Tuesday, 27 May 2008

We must promote a Kashmiri interest, Dr Shabir Choudhry

We must promote a Kashmiri interest, Dr Shabir Choudhry
19 September 2007

People of Jammu and Kashmir must think and act as Kashmiris and should not promote national interest of either India or Pakistan, said Dr Shabir Choudhry in a seminar held at the UN Human Rights Council building in Geneva. This Seminar was organised by Interfaith International and the title was: Towards a confederation of Peoples in South Asia, and the Seminar was moderated by Dr Charles Graves.

Many writers, scholars and political activists from various nationalities and from different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds took part in the debate which included, Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri, Abbas Butt, Amjad Yousaf, Faiz Naqashbandi, Dr Riaz Punjabi Professor Warikoo, Altaf Wani, Tahira Khan, Shagufta Ashraf, PaualBesserman, Dr Awtar Singh Sekhon, Mr Kaul and many more from Kashmir, India, Sri Lanka, Italy and other parts of Europe.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘we must promote a Kashmiri interest and must not become tools in hands of India and Pakistan to further their national interest’. In a response to some points made by other speakers, he said, both governments have to share for misery and suffering of the Kashmiri people. It would be wrong to shift blame on to one party when both governments have territorial interests in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘how unfortunate that both countries soon after getting independence activated their plans to occupy state of Jammu and Kashmir and deprive people of Kashmir getting their independence’. He further said, ‘human rights should be for all and we must not be selective in condemning human rights. We must oppose and condemn human rights abuse on both sides of the LOC, in other parts of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka or Bangla Desh.

He said, ‘the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed and we cannot say that only one part is disputed. We must talk of Kashmir as one political unit and future of the entire state must be decided by the people who should have the final say in this matter. India and Pakistan cannot decide our future by having bilateral talks. We must be part of the process that we can have say in this matter.

He said people talk about implementation of UN resolutions and demand that they should get right of self – determination promised in those resolutions. Dr Shabir Choudhry clarified that the UN resolutions only gave people of Jammu and Kashmir a right of accession- giving them a right to become either Indian or Pakistan, and that is not right of self - determination.

He said, those who cry out for implementation of UN resolutions need to understand that it was Pakistan who first refused to withdraw her troops from areas of the State under its occupation. After complete withdrawal from this side, India had to withdraw a ‘bulk’ of its troops followed by a plebiscite. Since Pakistan never vacated those areas in accordance with the demand of the UN resolutions no progress was made on demilitarisation, hence no plebiscite.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said ‘we must be honest with our selves and must not twist historical facts to suit our political interests’.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, it is not appropriate that India and Pakistan talk on our behalf, and later on tell their selected people on both sides of LOC what they have done in our name. If they are well- wishers of the people then they must think what is best for the people and not what is in the interest of these countries. END

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