Altaf Hamid Rao,
MIRPUR (AJK): The Norway-based Kashmiri Scandinavian Council has welcomed Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg for discussing the Kashmir issue during her recent official visit to India.
Talking to this Correspondent over telephone from Oslo on Friday, Executive Director of the Council Sardar Ali Shah Nawaz Khan said that Norwegian Prime Minister’s interest in helping to resolve the Kashmir issue is a significant and commendable development.
Khan said that Norway has long experience of mediation in the bloody and intractable conflicts in Colombia, Sri Lanka and Palestine. It is a neutral country which can play a role in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan leading to the resolution of the Kashmir problem.
He welcomed Norwegian Premier’s approach towards mediation where she emphasized the need for involving all stakeholders including Kashmiri resistance leadership in a structured peace-process. Her remarks, “India and Pakistan will have to find time as to when they go for talks. But if there is a movement for greater talks peace in India and Pakistan we and other countries can help mediating if there is a possibility”, he said were a dire need of the hour and a sigh of relief for peace constituencies.
Sardar Ali Khan stated that Prime Minister Erna Solberg is absolutely right in saying that there is no military solution for the issues like Kashmir and she rightly hinted that without the participation of women, youth and peace negotiators, both countries can’t find a solution of this long-standing issue.
To a question, he said that Norwegian Prime Minister Kashmir remarks during her recent visit to India reflect the official stance of the government of Norway. He pointed out that Norway has always played a key role in internationalizing the Kashmir issue & has supported the peaceful Kashmir solution overseeing several debates & discussions on Kashmir conflict in the Norwegian Parliament.
Khan recalled that on 19th August 2016, while speaking at a joint press conference along with the Advisor to the then Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz after holding a meeting Norwegian foreign minister, Borge Brende had offered the mediation on Kashmir by saying, “We’re available as a friend of Pakistan as well as India to play the role of a mediator. On May 23, 2017, during a debate on Kashmir situation in Norwegian Parliaments Borge Brende called for a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue amicably.
He also applauded former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Mangne Bondevik’s recent visit to Indian Occupied Kashmir where he held a meaningful meeting with the pro-freedom Kashmiri leadership headed by Syed Ali Shah Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. He termed this a major breakthrough. He appealed the Indian leadership to accept the offer of the mediation and reduce travel restrictions over Kashmiri leadership so that they can travel outside Kashmir and meet international community to further the peace initiatives. He said that the Norwegian PM did not say anything which contradicts with the Norwegian stand on Kashmir conflict.
Mr. Khan raised concerns about the representatives of two weaponry companies Kongsberg-Gruppen & Nammo being part of the delegation of Prime Minister of Norway during her 3- day visit to India. He appreciated the Norwegian Government’s longstanding commitment of non-cooperation on martial affairs with either of the parties involved in any particular conflict and expressed the desire that Norway will uphold this principle in the times to come.