Seminar on ‘Peace and Security in South Asia’: 5 August decision hampered IOK freedom

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MUZAFFARABAD,    (Parliament Times) : Speakers at a seminar on ‘peace and security in South Asia vis-à-vis unresolved issue of Kashmir” have called upon the South Asian nations to resolve their mutual disputes in keeping with the UN charter to avoid bloodshed and devastating wars. The seven South Asian nations constituted around one fifth of the world population but the region faced substantial challenges of economic development, environmental protection, democratic governance, internal and intra state conflicts with added dimensions of the nuclear capability and new security issues of international terrorism, they said. The seminar was organized by “Jammu Kashmir Peace and Justice Forum,” led by Tanveer ul Islam, a former chairman of the United Jihad Council who has long shun militancy and has been advocating peacefully negotiated settlement of the festering Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Prominent among the speakers were Mr Islam himself, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central joint secretary Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, noted author and analyst Syed Arif Bahar and Mian Karimullah Qureshi of Muslim Conference. The South Asian challenges were interrelated and mutually reinforcing and needed settlement on a priority basis and in an integrated manner also because these had been directly or indirectly affecting the whole world, let alone this region, the speakers maintained. However, on top of these issues was the deep-rooted Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India which posed a serious threat to global peace due to the nuclearization of the two nations, they said. According to the speakers, because of the Kashmir dispute, the peacekeeping process had never been progressive as well as result oriented in the past because India had always used truce as a ploy to establish hegemony over Pakistan by manipulating the situation in the international arena. They regretted that India had always escaped from any initiative to resolve this issue, either through the UN Security Council resolutions or the mutual peace building processes with Pakistan. Pointing out unrelenting sacrifices by the people of Jammu Kashmir for actualization of their right to self determination, they lamented that while the UN accepted this very right of the Kashmiris, radical measures were never taken by the world body to pressurize India to hold a plebiscite or at least stop flagrant human rights violations in the occupied territory. The speakers noted that while India’s Aug 5, 2019 move had added more complexities to the long running Kashmir issue, the Kashmiris were also facing a serious problem of representation at the international forums to raise their voice as the key stakeholders so as to let the world know about the actual situation experienced by them. The speakers said post Aug 5, 2019 actions were not merely a serious violation of the UNSC resolutions, they were also the worst ever form of persecution and suppression of human beings and their fundamental rights. Such acts were a constant source of agony, pain and stress for the Kashmiri people, they said. Drawing attention towards the ghastly objectives of the extremist Hindutva ideology and biased mindset of present Indian leadership, the speakers emphasised upon the UN and other international human rights watchdogs and peace and justice loving organizations to force the Indian government to agree to the implementation of its pledges on the plebiscite on the one hand and immediate suspension of acts of suppression in the held territory on the other.