Islamabad: A delegation of journalists, experts and social activists visited the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) on Tuesday – November 21, 2017 to attend a seminar on Kashmir and Pakistan’s options moving forward.
Dr. Nazir Gilani, President of London-based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) who specializes in the jurisprudence of UN resolutions and Kashmir case, and Justice (R) Syed Hussain Manzoor Gilani, Chairman Association for the Rights of People of J&K, member Council of Islamic Ideology of Pakistan (CII) were the chief speakers at the event.
Other participants included former IG Police Dr. Shoaib Suddle, former Ambassador Qazi Humayun, senior journalists Mr. Syed Faisal Shakeel, Mr. Tarique Siyal, Mr. Amaad Khalique, renowned human rights activist Ms. Tahira Abdullah, Zahoor Ahmed Mir and Sabzar Bashir – Advocate at High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar. Dr. Muhammad Faisal, spokesperson for the Foreign Office, was also in attendance.
CRSS was represented by Executive Director Mr. Imtiaz Gul, Beyond Boundaries Track 1.5/II Project Director Mr. Aized Ali and Director Communications and Strategy Mr. Zeeshan Salahuddin. Mr. Imtiaz Gul welcomed all the participants and let the floor open for discussion after brief introductory remarks about the workshop and chief guests. Mr. Zeeshan Salahuddin moderated the session.
It was discussed that Pakistan ought to project Azad Kashmir to the international community as a model for Jammu and Kashmir, probably with the extension of more autonomy to the state of Azad Kashmir. Pakistan has failed to play it cards effectively due to its own internal political instability and stagnant economic performance in the recent years. Islamabad also failed to take up the brutal civilian killings and especially political isolation of youth on the international front effectively. Regrettably, the UN is obligated to resolve the Kashmir issue in the conformity of its own resolutions, creating a sense of indifference. This is widening the trust deficit Kashmiri people have in the international community.
On the other side, Indian stance is that they want peace and order returned to the valley. India also opines that plebiscite may hold under the international auspices after establishing peace and order in the valley. However, they failed to do so. New Delhi has failed to protect the lives, honor and property of people. India has three pledges to fulfill: 1) with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, 2) with Pakistan and 3) with the UN, putting itself under the weight of its own unfulfilled promises.
On the contrary, Pakistan is in very strong and comfortable position; providing the people of Azad Kashmir a better system of governance and living standard, until UN resolutions are met. The prevailing situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) with regards to human rights violations by the Indian security forces, despite the comprehensive reports by different human rights groups, regrettably have gone overlooked by the international community and the global powers, because in the unfolding global crescendos they are looking at the developments in this region through the prism of their own strategic interests, rather than showing commitment and sincerity of purpose.
The seminar ended with a lengthy Q&A session with members of the audience.
It was discussed that ultimately, this is a complex issue that needs dialogue between the two countries. Unfortunately, India is refusing to talk, creating a false sense of stalemate. When India finally comes to the table, it will seem like they have offered a great concession, when instead, they have only opened the lines of communication on their end. In this situation, Pakistan needs to showcase AJK as a model territory, and stick to the UN parameters to maintain their legitimacy and standing.