The World Kashmir Diaspora Alliance (WKDA) and Kashmir Council-EU (KC-EU) has issued a joint statement today, 18th of September 2013, in Brussels during a press conference held at Brussels Press Club.
Farooq Papa who heads WKDA and Ali Raza Syed, chairman of KC-EU expressed their resolve to continue to work for awareness amongst international community, about the injustice and human rights abuses in Kashmir committed by Indian forces.
The two leaders who have been highlighting the cause of Kashmir in Europe and North America expressed concerns over the Indian policy of making demographic changes in Kashmir by the influx of Indian residents especially from the Indian state of Bihar and allowing them to settle without regulatory oversight and laws. This practice of implementing the Indian policy is being guarded by huge military presence in the civilian areas, cities and towns. Such practices are in contravention to the various UN resolutions on Kashmir, which safeguards any demographic changes on both sides of LOC.
Farooq Papa said that Pakistan who is a party to the dispute of Kashmir should have taken notice of such Indian practices in Kashmir and raised the issue with both international community as well as India through their diplomatic channels. It is unfortunate, Farooq Papa added, that such realisation by a party to the dispute has not been forthcoming.
Replying to a question, Ali Raza Syed said that 70% of Kashmir’s land outside the main cities and towns has become inaccessible to Kashmiri people who are indigenous to the land. Because of the presence of Indian army who have grabbed the land from their rightful owners under coercion, Kashmiris cannot benefit from their resources. Such acts are again in contravention to the article 1 of Universal Declaration of Civil and Political Rights, which states that “all people have right to pursue their economic, social and cultural goals”, and “manage and dispose of their own resources and not be deprived of its means of subsistence”. This article imposed an obligation on those parties still responsible for self governing or trust territories (colonies) to encourage and respect their self-determination”. As such, the demilitarization is an essential part for peace in Kashmir.
Replying to a question, Farooq Papa said that India and Pakistan have not matured enough to a status wherein one would expect them to develop a roadmap for peace between them. Despite many parleys between the two countries in almost all decades, both countries have put aside the humanistic approach that surrounds the issue, while pursuing their geo-political and national egos and interests.
He further said that till such time these two countries come to realize the importance of resolving Kashmir issue, Kashmiris themselves have to find the way out of continued suppression by dialogue and peaceful means so that the people of Kashmir can progress alongside other nations in the Sub-Continent.
Taking into cognizance of above, the WKDA and KC-EU heads stated that they were going to work on pro-Kashmiri declaration, which will be issued after having an in-depth interaction between Kashmiri separatists and mainstream leaders of divided parts of Kashmir. This summit, which is proposed to be held in Brussels (Europe) and Niagra Falls (border city between Canada and USA), will be termed as Niagra Declaration. The Declaration is aimed to provide a roadmap for governance, secession of draconian laws, economic growth, and environmental conservation of Kashmiri forests, water bodies and wild life. The declaration will also aim at preserving the cultural heritage and creating opportunities for employment by direct foreign investment and development of infrastructure, which at present Kashmir is lacking behind.
“We appeal both to India and Pakistan to support our initiative by allowing the leadership from both sides of the line of control to travel abroad. We also appeal to the European Union, United States and Canada to support this initiative by the people of Kashmir. In the end, we appeal to Kashmiri diaspora and Indian and Pakistani people living outside Sub-Continent to provide their support by way of volunteer work and sponsorships. The details of this initiative will be subsequently will be provided on www.worldkashmir.org and www.ichd.eu