Washington, D.C: Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai has welcomed the foreign secretaries’ talks between New Delhi & Islamabad on July 4 â€“ 5, 2012 where they exchanged views on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and agreed ‘to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.’ “These talks offer hope for peace in South Asia if the course of justice is followed and both parties undertake to abide by their commitments. The continuance of talks can only be useful if they reflect a sense of urgency and prepare the ground for an earnest effort at the highest level to frame a step-by-step plan of settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Mere persistence of talks at a level lower than political leadership of the two countries â€“ and that too at a leisurely pace â€“ will in no way defuse the situation. Unintentionally though, it will mock the agony of the people of Kashmir rather than assuage it,” Fai added.
Dr. Fai cautioned that “the present situation inside Kashmir makes it clear that, if talks between the Governments of India and Pakistan are to mean anything, they must be accompanied by practical measures to restore an environment of non-violence, free from coercion and external intimidation. Secondly, Fai underscored that bilateral talks have proven barren for more than 65 years; they have lacked a sense of urgency because Kashmir has been denigrated to a pawn on the foreign policy chessboards. The lion’s share of suffering fell on Kashmiris, not Indians or Pakistanis. Therefore, Kashmiri leadership must be included in all future negotiations over Kashmir. Even putting aside law and morals, no solution to the Kashmiri conflict will endure which does not command the consent of the 17 million people of Kashmir. Thus, it makes no sense to negotiate over their heads. The best that could result would be sound and fury signifying nothing, as at Tashkent, Simla, Lahore and elsewhere.”
Dr. Fai urged the world powers including the United States and the Secretary General of the United Nations to maintain, indeed to intensify, their watch over the situation in Kashmir and not be lulled into the belief that the dialogue between India and Pakistan, in the form and at the level it appears to be contemplated at present will soften the conflict or lessen the urgent need for mediatory initiatives. The policy that aims at merely defusing the situation, whatever that may mean, and not encouraging a credible settlement has not paid in the past. It is likely to do even less now.
“Kashmir is not beyond a solution if all involved parties show some flexibility: Pakistan, India, and Kashmiris. The next step is not to craft a solution, but to set the stage for crafting a solution. Key to that objective is the appointment of a person of international stature like Bishop Desmond Tutu to mediate these negotiations,” Fai reiterated.
“Liberty, dignity and self-determination pulsate in the breasts of the Kashmiri people. That innate craving for justice is no different from the people of other countries, like Southern Sudan. All the brutalities and suffering inflicted by alien power have proven impotent in seeking to extinguish that popular demand. Might will never make right in the eyes of Kashmiris, and we hope the Secretary General of the UN as the custodian of the human rights can enlighten the world powers to this elemental lesson,” Fai concluded.