Washington, D.C. March 10, 2010. There are multiple ways by which the conflicts could be resolved. The most pragmatic being through dialogue and negotiations. The most prevalent perception about Conflict Resolution was that it was dependent upon the political process of negotiation, mediation, and other forms of non-violent dispute resolution. However, while this was a correct assumption, it is important for all of us to take note that firstly, the greatest hurdle is to get all parties involved in a conflict to come to the negotiating table. Secondly, the terms of reference should be formulated in such a manner so that they are seen to be fair and amicable to all stakeholders, said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center while speaking at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Arlington Campus.
Dr. Fai said that the solution to the suffering of everyone in Kashmir — Muslim and Hindu — lies in finding a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the crisis. This can only happen if the United States and the United Nations take an active role in facilitating a dialogue between all the parties to the dispute — India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership. Any attempt to strike a deal between two without the association of the third, will fail to yield a credible settlement. This has been made unmistakably clear by the flimsy arguments that were contrived in the past six decades.
India claims to be the ‘World’s Largest Democracy. But its actions in Kashmir speak otherwise. Fai quoted Bertrand Russell who said in 1964, “The high idealism of the Indian government in international matters breaks down completely when confronted with the question of Kashmir.”
Fai warned that rather than seeking to rectify its human rights record, India has legalized state-sponsored terror in Kashmir. Indian laws provide the enabling environment that encourages and even rewards human rights abuses by India’s army and paramilitary forces in Kashmir. It has given them shoot-to-kill powers and a carte blanche to abuse the people of Kashmir in whatever ways they deem necessary to suppress the popular movement for self-determination.
Dr. Fai said that the international community and particularly developed countries see economic potential in India. They don’t want to loose this economic opportunity by raising the question of human rights in Kashmir. Otherwise, the situation in Kashmir is no more difficult than in Bosnia. The only difference is that there is no international electronic media that can show the activities in Kashmir to the outside world.
The Executive Director appealed the international community to urge the Government of India to release unconditionally all political prisoners, including ailing leader Shabir Ahmed Shah, Ashraf Sehrayee, Naeem Ahmed Khan, Mussarat Alam, Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi and others. He informed the audience that the health of Shabir Ahmed Shah is deteriorating day by day. His family has asked Dr. Laurent Sibilia of World Red Cross Committee to intervene in this matter on the humanitarian grounds.
Dr. Fai reminded President Obama that an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir will hasten the process of peace and stability in the region that includes India, Pakistan & Afghanistan.