All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir Meets

London , U.K. October 15, 2010. All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPGK) held a special meeting at the House of Lords to asses the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Speaking on the occasion, Lord Nazir Ahmed, Member, British House of Lords and the Chairman of the APPGK, said that the issue of Kashmir is the issue of self-determination which was guaranteed under successive United Nations Security Council resolutions. And the self-determination of peoples is a basic principle of the United Nations Charter which has been reaffirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and applied countless times to the settlement of many international conflicts.

Lord Ahmed elaborated that the Kashmir problem is an international issue which needs the immediate attention of the world powers. He said that the tortures, abuses, rape and murder of innocent civilians continue to pervade Kashmir but have failed to reach our radars due to the Indian government’s censorship.

Lord Ahmed warned that given the west’s concern that Afghanistan is falling into the hands of the Taliban and the increased number of casualties on NATO’s side, it would be in Britain’s – and indeed America’s – best interests to address Kashmir and give the Pakistani army an extra hand in combating extremists on the Afghan border. If the situation continues to escalate, the promise of leaving Afghanistan will be impossible to keep, as NATO will have to count on fewer resources from Pakistan.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center who was invited to update the Members of the APPGK, said that the Great Britain has traditionally been a committed supporter of the plebiscite agreement as the only way to resolve the Kashmir issue. Britain co-sponsored Resolution 47 of the Security Council which was adopted on April 21, 1948 and which stated that the future of Jammu & Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and the will of the people. Dr. Fai reminded the Members of the APPGK about the statement which was made by Mr. Noel Baker, the British Ambassador to the United Nations on April 17, 1948 who said, “I believe now, that the Kashmir dispute is the greatest and gravest single issue in international affairs.” And today, after 62 years, Kashmir still is the most dangerous place one earth, said Fai.

Dr. Fai told the Members 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. He quoted Mr. Pankaj Mishra who said on August 14, 2010 that the protesters in Kashmir have a broader mass base than the Green Movement had in Iran. But no color-coded revolution is heralded in Kashmir by Western commentators. Dr. Fai made the reference of an article written by Arundhati Roy who observed on August 22, 2008: “Having declared that the militant movement has been crushed, it ( India) is now faced with a non-violent mass protest. This one is nourished by people’s memory of years of repression in which tens of thousands have been killed, thousands have disappeared, hundreds of thousands tortured, injured bd humiliated.”

In response to a question, Dr. Fai said that the people of Kashmir believe that the time has come that the world powers in general and the Obama Administration in particular let India know that if talks between India and Pakistan are to mean anything, they must be tripartite – Governments of India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership - and they must be accompanied by practical measures to restore an environment of non-violence.

Besides the Members of the APPGK, those who attended the meeting included Mr. Nazir Quraishi, Senior Vice President, World Kashmir Freedom Movement.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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