Peace Sans Kashmir Solution A Dream: Mirwaiz
22 April 2006
The News International
London: Chairman of his own faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said the issue of Kashmir is central to Pakistan, India and peace in the region. Speaking at a two-day conference at Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the Mirwaiz said until there was a movement on the issue, peace would remain a distant dream in South Asia. According to the Kashmir Media Service, the conference was held on the subject of žPakistan-India Dialogue: Quest for PeaceÓ which was organised by the Allama Iqbal Fellow and the Wolfson College University of Cambridge in collaboration with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. Emphasising the importance of inclusion of the Kashmiris in the talks between Pakistan and India, he said: žUntil and unless there is a trilateral dialogue the things will not shape up.Ó The Mirwaiz said if a solution to the Kashmir dispute had to be found outside the ambit of the UN Security Council resolutions, there were ways to do it but it had to be negotiated by the three parties concerned, ie Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris. On the composite dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi, he said: žUnless there is a genuine change in the ground situation, all talk of this dialogue will be in vain.Ó The APHC leader said the common Kashmiri should see improvement in terms of human rights, release of 350 political prisoners along with 700 others being detained by India in held Kashmir and repeal of the oppressive laws. It is high time India showed pragmatism, while the approach adopted by Pakistan to address the Kashmir issue was positive which had given some hope to the people of Kashmir, he said. Secretary-General Pakistan Muslim League Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed urged India to grasp the idea of peace given by President Pervez Musharraf to make headway on the lingering issue of Kashmir. Mushahid said there was not a single constituency in Pakistan, which wanted confrontation with India hence it provided a propitious ambience for making some forward movement on the Kashmir issue. It went to the credit of President Musharraf because what he had done to seek a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue was unprecedented. He told the delegates here was head of the Armed Forces who was talking out of the box solution of the long-pestering issue of Kashmir. Secondly, President Musharraf had injected the Kashmiris as a factor in talks between Pakistan and India. But if India did not seize this moment, Mushahid said, the issue would not go away as such issues could not be brushed under the carpet. The status quo in Kashmir, he said, could not hold hence there needed to be some movement on it. 'Time is on the side of the Kashmiris,' said Mushahid. Pakistan envoy to London Dr Maleeha Lodhi said as the nuclear history of the region indicated whenever an approach was followed which had a double standards, it had destabilizing impact on the region. Referring to the current dialogue process between Pakistan and India, the envoy said until the substantive issues, including Kashmir, were not addressed, this could lead to frustration. She reiterated that participation of the Kashmiris in the dialogue was essential. Maleeha said unless the issue of Kashmir was resolved, the peace process between the two countries would remain fragile. She said Pakistan and India needed to go beyond their stated positions if there had to be negotiated solution of the Kashmir issue. She said India had refused to respond to various ideas put forward by Pakistan to find a just solution to the Kashmir issue.