It would have helped if?
By Syed Nazir Gilani – Jurist and President Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Council, London
The first six-nation Speakers Conference on Sunday 24 December 2017 adopted a 29-point Islamabad Declaration of partnership for regional peace, development and connectivity.
The Conference, was convened on the initiative of Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
It was attended by the speakers of Wolesi Jirga of Afghanistan Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Ismail Kahraman, Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran Dr Ali Ardeshir Larijani, National Assembly of China, Russian Federal Duma with their respective parliamentary delegations.
Kashmir featured as item 19 in the list of 29 items slated in the Islamabad Declaration.
The conference recognized that peace was a prerequisite for achieving development and promoting connectivity among the countries and respective regions, agreeing on the need for more engagement and dialogue among the Parliaments, government and the people.
Speakers Conference agreed that for ensuring global and regional peace and stability, the issue of Jammu & Kashmir needs peaceful resolution by Pakistan and India in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions.
Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is of Kashmir origin (Sheikh family). He succeeded to prevail upon the reluctant Afghanistan, Iran and Russia and earned their support to include Kashmir in the declaration.
It would have been ideal if a Kashmiri delegation from various disciplines of society had been facilitated to meet the delegations from 6-nations, in particular Russia, to convey that Kashmiris are suffering because of the Russian veto used at the UN Security Council.
People of Kashmir have an ongoing grievance against Russia for using a Veto against the basic right of self-determination. It may be that Russia used the veto against American influence at that point.
We have a new Russia in 2017 and onwards. Lodging this grievance would have helped us in the future. There is an urgent need that Pakistan facilitates the people of Kashmir to open a dialogue with Russia.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also hosted 16 ambassadors on Sunday. A Kashmiri delegation should have been facilitated for a brief input. Every minute and every input counts.