Highlighting Kashmir

A conference at London, organised jointly by the Nawa-i-Waqt group and the all-parties group of the House of Lords on Wednesday, on the eve of the Kashmir Solidarity Day, stressed the urgent need to settle the festering dispute of Kashmir in line with the people’s wishes, as outlined in UN resolutions.

Participants – British parliamentarians, including Lord Nazir, political and diplomatic figures from Pakistan, Kashmiris and others – passed a unanimous resolution that spelled out both the issue and its only solution that could put an end to the Kashmiris’ suffering and ensure peace in the region. New Delhi has to concede that the real issue is its persistent denial of the right of self-determination to the people of the state, which Prime Minister Nehru had committed to grant. Palliatives like the Amn ki Aasha movement launched by some peaceniks cannot hoodwink those who daily suffer death and humiliation at the hands of the Indian armed forces. Lord Nazir, who played a key role in organising the “Kashmir – Peace and Justice” conference, spoke on the occasion and pointed to the futility of an exercise like Amn ki Aasha without its focus on Kashmir. PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal rightly felt that solving the dispute was a UN obligation because it threatened global peace. High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan stressed that no government could compromise on the issue and the present one was committed to solving it in accordance with Kashmiris’ aspirations. British MPs, John Hemmings, Rob Fielo, Gerald Coffman and Dr Brian, all dilated on the urgency to tackle the problem, pointing to the dangers inherent in sleeping over it.

India would do well to listen to the voice of reason that was loud and clear at the conference, rather than creating another dispute – stopping the flow of water into Pakistan – which could further disturb the peace between two nuclear powers. The conference emphasised the need for India to act with sanity.

With the world attention virtually monopolised by issues like terrorism, which is fuelled by its misconceived, heavy-handed response rather than brought to a close, the Kashmiris’ fate has been mercilessly left to the brutal Indian forces in forcible occupation of the state. It was time to highlight the tragedy of daily atrocious assaults on human rights in the Valley in an attempt to shake the world conscience. But the question is whether it would care to spare a thought for the poor Kashmiris or treat them with indifference to remain on the right of India that holds the lure of economic gains. It would have contributed to peace and stability of the region, if it chose to get serious about resolving the issue. Conversely, it would have displayed not only rank callousness to human suffering, but also political shortsightedness pregnant with dangerous consequences. The Nation

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