Kashmir an issue of the United Nations: Dr Fai
24 November 2003
News Network International
RICHMOND: Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council, delivered a lecture on 'Origins of Conflict of Kashmir' at World Affairs Council of Greater Richmond. The World Affairs Council of Greater Richmond is a non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of international affairs and foreign policy issues. The Council's objective is to provide for direct interaction with leading international relations experts and foreign policy decision makers through public forums. The Council features exceptional speakers who are international leaders and experts in their field of foreign policy. Among the speakers this past year were Sir Christopher Meyer, British Ambassador to the U.S.; Stephen Kinzer, former New York Times Bureau Chief in Istanbul, Turkey; and Lt. General Samuel Wilson (Ret.), Former Director of the U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency. 'The Origins of Conflict' are a new series, conceived by former Governor Baliles that was held this past fall. This series was co-produced by the University of Virginia's Miller Center and was held in Richmond for four weeks to explore conflicts in Ireland, the Middle East, the Balkans, South Asia, and China and her neighbors. 'The Origins of Conflict' series addresses the underlying causes, origins and historical development of selected and significant points of ongoing international conflicts so that there is an understanding of these conflicts and the potential for resolution. Past speakers include Mr. Stephen Schwartz, Author, Journalist, Senior Policy Analyst; Mr. Naoyuki Agawa, Japan's Minister & Director of Information and Culture Center; Amb. Princeton Lyman, Former Ambassador to South Africa; Dr. Des Kux, Former Ambassador; Dr. Stephen Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Dr. Gene Huang, Chief Economist, FedEx; Hon'ble Senator John Warner of Virginia. This year's 'Origins of Conflict' Series speakers include; Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director; Kashmiri American council, Stapleton Roy, Former Ambassador to China and Indonesia; Mr. Don Oberdorfer, former Washington Post Diplomatic Correspondent and Author. Dr. Fai in his speech elaborated the history of the Kashmir issue before the United Nations Security Council. It was India who raced to that forum more than 50 years ago to secure a self-determination mandate for Kashmir, and received what it prayed for in twin Security Council resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949. Pakistan also agreed to the self-determination format. The tragedy that has bedeviled Kashmir ever since was the exclusion of any Kashmiri voice in the deliberations although it was the future of the people of Kashmir that was at stake. That glaring omission and unfairness has never been rectified during half a century of bilateral India- Pakistan negotiations over the now bloodstained disputed land. Dr. Fai lamented that the United Nations seems to value the lives and hopes of Kashmiris less than it values those of Kosovar Albanians, East Timorese, Bosnian Muslims and Croats, and Iraqi Kurds and Shiites. 'That repugnant discrepancy' he said, 'represents one of the most morally debauched hours of the United Nations.' The United States should make Kashmir the centerpiece of its peace and non- proliferation strategy in South Asia. It should mediate Kashmir negotiations, and not crown India with veto power over the gambit, which the United States does at present. Bilateral Pakistan-Indian talks or Kashmir-India talks have proven barren for more than 50 years, and nothing suggests any non-hallucinogenic possibility of breaking that bilateral stalemate. United States mediation has proven productive in Northern Ireland, East Timor, Bosnia, and Kosovo, and Kashmir is a similar case. The United States should appoint a special envoy on Kashmir, a person of an international standing, like President Nelson Mandela. More importantly, the United States should insist on the inclusion of genuine representatives of the Kashmiri people at the negotiating table. It is their political destiny and human rights which are at stake, and no solution that fails to command their consent will endure.