Wednesday, 29 October 2014
PRESS STATEMENT - Alliance formed to promote cause of oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir
Alliance formed to promote cause of oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir
Geneva 29 October 2014 Embargo till 1pm
1. Progressive and like minded people with forward looking approach on the thorny issue of Jammu and Kashmir gathered in Geneva, and after two days of deliberations agreed to announce an alliance called Jammu Kashmir International Peoples Alliance.
2. The first day Kashmiri delegates had a long meeting and after detailed discussions agreed on the Geneva Declaration and its mechanisms to promote the cause of people of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the announcement of the Alliance was made in the UN in Geneva in the presence of credible and active NGO members.
3. Among the key objectives of the JKIPA is to speak for all sections of the divided State of Jammu and Kashmir; and promote peace and tolerance, and help to create conducive environment where people of Jammu and Kashmir feel safe and can determine their future, as enshrined in the UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948.
4. The new Kashmiri Alliance enjoys support of many NGOs with consultative status with the UN Human Rights Council, and who understand the UN mechanism and play active role to promote cause of peace and fundamental rights of the oppressed people. These NGOs were present when the Alliance was officially announced in Geneva; and they assured the JKIPA of their support in promoting cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
5. The JKIPA also expressed its determination to unite the divided State, and establish a democratic and secular society where people belonging to different religions and ethnic groups can live in peace and harmony. JKIPA leaders said we believe in empowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir and oppose those who promote extremism, religious intolerance, violence and hatred.
6. JKIPA leaders present at the time of launch of this new Alliance stated that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed, as the accession with India was provisional; and in any case, government of India failed to honour all obligations assumed under the Provisional Accession. Furthermore, there was no instrument of accession with Pakistan either by the State Ruler or by areas illegally controlled by Pakistan, namely Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir.
7. They said our struggle is for all people of Jammu and Kashmir, and we want people of Jammu and Kashmir to be masters of their destiny. We people are the principal party to the dispute, and we should have the final say on the issue of the future status of Jammu and Kashmir.
8. JKIPA leaders said we can understand embedded interests of India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, but we do not concur with them; as our interests must be paramount to interests of our neighbours. We would like to have friendly and cordial relationship with all our neighbours and promote peace and stability in the region.
9. South Asia has a turbulent history where interests of many other countries also clash with the interests of countries of the region. We don’t want Jammu and Kashmir or South Asia to be a battleground for new cold war or new ‘Great Game’. We all have to live in South Asia and face challenges of 21st Century; and work together to counter threats of terrorism, violence and xenophobia.
10. JKIPA ascribes to the ideals of democracy and plural society, as we strongly believe in equal rights for all citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; and condemn all those who promote extremism, violence and terrorism.
11. We believe the Jammu and Kashmir dispute could not be resolved by use of force by any party; and previous armed conflicts support our contention. The way forward is to eliminate the gun culture, free people from oppression and intimidation, and create conducive environment where all parties to the dispute through a process of dialogue resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
12. JKIPA will closely work with civil societies of India and Pakistan to achieve the above objectives; and liaise with Think Tanks, the UN and other international bodies and governments with interest in promoting peace, tolerance and stability in South Asia.
13. Also JKIPA will endeavour to enhance peace and harmony among various ethnic and religious groups of Jammu and Kashmir State; and strengthen cultural identities of all groups.
14. The delegates present unanimously elected Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri Secretary General of JKIPA for two years.
15. JKIPA has established a Governing Body, which will be highest decision making organ of the alliance; and will consist of representatives of member parties and NGOs of the JKIPA. The political parties will have two representatives and the NGOs will have one representative.
16. The Governing Body consists of talented and experienced people with history of a long struggle for the unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir; and they expressed their strong resolve to continue their struggle.
The following parties and groups have committed to their struggle in light of the Geneva Declaration:
2. United Kashmir People National Party
3. Jammu and Kashmir Unity Forum
4. Kashmir Diaspora Youth Movement
5. Friends of Jammu and Kashmir
6. United Kashmir Thinkers Forum
7. Kashmiri Institute of Human Rights
8. International Overseas Association
9. South Asian Federation
10. Swiss Kashmir Association
11. Kashmiri Belgium Association
12. International Kashmiri Women Front
Newly elected Secretary General of JKIPA, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri thanked all the people present in the press briefing; and expressed his gratitude to constituent parties of the Alliance who trusted him and honoured him with this post. Shaukat Kashmiri said, ‘He will use his skills and talent to discharge his responsibilities sincerely, and advance the cause of the Alliance.
Secretary General JKIPA, Shaukat Kashmir
Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry on behalf of JKIPA