Washington, D.C. April 19, 2009. “The people of Kashmir are the masters of their destiny, ” said Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Mir, former President of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front at a reception given in his honor by the Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, while welcoming the participants reiterated that the current massive, multi-cultural and multi-religious grassroots movement in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir is ‘absolutely peaceful and non-violent.’ This praiseworthy development of non-violence needs to be supported and acknowledged by the international community. Moreover, commenting on recent developments, Dr. Fai mentioned that international public opinion and powerful global leaders are all realizing the magnitude of the disputed territory of Kashmir and the catastrophic consequences if left untended. With that thought, he categorically stated that ‘the international community should seize the moment of unprecedented peaceful protests in Kashmir and pursue efforts for a tripartite negotiations between India, Pakistan and the genuine leadership of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.’ Dr. Fai emphasized that a tripartite negotiations is possible only with the deeper engagement of the United
States’ Administration with both New Delhi and Islamabad.
Dr. Fai said that appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir by Obama Administration would go a long way to hasten the progress of peace and reconciliation in the region of South Asia.
The guest speaker, Mr. Mir who was born in the Valley of Kashmir and migrated to Mirpur, Azad Kashmir at the time of partition has authored more than a dozen books on the subject of Kashmir. Mr. Mir in his address said that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose future is yet to be decided. He emphasized that the people of all zones of the State should be given the right to exercise their right to self-determination after the withdrawal of armies from both sides of the Cease-fire Line.
Mr. Mir said that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has more than 300 mountains with 86 glaciers which ultimately melt to become the greatest source of water for more than 45 small and big rivers.
Mir also reminded the audience about the history of Kashmir and said that the Instrument of Accession was a fraud and reiterated that even this Instrument of Accession was subject to the reference of the people.
Mr. Mir quoted Late Bainazir Bhutto, Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Dr. Mubashir Hassan, who all said that the issue of Kashmir must be decided by none other than the people of the of Jammu and Kashmir; and who also said that the armies of both India and Pakistan must be withdrawn in order to make sure that the referendum in Kashmir is free from any external coercion, intimidation and compulsion.
Mr. Mir said that the right of self-determination was given to the people of Kashmir by the United Nations. This right, he said is not meant for the Muslims of Kashmir alone. This right was given to all people of Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of their religious affiliations and ethnic preferences.
Mr. Tahir Iqbal of Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party thanked the audience for their participation.