Thursday, 29 May 2008

Japanese academics meet Dr Shabir Choudhry

We want democratic, stable and economically strong Pakistan, Dr Shabir Choudhry tells Japanese academics.

London 13 August 2007
Dr Shabir Choudhry

Two academics from universities in Japan interviewed Dr Shabir Choudhry and discussed about various aspects of the Kashmiri history, struggle and politics. The two member delegation consisted of Takako Hirose, Professor in South Asian Politics at the Senshu University and Toru Ito, Associate Professor of political science and international relations at the University of Shimane.

It is a joint project of both Universities and Professor Takako Hirose is the Head of the project, and aim is to find out more about Kashmir dispute by taking a Kashmiri perspective in to consideration and especially role of Kashmiri Diaspora.

Dr Shabir Choudhry in a four hour discussion which took place in the London office of International Kashmir Alliance, explained details of the Kashmiri history, position of Jammu and Kashmir under the British Raj, Partition of India and subsequent forced division of the State. He explained in detail what happened at the time of partition and how Azad Kashmir came in to being and what roles were played by rulers of Pakistan and India. He explained how puppet governments were set up on both sides of the Cease fire line and how areas of Gilgit and Baltistan were taken away by Pakistan to be ruled directly by Islamabad.

Dr Shabir Choudhry told them that we strongly believe there is no military solution to the Kashmir dispute, and the only way forward is to keep on talking to each other by having some Kashmir centric CBMs. He said India and Pakistan cannot decide our future, and people of Jammu and Kashmir must be made part of the process as they have a final say about their future.

He said our struggle is for united and independent Kashmir. We also want to continue our struggle against extremism, communalism and hatred. We want democratic, stable and economically strong Pakistan which will help to have peace and stability in South Asia, and we need to see the Kashmir dispute in South Asian context as peace in the region depends on the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

As professors in South Asian politics Professor Takako Hirose and Toru Ito were very knowledgeable about different issues related to South Asia, but they acknowledged that certain aspects of the Kashmiri history and struggle were not known to them. They said the meeting has enriched their knowledge and understanding on the subject, and agreed that they did not view Kashmir from the perspective of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Japanese academics agreed that what was available to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the UN resolutions was not self – determination, but a right of accession to one or the other country. They also agreed that the ground reality has changed since these resolutions were passed, and that people of Jammu and Kashmir should be allowed to exercise their right of self determination.

Both academics showed great interest in the formation of the JKLF and its subsequent divisions, and impact these splits had on the Kashmir struggle. They particularly enquired about JKLF relationship with the Pakistani agencies, especially when the militancy started in 1988.

Professor Takako Hirose said they found Dr Shabir Choudhry’s presentation ‘most interesting’ and that they were ‘highly impressed by Dr Shabir Choudhry’s enthusiasm about freedom of Kashmir and also his integrity’. END

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