Settlement of Kashmir dispute and peace in S Asia
A large number of students gathered at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona to learn about the latest situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. UPF is one of the top 16th young universities in the world.
Shahal Khoso, doctoral student in Political Science and young energetic scholar, and Emcee of the event, during his opening remarks said, “Prominent Italian political philosopher Giorgio Agamben, in his works, brought forth to the world the concept of the State of Exception.
For Agamben, the biopolitical significance of the state of exception, acts as a law that encompasses living beings to their own suspension.
Even though this state of exception was predetermined through the narrative of emergency in Kashmir for the last 7 decades, on August 5th, 2019, the far-right Indian govt of BJP under PM Narendra Modi, removed the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution.
Thus, starting a new wave of assault, repression, and isolation – under a military curfew that is still in place today, making systematic demographic changes in Jammu & Kashmir during this period, and starting the process of settler colonialism. Around 3 million non-Muslim Indians are now being settled in Kashmir, by the ruling party.
Mr.Shahal Khoso added that before we hand over the session to our speakers, it is pertinent to add here, that the root of the conference here at UPF neither stem from the narrative on Kashmir from the Pakistani perspective nor the Indian perspective.
Today, let us speak about why the world (at large) should care about Kashmir from those who are the sons of the soil of Kashmir.
Muhammad Shafiq Tabassam, President, Tehreek-i-Kashmir, Spain expressed his appreciation to the students for taking time during their hectic schedule.
He expressed the hope for a successful and informative Q & A session after the speeches of the guests.
Ghulam Nabi Fai, the key-note speaker and the Chairman, World Forum for Peace & Justice thanked the students for taking time to be the part of this academic discourse.
Fai explained that the Kashmir dispute has an international dimension because it has the sanctity of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions and has become a big hurdle or obstacle in the growth and stability of both India and Pakistan.
The unresolved conflict over Kashmir threatens the international peace and security of the world.
It is far past time for the UN to take forceful action in order to restore peace to the region of South Asia.
Responding to a question, Dr.Fai said that it was India which raced to the United Nations Security Council on January 1, 1948, and championed resolutions of the Security Council that prescribed a self-determination vote for Kashmiris on the heels of United Nations supervised demilitarization.
At that time, the United States championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory.
The United States was the principal sponsor of the resolution # 47 which was adopted by the Security Council on April 21, 1948, and which was based on that unchallenged principle.
India, however, was soon undeceived of its delusions over Kashmir’s political yearning. Recognizing that its people would never freely vote accession to India, it contrived excuse after excuse to frustrate a plebiscite.
When asked whether the conflict could be resolved bilaterally, Dr.Fai said that the people of Kashmir are mindful of the urgings by the United Nations and the world powers that India and Pakistan keep talking to each other.
It would be perverse on the part of anyone to oppose that course of action. But to expect a breakthrough in talks is to ask for miracles.
It would be irresponsible on our part to encourage the hope that if the Governments of India and Pakistan are willing to depart from the stand of principle, the compromise will be endorsed by the people of Kashmir.
Fai clarified that the people of Kashmir are fully aware that the settlement of the Kashmir dispute cannot be achieved in one move.
Like all qualified observers, we visualize successive steps or intermediate solutions in the process.
It is one thing, however, to think of a settlement over a relatively extended period of time. It is atrociously different to postpone the beginning of the process on that account.
Answering a question, why resolution of Kashmir was important, Fai stated that peace in the region would benefit not only those who are directly impacted by this conflict – Kashmiris – but India as well.
Sounder minds must prevail. More rational methods of dealing with differences must be sought.
Repeating the same mistakes while expecting different results has long ago been found to be the path of failure.
Seventy-five years should demonstrate a need for a change in policy, a policy that accepts the need for coming together in a process that accepts the right of all people to determine their own destiny.
With regard to the role of the United Nations Dr.Fai said that its role had slowly faded as India became more of an alluring commercial market.
’ But, he said, ‘that doesn’t mean it went away.
Very recently, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN declared that Kashmir issue has to be resolved under UN Charter and applicable UN Security Council resolutions.
Without a shadow of doubt, Fai emphasized, peace is the only option for Kashmir, and Kashmiris are ready to play their part in the process.
Fahim Kayani, one of the dynamic Kashmiri diaspora youth leaders and President, Tehreek-i-Kashmir, UK, who was the guest of honor, declared that it is interesting how problematic it seems for India & Pakistan to agree that Kashmiris themselves have a stake in any talks about their future.
In what kind of democratic process would this not be of prime consideration? The moral, legal and historical foundations for such a principle have been frequently raised not only by Kashmiris but by the world community as well, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as in the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.
Mr.Kayani added that the people of Kashmir, like most people, are by their nature peaceful. History testifies to that fact. They do not seek war, and do not want to see their children die in a bloody conflict.
They seek and would welcome a peaceful and negotiated settlement to the crisis for the sake of peace and stability in the region of South Asia.
Kayani explained that perhaps not by coincidence, the danger of nuclear threat will be of paramount interest.
Kashmir has been regarded by President Bill Clinton as the most dangerous place on earth. Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark said, “Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint.
” It is clearly the bone of contention of nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan. During the long years of domestic and international political chess by the United Nations and the world powers it must be stressed, the people of Kashmir themselves have been denied even the role of a pawn.
Their voices have neither been summoned nor heard; yet they have suffered the most in daily and harrowing human rights violations.
Therefore, it is in the interest of world peace, Fahim Kayani emphasized that India and Pakistan need to resolve the Kashmir dispute to the satisfaction of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The final and durable settlement of the Kashmir dispute will undoubtedly guarantee peace and stability in the region of South Asia. It will also have a great impact on the international peace and security.
—The writer is the Secretary General, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum.