Washington, D.C. July 19, 2008. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center said that the reputable World Public Opinion organization released a magnificent poll that unequivocally stated the majority of Indians and Pakistanis welcome Kashmiri self-determination.
The poll revealed that a significant majority of the Indian and Pakistani publics are open to a range of possible outcomes for Kashmir other than it being part of their respective countries. Moreover, on neither side is there strong majority opposition to Kashmir becoming an independent country or dividing Kashmir between Pakistan and India. The Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center welcomes this poll and sincerely thanks the efforts of the Team C – Voters who conducted the survey and polling in India and AC Nielson who conducted the same in Pakistan.
More importantly, Indians and Pakistanis show a readiness to have the Kashmiri people decide their fate. Dr. Fai stated that ‘the significance of this poll is in its clear divergence from both India and Pakistan’s official government stance.’ In other words, the peoples of Pakistan and India are more open to Kashmiri self-determination than each respective nation’s government. Adding to that, Dr. Fai reiterated that the Hindustan Times published the findings of its own survey in August 2007 that stated 87% of Kashmiri people want freedom from Indian occupation.
Furthermore, Dr. Fai stated that both India and Pakistan have been in a state of tension over Kashmir ever since the late 1940s when the British were compelled to relinquish their ‘raj.’ He reiterated ‘both India and Pakistan have fought three wars with the most recent war in 1999 raising the specter of nuclear war. Humanity cannot afford to ignore the Kashmir tragedy.’ In addition, Dr. Fai recalled the 4600 unidentified bodies recently unearthed in mass graves to which the European Parliament passed a unanimous resolution condemning the alleged atrocities.
Lastly, the Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center commends the continuance of the India-Pakistan peace process, though insists that both countries recognize and include the legitimate representatives of the Kashmiri people in their deliberations. To that, Dr. Fai emphasized, ‘there can be no solution to the Kashmir crisis without the inclusion of the legitimate voices of the Kashmiri people.’ The Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center is committed to finding a just and lasting peace to the disputed territory of Kashmir through a peaceful tripartite negotiations and calls for the beginning of a peace process between the three stake-holders.