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Published:November 2nd, 2010 09:26 EST
Dr. Fai Says President Obama`s Visit to India May Prove Historic

Dr. Fai Says President Obama`s Visit to India May Prove Historic

By SOP newswire2

The visit to India by President Barack Obama may well prove truly historic if it begins to move the Kashmir dispute towards a genuine settlement. It has been most unfortunate that, since the beginning of the resistance in Kashmir in 1989, India has taken full advantage of US policy, regardless of the intent of that policy. Pronouncements to the effect that India and Pakistan must settle the dispute bilaterally have been taken by Indian policy-makers as endorsement of their stand. They may not like the balancing statement that the US regards the whole of Kashmir as disputed territory but they regard it as immaterial " said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center while releasing the petition today, entitled, Tragic Situation in Kashmir Demands the Urgent Attention of President Obama ". The petition has been signed by more than 4,500 people all over the world.

Dr. Fai said that Kashmiri Americans have faith that, under the leadership of President Obama, the United States policy towards Kashmir will be shaped not by the relative strategic value to the U.S. of India or Pakistan but by the principles of a just and durable peace. We also hope that the United States will not continuance any attempt to ignore the wishes of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and by pass the expression of those sentiments.

The petition reads, We, the undersigned, have been deeply moved by reports of almost the entire population of major towns in Kashmir coming out in the streets and staging demonstrations for exercising their right of self-determination. We take this massive, spontaneous, indigenous and peaceful upsurge as an unmistakable expression of resentment by Kashmiris against the neglect of the human tragedy caused by the international community`s failure to resolve the dispute concerning the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. We also view this as yet another indication of the yearning by Kashmiris for an amicable settlement of dispute so they can live in peace and prosperity. "

The petition reminds President Obama, who rightly observed that the key role the United States can play in resolving the Kashmir issue was to facilitate better understanding between Pakistan and India. Resolving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan is very likely, as President Obama has articulated on several occasions, eliminate the raison d`être for militant extremism in South Asia, and will address the root cause of the arms race between India and Pakistan.

The petition says that Kashmir continues to bleed. We see the horrendous brutality, unstopped and unpunished barbarities unleashed against the defenseless population. A deliberate, systematic and officially sanctioned massive campaign of brutal oppression launched against the people of Kashmir is still on the increase. The killings of unarmed, defenseless civilians in July 2010 quickly escalated into a frenzy of revolt against India. There is a deliberate targeting of youth in flimsy hopes to crush a legitimate and popular uprising against occupation. The gravity of the situation in Kashmir can only be imagined but not explained. Whatever be the level of violence committed by over 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces, the far more important and poignant aspect of the situation is the acute suffering of the whole population caused by frequent curfews, disruption of normal life, arrest and detention of innocent civilians by the occupation authority. This is a situation without precedent in the South Asian subcontinent. "

The petition warns that Far from seeking to rectify its atrocious human rights record, India has legalized its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. It has given its forces powers to shoot to kill and the license to abuse the people of Kashmir in whatever ways they like in order to suppress the popular movement for basic human rights and human dignity. Words can only cheapen the acute grief and afflictions experienced by the entire Kashmiri population. Every person has one or more tales of weeping and sobbing to recount. And their pain is compounded by the silence and indifference of the international community. Despite the faint murmur of protest by the international community and an occasional report in the world press, India has felt no pressure whatsoever to desist from its genocidal campaign. As long as the international community allows India to hide its atrocities in Kashmir, there would be no end to the ever-increasing gross and consist violations of human rights in that unfortunate land. "

The petition suggests that If a response to the gravity of the situation is intended, we firmly believe that the following measures are essential: This can be done by: a). The immediate and complete cessation of military and para-military actions against the civilian population in Jammu & Kashmir; b). Withdrawal of the military presence from towns and villages; c). Dismantling of bunkers, watch towers and barricades; d). Releasing of all political prisoners; e). Annulling various special repressive laws; and f). Restoring the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations. "

The petition urges President Obama that his personal involvement in this matter will bring its influence to bear on both India and Pakistan to initiate a peace with which the United Nations as well as the people of Jammu & Kashmir will be associated so as to ensure that settlement arrived at will be based on the principles of justice.

Dr. Fai reiterated that an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir would go a long way to hasten the process of peace and stability in the region of South Asia " home to one fifth of total human race.

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Statement
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai
Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council
Chutney Restaurant, Springfield, Virginia
October 30, 2010

On the eve of the visit to India by President Barack Obama which may well prove truly historic if it begins to move the Kashmir dispute towards a genuine settlement. Americans of Kashmiri origin beg to submit to President Obama that it has been most unfortunate that, since the beginning of the resistance in Kashmir in 1989, India has taken full advantage of US policy, regardless of the intent of that policy. Pronouncements to the effect that India and Pakistan must settle the dispute bilaterally have been taken by Indian policy-makers as endorsement of their stand. They may not like the balancing statement that the US regards the whole of Kashmir as disputed territory but they regard it as immaterial.

Between India`s insistence that a settlement must be within the four corners of the Indian constitution " and Pakistan`s demand that it must be based on the international agreement embodied in the UN Security Council resolutions, there cannot be a meeting point which the two governments can find by themselves. Neither can disentangle itself from the massive under growth of the dispute. There needs to be a third way which neither admits nor challenges any claim or proposition on the question of sovereignty over Kashmir nor on the desirability or otherwise of the partition or reunification of the State. Both these questions need to be set aside if the dispute is to be put on the road to a settlement.

Equally distressing has been the reported canvassing by some quarters in Indian establishment of the idea of autonomy for Kashmir with the Indian Union. Kashmiri leadership has the support of mass opinion for its stand that this is totally unacceptable as (i) it would be liable to revision or repeal by the Indian legislature, with or without a change of Administration: (ii) most importantly, it would not be incorporated in an international treaty or agreement with the expressed support of all states neighboring Kashmir as well as the permanent members of the Security Council.

There exist apprehensions that, whether on account of its internal weakness or under external pressure, Pakistan will be forced to dilute its stand on Kashmir. If this happens, it will not end the dispute because Kashmiris will not consent to rule by a power that has visited death and destruction on them to brutalize them into submission.

The element that has been missing in efforts toward a settlement is the political representation of Kashmiris. There is no way to provide this on a principled basis except by election in Kashmir under impartial control and supervision. This would enable all the different ethnic communities and zones in Kashmir to elect representatives who in turn will appoint a team or teams with the mandate to negotiate a settlement with both India and Pakistan and to manage the transitional phase in the State. No drastic overhaul of the existing administrative machinery will be required to initiate this phase. But the removal of the military and para-military troops from towns and villages and freedom of movement of State subjects between the two parts will be pre-requisite.

We have faith that, under the leadership of President Obama, the United States policy towards Kashmir will be shaped not by the relative strategic value to the U.S. of India or Pakistan but by the principles of a just and durable peace. We also hope that the United States will not continuance any attempt to ignore the wishes of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and by pass the expression of those sentiments.

We trust that President Obama during his forthcoming visit to India will bring its influence to bear on both India and Pakistan to initiate peace process with witch the United Nations as well as the people of Jammu and Kashmir will be associated so as to ensure that settlement arrived at will be based on the principle of justice.

We also believe that an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir will go a long way to hasten the process of peace and stability in the region of South Asia " home to one fifth of total human race.


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Petition
"Tragic Situation in Kashmir Demands Urgent Attention of President Obama"
October 30, 2010

Hon. President Barak Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W Washington, D.C. 20500. Hon. President Obama. We, the undersigned, have been deeply moved by reports of almost the entire population of major towns in Kashmir coming out in the streets and staging demonstrations for exercising their right of self-determination. We take this massive, spontaneous, indigenous and peaceful upsurge as an unmistakable expression of resentment by Kashmiris against the neglect of the human tragedy caused by the international community`s failure to resolve the dispute concerning the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. We also view this as yet another indication of the yearning by Kashmiris for an amicable settlement of dispute so they can live in peace and prosperity.

As you have rightly observed, the key role the United States can play in resolving the Kashmir issue was to facilitate better understanding between Pakistan and India. Resolving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan is very likely, as you have articulated on several occasions, eliminate the raison d`être for militant extremism in South Asia, and will address the root cause of the arms race between India and Pakistan.

But today, Kashmir continues to bleed. We see the horrendous brutality, unstopped and unpunished barbarities unleashed against the defenseless population. A deliberate, systematic and officially sanctioned massive campaign of brutal oppression launched against the people of Kashmir is still on the increase. The killings of unarmed, defenseless civilians in July 2010 quickly escalated into a frenzy of revolt against India. There is a deliberate targeting of youth in flimsy hopes to crush a legitimate and popular uprising against occupation.

The gravity of the situation in Kashmir can only be imagined but not explained. Whatever be the level of violence committed by over 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces, the far more important and poignant aspect of the situation is the acute suffering of the whole population caused by frequent curfews, disruption of normal life, arrest and detention of innocent civilians by the occupation authority. This is a situation without precedent in the South Asian subcontinent.

Far from seeking to rectify its atrocious human rights record, India has legalized its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. It has given its forces powers to shoot to kill and the license to abuse the people of Kashmir in whatever ways they like in order to suppress the popular movement for basic human rights and human dignity. Words can only cheapen the acute grief and afflictions experienced by the entire Kashmiri population. Every person has one or more tales of weeping and sobbing to recount. And their pain is compounded by the silence and indifference of the international community. Despite the faint murmur of protest by the international community and an occasional report in the world press, India has felt no pressure whatsoever to desist from its genocidal campaign. As long as the international community allows India to hide its atrocities in Kashmir, there would be no end to the ever-increasing gross and consist violations of human rights in that unfortunate land.

If a response to the gravity of the situation is intended, we firmly believe that the following measures are essential:

This can be done by:
a. The immediate and complete cessation of military and para-military actions against the civilian population in Jammu & Kashmir;
b. Withdrawal of the military presence from towns and villages;
c. Dismantling of bunkers, watch towers and barricades;
d. Releasing of all political prisoners;
e. Annulling various special repressive laws; and
f. Restoring the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations.

We trust that your personal involvement in this matter will bring its influence to bear on both India and Pakistan to initiate a peace with which the United Nations as well as the people of Jammu & Kashmir will be associated so as to ensure that settlement arrived at will be based on the principles of justice.
We also believe that an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir will go a long way to hasten the prospect of peace and prosperity in the region of South Asia.


With profound regards,
Yours sincerely,
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai
(undersigned)