Obama urged to include Kashmir in Holbrookes agenda

16 February 2009
The News International

Washington: Prominent Kashmiri-American leaders and South Asian experts have asked the Obama administration to put the Kashmir dispute on the agenda of its special envoy Richard Holbrooke. The experts and leaders, while speaking at the event held to express solidarity with the Kashmir cause, drew worlds attention to the plight of the people in the heavily militarised Indian occupied territory and urged US President Barack Obama to fulfil his promise to resolve the lingering UN-recognised dispute. The people of Kashmir deserve worldwide support. There is absolutely no terrorism as acknowledged by Indian writers and international affairs observers. The Kashmiris struggle for their rights is non-violent, peaceful, popular and indigenous, said Dr Ghulam Nabi Fa, head of the Kashmiri American Council. He recalled that the United States was the principal backer of a landmark resolution on Kashmir in 1948 and both the US and the UN see Kashmir as a dispute which should be resolved in accordance with the will of the Kashmiri people. He rejected the Indian foreign ministers claim that Kashmir was an integral part of India. Reminding the US of its obligation toward the settlement of the longstanding dispute, Fai also cited President Barack Obamas statement in October 2008 when he expressed his desire to resolve the dispute as part of his regional efforts to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan. Islamabads deputy ambassador in Washington Muhammad Aslam Khan renewed the Pakistani nations support to the UN-mandated rights of Kashmiris and urged India to show seriousness in the resolution of the issue. He said Pakistan believes the Kashmiri people must be associated with the Pakistan-India dialogue process for arriving at a sustainable solution. The legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiris cannot be ignored and must be accommodated in any just and durable solution, he added.Pakistan desires mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship with India. We are committed to a serious, sustained and constructive dialogue with India leading to early and full normalisation of relations on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference. The diplomat called for addressing the real issues between the two countries, notably the Kashmir question but said they have not been able to do so mainly due to lack of seriousness on the part of India. The clock is ticking, the stakes are higher with the passing of every day. The fate of the people of Kashmir cannot be held in abeyance any more. The future of over 1.3 billion people of South Asia cannot be held hostage to the imperial ambitions of a regional power. The blood of the innocent men, women and children cannot be allowed to flow year after year, he said, adding the Untied States owes its support to the Kashmiris just struggle in its own interest and in the interest of regional and global peace and stability.