Thursday, 29 May 2008

Pakistan has no right to speak on behalf of Kashmiris.

Pakistan has no right to speak on behalf of Kashmiris.
Dr Shabir Choudhry

On behalf of JKLF I welcome India and Pakistan’s determination to resolve all disputes including the Kashmir dispute through "sustained and serious" dialogue. I also welcome Pakistani Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Masood Khan’s statement in which he speaks against extremism which ‘generates hatred and is opposed to diversity’; and that his commitment was to establish a society which has ‘moderation and peace’.

But I strongly protest against his statement in which he said, "What satisfies Islamabad will ultimately satisfy the Kashmiris". Dr Choudhry said what satisfies Islamabad does not always satisfies even Pakistanis of Sind, Balochistan and Frontier, how could it satisfies us Kashmiris who are not legally and constitutionally part of Pakistan.

We have not appointed Pakistan to represent Kashmiris as an advocate. Pakistan is a party to the dispute by its de facto position in Kashmir, and as a party to the dispute Pakistan could only speak and protect its own interests; and cannot speak on behalf of third party because of conflict of interest.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, it is only logical that Pakistan will protect its own interests on the negotiation table, and interest of the Kashmiri people will be secondary to Pakistani officials; and it is because of this we demand that we must have a seat on the negotiating table that we can present our case and fight our corner to preserve Kashmiryat and Kashmiri interests.
JKLF leader said we are the main party to the dispute, and it is the people of Kashmir who have suffered for the past 57 years. This suffering must come to an end, as people could not continue to suffer indefinitely.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, we have been let down by every one- India and Pakistan let us down because it was in their national interest to either get all of Kashmir or get maximum territory with little care for the people of Kashmir. Important members of the International Community also let us down in order to safeguard their strategic and national interests; but worse was the let down by the Kashmiri leadership. For their petty personal interests and self aggrandisement, they let us down in 1940s, and unfortunately this process has continued till today; and now some leaders have made the Kashmir struggle in to a commercial enterprise.

JKLF leader said people of Kashmir deserve peace and honour. It is not ordained that they have to be forcibly separated and deprived of their basic human rights. In order to have self respect and dignity we need freedom, peace, political and economic stability. We cannot achieve above goals if there is constant threat of war and culture of violence and fear prevails.
We have to create conditions under which the process of dialogue could continue and people could express their will without fear of intimidation. Violence generates more violence and is not right method to bring peace and harmony in the region. END

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