visit both sides of Jammu Kashmir. Mr Chris Leslie feared that in view of trade possibilities with India,Brexit could prove detrimental in steering the British government towards an active position on the Kashmir issue.
Mr. Gavin Shuker MPpointed out that the international community should not only be influenced aboutIndia and Pakistan in relation to Kashmir issue. Mr Shuker said that the conflict over Kashmir was an issue of justice for the people of Kashmir, and that Kashmiri voice must be heard as the voice of the Kashmiris was sacrosanct in this conflict. Mr Gavin Shuker MPsaid that he would like to see that all parts of Kashmir across the ceasefire line were accessible to the international press. He expressed the view that a rational cross party parliamentary approach in the British Parliament on Kashmir was essential. Dr Dibyesh Anand, Professor of international politics at the University of Westminster in London, argued in his presentation that even those on the political left of the Indian polity do not acknowledge and recognise the right of Kashmiris to exist as a free and independent nation. Professor Anand argued that Kashmiris’resistance to the Indian state as a result, is met with full force of the Indian state.
He said that it was important to mobilise against human rights violations in Jammu Kashmir alongside the struggle for the right of self-determination, as a means to engage with people not only in India but elsewhere on the Kashmir issue. He argued that Pakistani state would have a similar aggressive attitude if Kashmiris were agitating asforcefully against itsrule asthey are in Indian administered Kashmir. However Professor Anand pointed out that Pakistan could let Azad Jammu Kashmir become azad (free) and turn the region into a model of positive political development with a democratic constitution. Professor Anand pointed out that azadi does not mean only political freedom, but it should mean justice for all. He pointed out that he supported the JKLF’s position on the rights of minorities and diverse opinions in Jammu Kashmir. Lord Qurban Hussain argued that Pakistan recognises Kashmir as a dispute, whereasIndia considers it as its internal affair.
He said that India is not willing to listen on Kashmir. Lord Qurban Hussain pointed out that Kashmiris have not given up on their right to freedom. He said that there can be no peace without a resolution ofthe Kashmir issue, and said that there should be simultaneous withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani military from Kashmir. Mr GrahamWilsonChairman of Nations without Statesin his address argued that a scientific approach needs to be adopted on resistance and against oppression.
He said that the UN in Kashmir has failed because of the US influence. He pointed out that the occupation of Kashmir should be resisted through people’s power. He said if Scotland can be allowed by the UK to have a referendum on independence, the people of Jammu Kashmir should be allowed to exercise theirright to self-determination too. Mr Ershad Malik, Europe Spokesman for the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Party, said that there is no peace in Kashmir, and only the Kashmiris feel the pain of the oppression. He reminded the participants that Kashmiris gave up the gun but there has not been a positive response to the people.
He pointed out that as a parent organisation of the freedom struggle, JKLF and the people of Kashmir should be prepared for a long struggle. At the end offormal presentations members of the JKLF and otherinvited guest joined in the discussion on various aspects of the Kashmir issue that were raised in the seminar. Members of JKLF’s diplomatic council Mr Tanvir Chaudhry ( President Europe Zone)from Finland, Sardar Nasim Iqbalfrom Belgium, Mr Sabir Gul( President UK zone ) and Syed Tehsin Gilani ( Gen Sec of UK zone), and members of JKLF’s Diplomatic Bureau Mr Mahmoud Hussain, Mr Tariq Sharif, as well asthe veteran JKLF leader Mr Latif Malik took part in the discussion.
Mahmoud Faiz, Sanawar Hussain, Talat Butt from JKTV and representative of the Latvian Embassy, a number of parliamentary interns and students also attended the seminar. At the end 3 resolutions were approved unanimously.