Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kashmir dispute main cause of tension in South Asia

Kashmir Media Service,

New York, September 26 (KMS): The Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has said that Kashmir dispute is the main cause of tension in South Asia and needs to be resolved without any further delay. Addressing the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Conference in New York, the APHC Chairman said, because of its impact on relations between Pakistan and India, the conflict over Kashmir directly affects the peace and stability in the entire region, which is home to millions of people.

Mirwaiz maintained that the APHC was committed to bring about a peaceful and political solution to the dispute through meaningful dialogue among Pakistan, India and Kashmiris’ genuine leadership. He demanded demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir, complete withdrawal of Indian troops from town and villages of occupied Kashmir and repeal of all draconian laws including Disturbed Areas Act, Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The APHC Chairman said that human rights violations should be stopped and the international rights organisations should be allowed to have access to the occupied territory. He also called for the restoration of the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations, unconditional release of all political prisoners, freedom of all political leaders to travel abroad and allowing people to people contact on either side of the Line of Control.

Mirwaiz appealed to the leaders of the Islamic countries to use their moral and political influence to help resume the peace process for a just and honourable settlement of the Kashmir dispute and to grant the people of Kashmir their inalienable right of self-determination.

Complete text of the APHC Chairman’s speech is as follows

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen,
Assalam-u-Alaikum Warahmatula-e-Wabarakatuhu,
I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to address this highly esteemed gathering of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on the subject of Kashmir. I was also invited to participate in the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Damascus, Syria in May 2009. However, I could not attend that meeting because I was not given the travel document by the Government of India.

Excellencies, today, at this august body, I stand before you not just as a representative of the Kashmiri people struggling for their inalienable right of self-determination, but, more importantly as a ‘believer’. A believer who is urging the Ummah to reclaim its intellectual and spiritual glory. A believer who is proud of the accomplishments of the Organization of Islamic Conference, yet, recognizes that there is much work still to do.

The Foreign Ministers in this annual coordination meeting aim to discuss various issues related to the United Nations’ agenda in order to enhance cooperation and coordination among the OIC Member States at the UN. The importance of this initiative cannot be overstated. And, we need to be sure that our cooperation cannot be built on the hatred of anyone or anything, rather it should be undertaken with a love for ourselves and our traditions.

The present Charter of the Organization was adopted by the Eleventh Islamic Summit held in Dakar on 13-14 March 2008, which laid down the objectives and principles of the organization and fundamental purposes to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among the Member States. The Organization has the singular honor to galvanize the Ummah into a unified body and have actively represented the Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world. The Organization has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN to protect the vital interests of the Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving Member States. One such conflict is that of the Jammu and Kashmir.

It bears no reiteration that the Kashmir conflict primarily involves the life and future of the people of the land. However, unresolved dispute is at the underlying cause of tension between two nuclear rival – India and Pakistan. Because of its impact on relations between these two neighboring countries, it directly affects the peace and stability in an unstable region, which is home to more than 1.2 billion people, and the peace and security of many more nations beyond.

It has been a cause of two wars and numerous battles between the two neighbors, India and Pakistan. The place has been aptly described by the former US President, Bill Clinton as the “most dangerous place” on earth. The situation has taken an ominous turn since the Mumbai attacks o November 26, 2008. With extremist threat growing in the region, the escalating turmoil in Kashmir promises to engulf the entire region extending from Afghanistan to Bangladesh.

Excellencies, the APHC is committed to a peaceful and political solution to the Kashmir dispute. We believe that for a meaningful dialogue between Pakistan, India and the Leadership of Jammu & Kashmir the following measures need to be taken.

1. To demilitarize the arena of conflict – the State of Jammu and Kashmir – through a phased withdrawal of the troops;

2. Complete withdrawal of India’s military presence from Kashmiri towns and villages;

3. Immediate repeal of all draconian laws including Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act;

4. End to violations of human rights and allowing the international human rights organisations to have access to Kashmir;

5. The restoration of the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations;

6. The unconditional release of all political prisoners;

7. Freedom of all political leaders to travel abroad; and

8. To allow people to people contact on either side of the Line of Control.

Excellencies, we trust you will bring your immense moral and political influence to bear on initiating a peace process which will lead to a speedy, just an honourable settlement of the dispute and to restore the inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir.

I thank you, Excellencies for your patient hearing.

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