Kashmiris call for ‘roadmap’ on Indo-Pak peace initiative
SRINAGAR: Kashmiri separatists and intellectuals on Monday called on the international community to draw up a “roadmap” to resolve the Kashmir dispute, and asserted peace would elude the region until Kashmiris are involved in talks on a final settlement.
They were taking part in a one-day seminar on ‘The Kashmir problem and the responsibilities of the international community’ in Srinagar.
“The international community should prepare a roadmap to resolve the issue of Kashmir in consultation with India, Pakistan and Kashmiris,” said Umar Farooq, the former head of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC).
“Unless and until the international community takes an interest, the Kashmir dispute will never be resolved,” he said.
“Third party intervention or participation of assistance is a must,” Mr Farooq said, adding, “and why India is opposed to such a proposal I fail to understand.”
Bilal Lone, the son of slain moderate separatist Abdul Gani Lone, too, appealed for international intervention. “India and Pakistan are party to the dispute only because they lay claim to the territory and actually hold it in parts,” he said.
“I personally feel the international community should intervene, or at least facilitate or supervise the dialogue between India and Pakistan,” he said. “If that fails, the world community should resort to coercion to force parleys on the Kashmir issue.”
Another separatist, Muslim cleric Abbas Ansari, disagreed. “India and Pakistan will live in peace only when they resolve the issue of Kashmir by taking into account the wishes of the region,” he said.
He opposed the drafting of an international roadmap on Kashmir, such as that drawn up by the United States for Palestine. “There is no need for such a roadmap on Kashmir,” he said.
“Kashmiris living across the Line of Control (LOC) should be allowed to meet and chalk out what could be the best possible solution to the dispute,” he said.
Ved Bhasin, a leading intellectual from the region’s Hindu-dominated Jammu, said the solution to the issue of Kashmir must lay with the wishes of the people.
“Kashmir’s future has to be decided by Kashmiris and not by India and Pakistan. We are the only basic party,” he told an audience of more than 500. “If you want to achieve the goal of freedom, you have to continue the struggle, maintain unity and give a positive direction to the movement.”
He said separatists should not depend on the US or any other country for the “success of their cause”. “If you have to ask for help, ask it from the people of the world and not the respective governments ruling different countries,” he said.
Others called for end to Indian-rule. “We want an end to Indian occupation, followed by a plebiscite,” said Ali Mohammed of the Jamaat-e-Islami. “Let (the UN) come forward now and fulfil its commitment,” he said.
Yasin Malik, who heads the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), urged that a role be envisaged for separatists. “We want to ask those who have taken the initiative what is our role in this initiative. And if there is no role for us, how can you expect a breakthrough as we are the basic party?” —AFP