London: Speakers at a seminar urged India and Pakistan to include people from all parts of the former state of Jammu & Kashmir in a meaningful dialogue for establishment of permanent peace in South Asia. â€œThe ongoing indo-Pak peace process could not be succeeding without the inclusion of people of Kashmir who are the key stakeholders of theÂ conflict.â€
While addressing the seminar titled â€œIndia-Pakistan Peace Process: The Way Forwardâ€, a select group of British MPs, experts in international relations and Kashmiri peace activists demanded that Kashmir conflict should be resolved according to the aspirations of people of Jammu &Kashmir.
The seminar was organized by International Centre for Peace and Democracy and International Pahari Literary Society with the collaboration of Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies. Prominent among speakers were Chairperson All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan Andrew Stephenson (Conservative), Member House of Lords Qurban Hussain, MP Paul Uppal, Member All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir MP Simon Danczuk, Sardar Mumtaz Executive Director International Centre for Peace and Democracy, Executive Director International Pahari Literary Society Ali Adaalat , MP Yasmin Qureshi, President Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies Senge Hasnan Sering, and Secretary General Jammu & Kashmir Council for Human Rights Dr. Nazir Gilani. Chief Executive Press for Peace (PFP) Zafar Iqbal and Chairperson Indo European Kashmir Forum Krishna Bhan also spoke on the occasion. MP Simon Danczuk opened the house for discussion with his keynote address. He said that Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan were very important issues for British parliamentarians. He stressed the need for creating peace, encouraging cooperation and finding solutions to bring India and Pakistan closer. Andrew Stephenson said that lower level judiciary in Pakistan was not functioning properly due to corruption and bribery. He stressed the need of a complete overhaul of judicial system in Pakistan. He said the law and order breakdown in the country and the harassment of visiting British Pakistanis by the police was discouraging both the foreign visitors and investors from visiting Pakistan. The MP said that deteriorating security situation was pushing Pakistan toward destruction whereas its neighbor India was fast progressing.
Member Parliament Yasmin Qureshi said that India and Pakistan both were nuclear powers and Kashmir conflict could be a war trigger between these two countries. She said both were spending billions of Pounds on defense matters and weapons that could be spent on peopleâ€™swellbeing. Mumtaz Khan, head of a Canadian think-tank ICPD, highlighted the need of reopening of old trade routes between different parts of the state. He criticized the role of Kashmir Council and said that it was impossible to give Kashmiris their due rights in presence of such brutal authority. â€œW should take a collective stance on Kashmir Conflict by leaving differences of caste, creed, religion and regional identity aside,â€ he maintained. He said that tribal intrusion at the time of partition paved way for external intruders in Kashmir. He was of the opinion that for a peaceful settlement of Kashmir Conflict all unsolved matters of the people of all parts of Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved and included in peace efforts. Lord Qurban Hussain said that instead of killing innocent people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan should listen and respect viewpoint of Kashmirs. He further said that dialogue process was only possible if violations of human rights were stopped, removal of forces from populated areas was guaranteed and restrictions on travel across LoC were withdrawn. He condemned the forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits from different parts of the state. Noted author Daalat Ali said that one million British Kashmiris were facing problem of identity as they are considered either Pakistani or Indian nationals in Britain. He said all parts of Jammu & Kashmir including Indian and Pakistani Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan were colonies of India and Pakistan. â€œIndia and Pakistan should adhere to their respective constitutions and issue state subject cards to Kashmir Diaspora and people living in Kashmir, also all state subject holders should be allowed to visit any part of the state.â€, he added. Senge Hasnan Sering said that Confidenc Building Measures on Kashmir to be extened Gilgit-Baltistan. He urged India and Pakistan to open ancient routes for trade between Laddakh and Gilgit-Baltistan. He expressed that more than 10,000 Ladakhis living in Gilgit-Baltistan demand resumption of travel to Ladakh on urgent and humanitarian basis. He was of the view that opening up of travel routes between Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan will help revive secular culture and help counter terrorism. Syed Nazir Gilani said that militancy in Kashmir had murdered the right of self-determination of Kashmiri people. He said the AJK act was against the universal declaration of human rights and it was meant to subjugate people of the area. He also stressed MPsâ€™ role to give people of Kashmir their democratic rights. Krishna Bhan from Indo- European Kashmir Forum said that Kashmiri Pandits were forced to migrate from Kashmir due to extremist tendencies in the state and growing militancy. She said that any development on Kashmir without involvement of Kashmiri Pandits would be unfruitful.
Chief Executive Press for Peace Zafar Iqbal highlighted the human rights violations in all units of Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit-Baltistan. He said that all political prisoners of Gilgit-Baltistan should be released immediately as a goodwill gesture to promote peace. He strongly appreciated local human rights activist Babajanâ€™s efforts in raising awareness about the flood victims of Hunza. He asked India and Pakistan to remove hurdles in cross-LoC trade. He said that people of different religions in Jammu & Kashmir must be allowed to visit religious shrines in across the Line of Control. (KMW NEWS)