“We need pens and computers, and not guns and grenades” Lord Nazir Ahmed

Chicago, September 8, 2015. “Tripartite negotiations between Governments of India, Pakistan and Kashmiri
image1leadership is the only way to resolve the outstanding dispute of Jammu & Kashmir,” said Lord Nazir Ahmed, Member, British House of Lords during the 52nd Annual Convention of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on the subject of, ‘Kashmir: A Case of Steadfastness.’

Lord Nazir said that prime minister Modi’s reckless defiance to resolve the Kashmir dispute is a threat to the regional peace and stability. And the international community should be deeply concerned regarding Indian Chief of Army, Dalbir Singh’s threats of ‘a limited War’ with Pakistan . Two nuclear countries could spark off a regional war that will effect the entire world. He warned that BJP supported by Shiv Sinna and RSS are implementing their desire of ‘Hindutva’ and the international community should take notice of that.

Lord Nazir elaborated the continued massive human rights atrocities and the brutalities committed by Indian army in Occupied Kashmir for the last 25 years. The shelling of Indian army on the Working Boundary in Pakistan and Line of Control (LoC) has caused many civilian casualties which is a breach of international law. He appealed the United States administration to help end these atrocities in Kashmir; and persuade both India and Pakistan to explore a mechanism so that the people of Jammu & Kashmir can exercise their right of self-determination. “I want to see free distribution of pens and computers, and not guns and grenades,” Lord added.

Lord Nazir said that India and Pakistan cannot talk about Kashmir and at the same time exclude the Kashmiri leadership from these talks. The people of Kashmir are the important party to the dispute. He said that Kashmiri diaspora will play an important role to pave the way for creating a conducive atmosphere for the dialogue that can lead us to a durable and lasting settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Lord Nazir called upon Government of India to issue the passports to the leaders of All Parties Hurriyat conference to enable them to attend the forthcoming ‘Million-Man- March’ on October 25, 2015 in New York City.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness said because both India and Pakistan, being nuclear weapon states directly confronting each other, this dispute is potentially the most dangerous in the world. It should, therefore, be a major interest of the U.S. to prevent this dispute from exploding into a conflict which can be catastrophic for a large proportion of the human race.

Fai dismissed the mantra repeated by Shushma Swaraj, the foreign minister of India that Kashmir was an integral part of India. Fai explained that Kashmir is recognized – under international law and by the United States – as a disputed territory. He quoted President Obama who said on November 8, 2010, that Kashmir was the long-standing dispute.

Fai explained that India repeats too often to resolve the Kashmir dispute through bilateral talks with Pakistan. The experience of sixty-nine years testifies that bilateral talks between India and Pakistan have yielded no agreements. The missing element is the inclusion of the Kashmiri leadership in the talks with the support of the United States.

Fai said that some discerning observers perceive a growing awareness in the Indian middle class that the persistence of the Kashmir problem weakens India by diminishing its stature among the great powers.

From Jai Prakash Narain, “We profess democracy but rule by force in Kashmir,” to Vir Sanghvi “ Let the Kashmiris determine their own destiny,” to Swaminathan Aiyar “Let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and armies of India and Pakistan,” to Arundhati Roy “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India,” to Justice V. M. Tarkunde, “A grant of plebiscite to the people of the Kashmir Valley is the obvious solution,” to Ashok Mitra, “The issue in Kashmir is neither communal nor religious,” to Ved Bhasin, “Independent Kashmir would become a bridge between India and Pakistan,” are few examples to ponder upon. But this constructive trend will vanish if the U.S. is seen as tolerant of India’s obduracy and unmindful of healthier opinion in India itself about what is best for India.

Professor (Dr.) Imtiyaz Kahn, Vice President, Kashmiri American Council (KAC) and Emcee of the event said that the Kashmir question was one of the oldest unresolved international conflicts in the world. He said that the people of Kashmir demand releasing of political prisoners in Indian occupied Kashmir. They also demand that Government of India must annul various special repressive laws; and restore the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations. They urge the world powers to persuade both India and Pakistan to demilitarize Jammu & Kashmir from both sides of the Ceasefire Line, Dr. Khan concluded.

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