Posted Sat, 04/10/2010 – 15:16
Pugwash Conference on Kashmir
10-11 March, 2006 Islamabad
Muhammad Farooq Rehmani
A two day joint session of India, Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir politicians and academicians to discuss different ideas and trends on Kashmir question under the auspices of “Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs” was held on March 10-11 in Serena Islamabad. Paolo Cotta-Ramusino Secretary General Pugwash was the chief coordinator of the conference others who coordinated on the side of Pakistan and India were General(R) Talat Masood (Pak) and Dr. Matto (India). The organizers of this conference enlightened the delegates of the Pugwash international conference delegates on Pugwash theory of conflict resolution and their efforts with regard to Kashmir resolution. Immediately at the outset Muhammad Farooq Rehmani convener APHC AJK chapter and chairman J&K people’s freedom league was given the floor to speak on the occasion.
First of all he raised the question of Syed Ali Shah Geelani Chairman APHC criticizing India for not issuing travel documents to Syed Ali Geelani to attend the Pugwash conference on Kashmir. He asked the organizer of Pugwash conference if they would raise this question with the Indian government because the right to travel was the problem which was being denied to Syed Ali Geelani by the Indian government over many years.
The full text of the Speech of Muhammad Farooq Rehmani is given below:
Mr. Chairman and dignitaries thank you for inviting me to speak. I have some questions, few suggestions and comments to empower your resolve for conflict resolution vis-à-vis Kashmir. These may be bitter but frank and candid.
1. Do you acknowledge the greatness of human sacrifices in Kashmir during the last fifteen years, as you recognize the interests of independent states of the United Nations?
2. Do you want closer access to the problems, interests and mind set of the oppressed stake holders of Kashmir.
3. Do you see the importance of bringing together the separated and divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir for a durable resolution as Americans did centuries before to create the United States of America?
4. Do you underscore the cooperation of freedom fighters to bring peace and normalcy in the wounded region of J&K?
Now I can tell you that we in this region have formed some myths which need to be broken—such as the myth of provisional accession, myth of AtoutAng, the myth of Delhi accord 1952 and 1975 and the myth of autonomy under 370. The myth of elections also which was never fair and impartial under the Indian constitution and the central election commission. To this can be added bus and truck services across the LOC, as these services have basic and inherent hurdles to remain unpopular. Kashmiris have not come out of fear, suspicion and uncertainty after these steps.
I believe the right of self determination should be placed before everything else to seek a concrete and durable solution of Kashmir issue and should not be equated with terrorism which is the hallmark of Indian policies in Jammu and Kashmir. The concept of self-determination is an internationally recognized norm. In 1917 Lenin conceived it as political self determination i.e. the right to secede and form an independent state. President Wilson of America in 1918 included it in his famous 14 points and described it as an imperative principle of action. Various international conventions on terrorism have also pointed out the difference between struggles for self determination and acts of terrorism. E.g., the UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX) on the ‘Definition of Aggression’, adopted in December 1974, in Article 7 states: ‘Nothing in this definition, and in particular Article 3 could in any way prejudice the right of self-determination, freedom, and independence, as derived from the Charter, of peoples forcibly deprived of that right and referred to in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the charter of the United Nations, particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination; or the right of these peoples to struggle to that end and seek and receive support…’
High magnitude terror has become the second nature of rulers and armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. They remain armed with laws of extreme terror and horror. It is a big hurdle to conflict resolution in J&K. A Kashmiri in his own home and hearth is insecure and he is humiliated by police and army. For a successful process of dialogue and conflict resolution first of all you have to restore honor in the society and give tongue to every panicky citizen oppressed so heavily and so long. Every inhuman, barbaric and stringent law on the statute book is definitely sharpening the iron fists of absolute state gods in J&K. Here the advocates of conflict resolution should become bold enough to stand by the side of frightened and terrorized civil society. The failure of reconciliation and peace process can be attributed to this hidden factor. Trade, commerce, tourism and fine arts flourish between nations when there is peace and harmony, and when people feel individually and collectively secure. But the hounds of death and snakes of fear roaming everywhere in Kashmir cannot bring a just and peaceful resolution of Kashmir. It is how Kashmir again can become abode of love and loving saints in the entire south Asia. Nowadays Kashmir tells a different story as it is melancholic land were we find large graveyards of martyrs in every village and city. Mere tourism and trade will rub salt on the wounds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir cannot be treated as settled according to the principle of conflict resolutions simply by opening some roads, starting buses and exchanging some politicians, traders, clergies and bureaucrats in each others area of occupation. Kashmir can not be consoled as long as mothers, widows, and orphans of martyrs are unhappy and sad. Kashmir can be deemed as settled when a mother of a martyr will say yes your finger is on my pulse and you have glorified my homeland by restoring honor, love, freedom. We should judge the present slogan of peace by India by her actions. Words not translated into actions are hollow and superficial. Unfortunately the process of dialogue and conflict resolution is zero. The diplomatic language of politicians cannot hide facts from people.
On human rights front abuses graph shows upward trend and gives a grim picture of shame and sorrow. One NC MLA Ali Sagar on first March disclosed in the Kashmir Assembly that seven people have been killed by militants while as 57 have been killed by army during the last few months. Now who is terrorist he asks. A US State department report points out that Indian authorities generally did not report encounter deaths that occurred in J&K to the countries national human rights commission. Doesn’t it mean that the Kashmir issue is treated cosmetically? Is it the cause of serious concern to the advocates of peaceful conflict resolution?
Why so? Ever since the upsurge in Jammu & Kashmir India’s policy has been to give Kashmiris a bad name and kill them. Hence the conflict resolution process is heavily skewed in favor of India. The right of self determination which India and Pakistan got in 1947 and the same promise made with JK, remains ignored in Jammu & Kashmir. Kashmir is treated as a sick man going from bad to worse receiving everyday tranquilizers in the shape of failed promises bringing in return hate and despair. No dose of sunshine is seen by a Kashmiri or a refuge whose house remains closed to him for years together.
It is no courage to support the strategic interests of India or Pakistan as powerful stakeholders in Kashmir. The real courage would be to empower and favor the rights and interests of oppressed stakeholders of Kashmir.
India wants peace plus occupational grip over Kashmir; Kashmiris want peace and justice based upon the right of self determination and Pakistan advocates demilitarization followed by self rule and final settlement of Kashmir issue. You have to face the real test with wisdom to see where and how the three lines of thought can converge.
Pugwash can do a lot provided it works for peace and resolution of conflict with freedom fighters and their political thinkers but I would tell you that Kashmiris would never accept any changed models of slavery. We are the farmers our land, we want to plough our land and reap the harvest. We want to be the masters of our fate and we are not in search of masters. Kashmiris are not ready to play second fiddle in the on going bilateral dialogue process. Kashmir is lingering on because of the big stakeholders’ failure to comprehend and honor the sacrifices of the people for freedom. The message of this conference should be loud and clear that the conflict of Kashmir should be resolved according to the principle of the right of self determination. There can be no solution without demilitarizing the region. The conference should underscore which party is flexible and sincere in discharging this great moral obligation towards a permanent, just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
On the second day of the Pugwash international Kashmir conference Islamabad Muhammad Farooq Rehmani again took the floor and addressed the delegates both from Indian occupied Kashmir as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir these delegates included besides intellectuals also leaders of pro-Indian, pro-independence and Azad Kashmir and political parties. He made the following remarks before the Pugwash workshop on Kashmir.
“Mr. Chairman and honorable guests’ thank you for giving me opportunity to present my view point. I would like to say that we should not behave like arm chair critics as all of us are in deep waters in Kashmir. One can not conceal facts in the broad day light by superficial approach to this problem. Jammu and Kashmir is really a high magnitude political issue with which past present and future of people is linked. it is rightly a political question and not economic as per its solution it can not be decided within the four walls of Indian or Pakistani constitutions. However, Pakistan to settle the problem has gone beyond what you call the beaten drum. Yesterday all of you met with the President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharaf and heard his speech. He proved his desire to settle Kashmir issue with India by his speech and minced no words. He repeatedly said Pakistan was ready for military pullout from Azad Kashmir provided India also gave the same assurance. Could I ask you if Pakistan was prepared for pullout why not India? President’s statement before the delegates of Pugwash is very much clear. I wish you could take his message to the Government of India in the same words and then both these governments acted simultaneously on this issue. By this you can get a grip on the whole problem.
We on our part who speak for an overwhelming majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are prepared to sit and settle with regional and minority groups of Jammu and Kashmir. But at the same time you should be ready to sit and talk to the freedom fighters. If this methodology is adopted then we can by consensus evolve a political contract mutually and finally as Kashmiris Muslims or non-Muslims (without such distinctions enter into a similar political contract with India and Pakistan otherwise it will remain always under cloud. You know many many thousands of people have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir during the last sixteen years and the rest are in trauma. There are their teenagers and youngsters whom you cannot satisfy gossip. It is not so easy to change their mind and make a search for solution by ignoring their urges and aspirations.