Kashmiri American community vows to continue liberation struggle
06 June, 2012
WASHINGTON: The Kashmiri-American community in the Washington metropolitan area has vowed to continue their struggle for right to self-determination.
Members of the community comprising academicians, political activists and friends of the Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, speaking at an impressive gathering at Bombay Tandoor, Tysons Corner, pledged to carry forward his work during the period of his incarceration.
Dr Fai, on the occasion, said there is no restriction on him to continue his work for a universally acknowledged cause. He clarified to his well-wishers that the prosecution had withdrawn charges initially levelled against him to be the agent of a foreign government.
Judge Liam O'Grady, while announcing the verdict for two-year imprisonment earlier this year, had made it clear that "it's (sentencing) necessary, even though you have done some very moving things on behalf of the Kashmiri people and that your cause is a wonderful cause," Fai told the gathering.
Dr Fai urged the community members to continue to support the cause of Kashmir. He quoted again Judge O'Grady who said, "I sincerely hope that while you're at a minimal security facility like Cumberland, that I see no reason why you can't continue to advocate on behalf of the Kashmiri people and to write. I know that the KAC is dormant, I guess is the word for it at this stage, but there may be an opportunity to arrange conferences through other people in the future, and I hope that cause continues to be identified as an important international matter. And good luck to you."
Dr Fai stressed that no solution to the 65?year?old Kashmir conflict that didn't command a consensus among the 17 million Kashmiri people could endure just as no solution to East Timor held a chance of success until the East Timor's leadership was consulted and a referendum on independence from Indonesia was held.
For too long, Fai underscored, India's persecution of people of Kashmir has been buried by the fetching slogan, "The world's largest democracy." "There is no democracy in Kashmir; only military rule and the law of the gun. In fact the presence of more than 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces have made Kashmir the largest army concentration anywhere in the world," he pointed out.
Hamid Malik, President, Pakistan Link, while welcoming the participants said, "The Kashmiri American community is honoured to have the people like Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai who has dedicated his life for the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We remain indebted to him for his friendship and leadership during the past two decades."
Dr Imtiaz Khan noted that more than 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian military and paramilitary personnel over the last two decades, and deplored the silence of the international community because of India's nuclear and economic strength. He maintained that United Nations Security Council resolutions shouldered the United Nations with a moral obligation to intervene on behalf of the people of Kashmir; and, that the United Nations should thicken its monitoring force along the cease?fire line.
Dr Zulfiqar Kazmi said, the Kashmiris crave only what every American covets: human rights, democratic values, peace and justice, and believe that the United States' successes in East Timor and Southern Sudan could be duplicated in Kashmir with persistence, moral suasion, and statesmanship.
Dr Kazmi maintained that bilateral India?Pakistan talks could never resolve the Kashmir conflict. That formula has proven utterly bankrupt for more than 65 years and nothing has changed but the faces.
Sardar Zahoor Khan asked, is trade and commerce trampling on principles, democratic values, and human rights in Kashmir? He said that the sacrifices given by the people of Kashmir must not go in vain.
Sardar Zalfiqar Khan said that the way to resolve the Kashmir dispute was through peaceful tripartite negotiations. "Even this will not succeed unless there is the direct involvement of a third party, like the United States or the United Nations," he stated.
Mazhar Chughtai said the US must assume the position as a leader and take an active role in finding a lasting settlement of Kashmir. It is obvious that no settlement can last if it is not based on justice for the people of Kashmir and recognition of their inherent rights, he said.
Zubair Khan said that the Governments of India and Pakistan should include the Kashmiri leadership - the All Parties Hurriyet Conference that represents the broader spectrum of the opinion of the people of Kashmir - with the peace process.
Zahid Hussain said Kashmir needs international attention. It is the most dangerous nuclear hotspot on the earth. "Third party mediation is imperative after more than half a century of bankrupt bilateral bickering between India and Pakistan," he maintained.
Sheikh Siddik suggested that Kashmiris themselves must be made an equal negotiating partner in the peace enterprise. Their studied exclusion from any role in deciding their own fate in the past has proved disastrous both for themselves and South Asia.
Junaid Bashir emphasized that human rights are cheapened when enforcement is selective. He ended optimistically by declaring that he was certain that a self-determination solution to Kashmir could be fashioned that honours the aspirations and wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Maqsood Chaudhry appealed to the international community to intercede with India in the name of humanity, peace, and justice to recede from its intransigence and to begin negotiations over Kashmir with no pre-conditions. The lives, human rights and aspirations of millions are at stake, far more so than what propelled the international community to action in Southern Sudan," he stated.