Washington: “The meeting between Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and Mian Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan in New Delhi on May 27, 2014 offers hope for peace in South Asia if the course of justice is followed and both leaders undertake to abide by their international commitments. The people of Kashmir want the people of India and Pakistan to live in peace and prosperity. That is why they believe that Kashmir conflict has to be resolved not through military means but through peaceful tripartite negotiations between Governments of India and Pakistan & the people of Kashmir, stated Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness at Baltimore Convention Center.
Speaking on the topic of ‘Kashmir Dispute: Opportunities and Challenges “ to a large gathering during the 39th Annual Convention of ICNA-MAS, Fai said that this change in atmosphere will lead to the use of friendlier language in relations between the two governments. The change reflects only partly the warm, spontaneous exchanges at the popular level which have blown away the perverse thesis, sometimes muttered even by foreign powers, that hostility between the two peoples is innate and can never be eradicated.
“It is a fact that peace, amity, and harmony between India and Pakistan will open vistas of opportunities to shift resources to domestic development. It is also a fact that the nuclear capabilities of the South Asian nations heighten their responsibility to avoid conflict that could conclude with a gruesome mushroom cloud. The persistence of Kashmir problem has been a source of weakness for both India and Pakistan. It has diminished both these neighboring countries. So long as Kashmir is in turmoil, India and Pakistan will be at loggerheads and economic investment and trade relations will be inconsequential.”
Fai proposed that now is an opportune moment for both India and Pakistan to defuse the present situation and promote stability throughout the region. Both prime Ministers should understand that any attempt to strike a deal between two without the association of the third, will fail to yield a credible settlement. The contemporary history of South Asia is abundantly clear that bilateral efforts have never met with success. Both leaders should take an active role in finding a lasting settlement on Kashmir. It is obvious that no settlement can last if it is not based on justice to the people of Kashmir and recognition of their inherent rights. Only then can the crisis in South Asia and the possible disastrous consequences be averted.
The essential guiding principles of the negotiating process must be not to answer what is the correct or best solution of the Kashmir problem but how that solution can be arrived at. In other words, it should by itself neither promote nor preclude any rational settlement of the dispute, be it accession to India or Pakistan or independence. Rather than seek to impose a settlement on Kashmir, it should engage the peoples of each region of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir to work out a settlement themselves without any external constraint.
“We do not need to invoke principles because principles will not help us launch a peace process. Principles can be easily twisted and the principles can lend themselves to different interpretations. But the principles that are involved in the Kashmir dispute should remain the guiding force in any final settlement. What are these principles? There are two: It is the inherent right of the people of all zones of the State of Jammu & Kashmir to decide their future according to their own free will and second principle is that it is impossible to ascertain that will except through a vote under impartial supervision in conditions which are free from external coercion, intimidation and compulsion.”