Islamabad|Feb 8 2013|The resolution of Kashmir issue is crucial for peace in South Asia, politicians and diplomats agreed at a seminar on Thursday. Addressing a seminar titled ‘The Kashmir Issue’, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI), politicians and former diplomats called upon India and Pakistan to include Kashmiris in the dialogue process.
The event was organised to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day observed every year on February 5. PML-Q’s lawmaker in the National Assembly and member of the Special Committee of Parliament on Kashmir, Dr Attiyah Inayatullah, described the struggle of Kashmiri people as ‘Kashmir Spring’ but unfortunately, she claimed that the movement had not been properly highlighted.
She claimed that this movement emerged in the summer of 2008 and built momentum in summer of 2009 and 2010. She said that the people of Kashmir were being maltreated and thrown in jails by Indian forces and the conditions have been worsened by a ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ by Indians that resulted in harsh curfews and shoot-on-sight orders. She said that the Kashmir struggle had always been non-violent, despite the frequent violence perpetrated by Indian forces.
PML-N’s MNA and Member of the Kashmir Committee, Khurram Dastgir Khan, said that after 9/11 and attack on the Indian Parliament, the international community had lost interest in Kashmir. Between 2008 and 2010, Pakistan had many opportunities to highlight the issue but all those opportunities were lost.
“Today, it is felt that the Kashmir issue is fading away. A lot of progress is being made by Pakistan and India in the areas of trade and economy which is good, but at the same time Pakistan should make sure that the issue of Kashmir does not lose its importance,” he said. He also demanded of the Indian authorities that all draconian laws such as AFSPA and Public Safety Act should be repealed.
ANP’s Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel, who is also member of Special Committee of Parliament on Kashmir, referred to a third option for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Adeel, who shared his personal views with the audience, said that if Kashmiris did not want to join either Pakistan or India, the region should be declared an “independent state”.
He said that the non-Muslim Kashmiri people were not willing to join Pakistan. “We should put our house in order before persuading the Kashmiri people to join Pakistan. In a situation when Karachi is bleeding and bloodbaths continued in other parts of the country and while people in Balochistan are not willing to hoist up Pakistani flag…how will you expect Kashmiris to become part of a country where parliamentarians are taking nationalities of other countries”, he added.
Former Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Akram Zaki said that although India had failed to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir under UN Security Council resolutions, a referendum is held every year on August 14, “Pakistani flags are raised whereas on 15 August, hardly any Indian flag is seen in Indian Occupied Kashmir”. A Hurriyat leader of the Azad Kashmir Chapter, Yusuf Nasim, said that India had violated UN resolutions and changed the demography of held Kashmir.