Appointment of A Special Envoy on Kashmir Will Hasten the Peace Process in South Asia: Dr. Fai

Washington D.C.- March 3, 2009. “The United States, Britain and France have traditionally been committed supporters of the plebiscite agreement as the only way to resolve Kashmir 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 in 1949 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. India repeated the same thing after 60 years by saying ‘NO’ to President Obama’s initiative to appoint a special envoy on Kashmir. The amazing thing was not the rejection of India to President Obama’s initiative but that the United States took the ‘NO’ of India as an answer.,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive
Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center during a lecture, entitled, “The Role of the United States in Resolving the Kashmir Dispute” at Rumi Forum, Washington.

Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, stimulate thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange. Forum is headed by Dr. Ali Yurtsever, an educator, researcher and scholar.

Dr. Fai reiterated that the Kashmiri resistance which is indigenous, spontaneous, peaceful and popular, involves the life and future of 15 million people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Because of its impact on relations between India and Pakistan, however, it directly affects the peace and stability of the South-Asian subcontinent. The denial of this right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir has brought these two neighboring countries to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.

Dr. Fai reminded that there has always been bipartisan expression of support for the U.S. position toward Kashmir. It is apparent from: When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-1948, the United States championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The U.S. was a principal sponsor of the resolution which was adopted by the Security Council on 21 April 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle.

Dr. Fai said that the US position was in full conformity with the position taken by India at the UN. He quoted Mr. N. Gopalaswami, Indian delegate to the UN who said at the Security Council on January 15, 1948, “The question of the future status of Kashmir vis-à-vis her neighbours and the world at large, and a further question, namely, whether she should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent, with a right to claim admission as a Member of the United Nations – all this we have recognized to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir, after normal life is restored to them.”

The Executive Director highlighted that it was not the inherent difficulties of a solution, but the lack of the will to implement a solution, that has caused the prolonged deadlock over the Kashmir dispute. The deadlock has meant indescribable agony for the people of Kashmir and incalculable loss for both India and Pakistan . The peace that has eluded the South Asian subcontinent, home to one-fifth of humanity, should be made secure.

Dr. Fai suggested that a sincere and serious effort towards a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute must squarely deal with the realities of the situation and fully respond to the people’s rights involved in it. A peace process mounted on a fragile platform is bound to collapse. Indeed, any process that ignores the wishes of the people of Kashmir and is designed to sidetrack the United Nations will not only prove to be an exercise in futility but can also cause incalculable human and political damage.

He said that the urgent necessities are:

(i). an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir which would go a long way to hasten the progress of peace and reconciliation in the region of South Asia, particularly India, Pakistan & Afghanistan; and

(ii) Inclusion of the genuine leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in all future negotiations with India and Pakistan.

Mr. Tariq Shafi, a well-known human rights activist in Washington metropolitan area moderated the event.

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Received via email- Kashmiri American Council, kacouncil@kashmiri.com

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