Thursday, 29 May 2008

A letter to Tony Blair Prime Minister of Britain

A letter to Tony Blair Prime Minister of Britain
10 Downing Street

13 July 1999
Dear Tony Blair
Re: Kargil and Kashmir Dispute

While the attention of the world is focussed on the peaks of the Kargil, tens of thousands of Kashmiri civilians along the Line of Actual Control are uprooted from their homes. No matter who controls those heights and who has more fire power, the fact remains that it is the Kashmiri people whom are suffering on both sides of the border.

Whereas the control and vacation of peaks in Kargil appears to be the main concern of the world community, the real issue is not the Kargil but Kashmir dispute itself. Who knows better than the British government that the situation on the LOC and in Kargil is the off shoot of the Kashmir problem, which can lead to a nuclear war in South Asia. So it is imperative that the core issue of Kashmir is resolved according to the declared wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Sir, your leading role in the Kosovo crises is highly commendable, and we the British Kashmiris expect you to do the same for the people of Kashmir. I do not need to remind you that the Kashmir dispute is the legacy of the British Empire, and it is the moral duty of Britain to help and solve it.

It may appear that Washington has insinuated itself the role of a mediator, and has edge over other countries in influencing India and Pakistan, but we believe that Britain still has an important role to play in this. Because of her imperial past, know how and experience in dealing with India and Pakistan, Britain can take initiative and help to resolve the Kashmir dispute through the process of negotiations. In doing so we expect you to be mindful of the following:

 The Kashmir dispute is not a territorial dispute between the two nuclear contestants, and future of the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir is to be determined by the people;
 The people of Kashmir are not party to any pact or agreement between India and Pakistan, and must not be compelled to accept any decision reached by them bilaterally;
 War can only bring destruction and misery to the region and aggravate the matters related to Kashmir, therefore all disputes including the core issue of Kashmir must be resolved through a process of dialogue;
 Recognised leadership of the Kashmiri people must be part of the negotiations on Kashmir to find a viable and practical solution.

I hope you will pay attention to our request and use your good offices to influence both India and Pakistan to find amicable solution to the Kashmir dispute.

I look forward to hearing from you with regard to the above.

Yours sincerely

Shabir Choudhry
On behalf of the British Kashmiris and the Kashmiris held hostage in South Asia.

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