The Concept of Autonomy is an Absolute Fallacy: Dr. Fai

Granada, Spain, December 29, 2009. “The concept of autonomy or self rule for Kashmir is an absolute fallacy. Here one has to rely on a provision of the Indian Constitution. All Constitutions of the world are subject to amendments and Indian Constitution is no exception. If not now, in the foreseeable future, the Indian legislature can delete this provision in the Constitution and the move will not even need a debate in the Parliament,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center at Alhambra Hotel, Granada, Spain.

Dr. Fai said that other ideal non-existent solution is the concept to convert the existing cease-fire line into a permanent International boundary, as Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India says ‘not to redraw the border’. “One cannot imagine a better formula for sowing a minefield in South Asia that will lead them to a nuclear disaster,” Fai added. Also, Kashmiris wish to emphasize that their land is not a real estate which can be parceled out between two disputants but the home of a nation with a history far more compact and coherent than India’s and far longer than Pakistan’s. No settlement of their status will hold unless it is explicitly based on the principles of self-determination and erases the so-called line of control, which is in reality the line of conflict.

The Executive Director emphasized that his opinion was confirmed by a poll conducted jointly by major news outlets on Aug 12, 2007: CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times in India and Dawn and News in Pakistan. A majority of those polled in Kashmir Valley (87% to be precise) preferred (Azadi) freedom from occupation. Fai added that the poll was consistent with another poll that was conducted on November 5, 2004 by the Monthly Outlook, when 78 percent demanded Azadi. Dr. Fai clarified that Azadi means both the rejection of concept of autonomy and rejection of line of control into an international border.

Dr. Fai stressed that Kashmiris are open to a constitutional dispensation that answers all of India’s legitimate national security and human rights concerns. With regard to the former, they are willing to explore permanent neutrality for Kashmir along the model of the 1955 Austrian State Treaty and a renunciation of war or the threat of force in international affairs along the model of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. They are willing to consider abandoning a military force like Costa Rica, Haiti, and Panama. Moreover, they hold no objection to providing community quotas in government offices along the lines of the 1960 Constitution for the Republic of Cyprus to safeguard against invidious discrimination of any religious or ethnic group, i.e., Pandit, Buddhist, Sikh, and Muslim alike.

Dr. Fai reminded 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. Ms. Arundhati Roy, an Indian thinker wrote in the Daily Guardian, London on August 22, 2008, “After 18 years of administering a military occupation, the Indian government’s worst nightmare has come true. Having declared that the militant movement has been crushed, it is now faced with a non-violent mass protest.” Mr. Gautum Navlakha, of Economic and Political Weekly, New Delhi said, “Long and short of it is that Indian state has become its own worst enemy. There is no point blaming Pakistan, fundamentalists, human rights activists and the usual alibis used by the Indian state. It is time to acknowledge that ‘national security’ paranoia cannot hide the reality that Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir have no confidence in the Indian state.”

Therefore, Dr. Fai suggested that there is but one fair, just, legal, and moral solution to Kashmir: The employment of peaceful means to bring about a self-determination with the inclusion of the genuine leadership of Kashmiris as an equal partner in all negotiations with the Governments of India and Pakistan; and the mediation of a person of commanding international stature, like Bishop Desmond Tutu, to be appointed by the United Nations.

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