the-path-to-peace-in-kashmir-will-trump-be-pivotal

The Path To Peace In Kashmir: Will Trump Be Pivotal?

On behalf of the ‘World Kashmir Awareness’ and its members, sincere congratulations Mr. President-elect on your election as the 45th President of the United States of America. As you settled down to your new responsibilities, I would like you to know that the best wishes of Americans of Kashmiri origin are with you. We are a small community, but it is almost entirely made up of professional people.
 
In their struggle against the tyranny of foreign occupation and to regain their rights, the people of Kashmir look for support from world leaders of conscience and concern who stand for freedom, democratic rights and human dignity.
 
They realize that the natural sympathy for their cause and their suffering has been inhibited by the perception of the Kashmir problem as either a separatist issue or a territorial problem between India and Pakistan. The truth is that it is neither. The issue involved is first and foremost the issue of the self-determination of a people with a defined history and national character of their own, inhibiting a territory which belongs to neither India nor Pakistan. Their right to determine their future has been explicitly recognized by the United Nations as early as 1948. 
 
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (Republican) stated on February 5, 1957 that: “We continue to believe that unless the parties are able to agree upon some other solution, the solution which was recommended by the Security Council should prevail, which is that there should be a plebiscite (in Kashmir).”
 
Two characteristics that distinguishes Kashmir dispute from all other international disputes are that: One, here two main parties – India and Pakistan – agreed what should be the solution of the dispute and that would be a plebiscite under international  auspices. Both parties came to the United Nations, both parties accepted the  resolutions of the Security Council and then, when the United Nations sent its representatives to discuss the modalities of the plebiscite, India refused to cooperate. Second, it is the only region in the world which shares its border not only with two nuclear-armed rivals – India & Pakistan – but also with a third nuclear-armed nation, China.
 
Currently U.S. policy has led the Indian Government to believe that all it needs is some political maneuvering to dissipate foreign concern over the appalling situation in Kashmir. The Obama Administration at first showed some concern at least over the savagery of the Indian occupation in Kashmir. However, after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there seems to have been a tilt towards India. It is plausible that the tilt has been caused by the prospect of profitable American investments in that large country. As Americans, we appreciate the importance of expanding economic relations between the U.S. and India. But who knows it better than you as a global business leader that American investments in India will remain exposed to grave danger as long as the South Asian Subcontinent remains a scene of continuing strife, with the specter of war always in the horizon and a nuclear exchange not an impossibility. Even from a purely economic perspective, if not from concern over peace, genuine democracy and observance of human rights, the restoration of normalcy in South Asia deserves to be a policy goal for the world’s only superpower. The Kashmir dispute being the key cause of conflict, its marginalization can hardly serve long-term American interests.
 
The Kashmiri American community is conscience of the strength and extent of the Indian commercial market. We are also aware of the superstitious belief among some American liberal circles that India can do no wrong. We believe, however, that your unequivocal statement on October 15, 2016 that, “If we could get India and Pakistan getting along, I would be honored to do that. That would be a tremendous achievement … I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator” was both humane and pragmatic, and which responds to long-term interests of the U.S. and India alike. Such an initiative should gather bipartisan support that it so eminently deserves.
 
We do not visualize a settlement that would be unrealistic and resuscitate the State of Jammu & Kashmir as it existed in October 1947. But we do ask for a settlement that would be in accordance with the wishes of 20 million people of the State, impartially ascertained. The modalities for putting such a settlement in place can be worked out through negotiations between the parties concerned – Governments of India & Pakistan and the legitimate leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.
 
Denying Kashmir that right is a very dangerous game, particularly when the will for self determination has only grown stronger with the passage of time.  So we believe that your desire to mediate and bring the parties together is extremely valuable right now.  Our 44th President, President Obama while a candidate in 2008, also promised to help resolve this issue, but did nothing substantial or noteworthy to follow through after he became President. He went for the “deal”–the trade opportunities– but didn’t leverage it.   Rather than setting aside your commitments in favor of making important trade deals, it is clear that “linkage” in helping resolve conflicts is something you are quite familiar with which can be established and used to your advantage.  It is not just the peace and security of South Asia that is at stake but the peace, security and stability of the region of South Asia, including Afghanistan.  
 
This is a vital commitment. Peace and security are clearly dependent upon resolving this issue in a region where the nuclear option is always on the table.  President Ronald Reagan once said, “We do not deny any nation’s legitimate interest in security. But protecting the security of one nation by robbing another of its national independence and national traditions is not legitimate. In the long run, it is not even secure.”  
 
It’s very clear that Kashmir needs a strong and determined will and the genius of an imagination that has the negotiating skills and knows how to bring people together.  
 
Without reservation, it can be said that the person who becomes instrumental in resolving the issue of Kashmir – the bone of contention between the two very potentially dangerous countries – deserves not only the Nobel Peace Prize but also a special place in history. The resolution of the dispute will bring unparalleled honor to the one who help to achieve it. That honor could be yours, Mr. President-elect.  Your leadership in helping to settle the Kashmir dispute should not be seen to favor India or Pakistan but to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights.
Dr. Fai is the Secretary General of World Kashmir Awareness and can be reached at: 1-20-607-6435   or   gnfai2003@yahoo.com
mukalma-with-qudsiya-mashhadi-pakistans-film-industry-and-allama-iqbal

‘Mukalma’ with Qudsiya Mashhadi – Pakistan’s Film Industry and Allama Iqbal

Mukalma Episode 4 – Pakistan’s Film Industry and Allama Iqbal – 14-01-2017
Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi in conversation with Khurram Ali Shafique.
A Voice of East presentation.

نامور مورخ اور ماہر تعلیم خرم علی شفیق سے پاکستان کی فلم انڈسٹری اور علامہ اقبال کے آن لائن کورس پر پروگرام ‘مکالمہ’ میں قدسیہ مشہدی کی گفتگو

You can order the book Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times By Khurram Ali Shafique online through the courier service and website here: http://yayvo.com/waheed-murad-his-life-and-our-times-by-khurram-ali-shafique.html and www.waheedmurad.com.

You can join online course on Allama Iqbal by visiting www.marghdeen.com

confronting-the-kashmir-issue-will-guterres-meet-the-challenge

Confronting The Kashmir Issue: Will Guterres Meet The Challenge?

 
“The UN wasn’t created to take mankind into paradise, but rather, to save humanity from hell. ‘ Dag Hammarskjöld, 2nd Secretary General of the U.N.
 
May I take this opportunity to offer you, Mr. Antonio Guterres, on behalf of the ‘World Kashmir Awareness’ and its members sincere congratulations on your election as the ninth Secretary General of the United Nations. The unanimity of the Security Council is indicative of their wisdom in believing that you are an ideal candidate with the character, vision and talent to face the growing challenges in an ever-expanding global community.  
 
May I also be permitted at the same time to raise the tragic and unresolved question of Kashmir with you briefly. I would hasten to add that while we are fully aware of the multiplicity of issues that you will be devoting your time and attention to in the months to come, you may perhaps like to remember that Kashmir is not a new issue, having been in the agenda of and in the cognizance of the United Nations for nearly 70 years. Ironically, it is the only entity in the Sub-continent of South Asia, which has so far been denied the opportunity to determine its political future. This lapse, which represents a great historic injustice, deserves to be made up far.
 
Most impressive to us is a statement you made in your address to the United Nations General Assembly on April 4, 2016 when you pointed out that “It is widely recognized that there is no peace without development and no development without peace; it is also true that there is no peace and sustainable development without respect for human rights.”
 
Priorities can often be skewed in balancing these objectives, and we feel that this has been the case in overlooking the serious human rights violations that have occurred in disputed territory of Kashmir.  It is often suggested that if people had jobs, there wouldn’t be such turmoil and rebellion in the streets, but when the human rights of Kashmiris are so consistently violated that such suffering becomes the norm, our leaders seem to forget that the pain of losing one’s son to a bullet or having the honor of one’s mother or sister violated cannot be replaced with a job at an electronics factory. The cry for self-determination has become deep and immersed in a bitterness that has no substitute. 
 
As you have pointed out, all United Nations signatories decided to abide by its purposes, principles and provisions to “achieve international cooperation in solving international problems.” Kashmir has been and continues to be a major flashpoint between two nuclear-armed countries. This can never be, as India maintains, a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. This has an international dimension that deserves the attention of the U.N. and the global community.
 
The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights offered to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir in September 2016 during the height of the latest outbreak of violence, but India refused to permit this. What better time would there have been for a signatory to the United Nations Charter, pledging to uphold its highest principles, to have shown its commitment to international peace and to the special role the United Nations could have played in resolving this conflict?  Such a refusal makes a complete mockery of such commitments, democratic values and universal principles.
 
Such a fact-finding mission would probably fall under provisions of Article 40, Chapter VII of the Charter, and a failure to comply should have invoked Article 41. But the Security Council did not respond accordingly, clearly implying that the United Nations is not taking its responsibilities seriously. As you have so clearly stated, the United Nations “is the essential instrument of member States to confront common challenges, manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action, in an enduring quest for a peaceful, inclusive and sustainably developed world, in which international law and the dignity and worth of the human person are fully pursued.” If the United Nations does not assume such a responsibility, then whom can “those that are the most vulnerable, victims of conflict, terrorism, human rights violations and poverty” turn to? 
 
As a native of Portugal, you are no doubt familiar with the seizure of Goa in 1961, a state formerly part of the sovereignty of Portugal. There are similarities between India’s actions toward Goa and its current behavior toward Kashmir.  Portugal sought to secure a referendum in which the people of Goa would decide the fate of that state, when the issue arose over India’s claim to it. India instead used force to take it, despite international opposition to military alternatives.  Such is the case with Kashmir.  A plebiscite has been promised to the people of Kashmir since 1948, but through various ploys, India has not permitted it, and now claims that Kashmir is an integral part of India. 
 
Such a claim has prolonged and exacerbated the conflict between India and Pakistan, despite the fact that the United Nations has passed several resolutions in support of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. This is a matter that urgently needs intervention and resolution by international bodies. The alignment of states on both sides for and against India has serious global implications and poses the threat of another nuclear war.  We believe that as the new Secretary General that you will recognize as we do the importance of the United Nations in addressing this matter and its supreme urgency.
 
As you have so eloquently stated, “we need a surge in diplomacy for peace. Under the guidance of the Security Council and in accordance with the Charter, the Secretary General should actively, consistently and tirelessly exercise his good offices and mediation capacity as an honest broker, bridge builder and messenger of peace. Full use should be made of the Organization’s convening power, as a forum for dialogue, to ease tensions and facilitate peaceful solutions.”
 
There cannot be a better agency than the Secretary General of the United Nations himself to mediate or facilitate between the parties concerned. Secretary General has no ambition to assert dominance while as great powers do. Mediation by the Secretary General would be free from the jealousies and the ambitions that characterize individual initiative. The Secretary General will have to remain under no obligation to please any particular power or particular set of powers or groups. Yes, there will be resistance from India but if India is impressed with what she would gain by a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute, her negativity may not be insurmountable.
 
It is an impartial third party, especially of the eminence of the Secretary General that can fully convince India the benefits India would have from the just settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
 
Dr. Fai is the Secretary General of ‘World Kashmir Awareness’ and can be reached at:  1-202-607-6435  or gnfai2003@yahoo.com
deteriorating-middle-east-policy-options-for-arab-leaders

Deteriorating Middle East: Policy Options For Arab Leaders

By News Desk

It is no secret that Middle East is geopolitically as well as religiously a significant part of this world. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism have originated from this region. Three of Islam’s holiest sites are also located there and more than 317 million Muslims are currently living in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it is also one of the regions which are not stranger to conflicts and wars. In most of the conflicts, whether it is Iraq or Syria, Yemen or Libya, we are witnessing that mostly Muslims are fighting against their fellow Muslims.

Speakers of the round table discussion “Deteriorating Middle East: Policy Options for Arab Leaders” organized by MUSLIM Institute shared these views. Speakers included Senator Raja Zafar Ul Haq, Ambassador of Palestine Walid Abu Ali, Amb. (R)Ms. Fauzia Nasreen, Amb. (R) Ishtiaq H Andrabi, Maj. Gen (R) Raza Muhmmad, Amb. (R) Javed Hafeez, Amb (R) Afzal Akbar Khan, Amb. Dr Istvan Gyarmati (via video link), Amb. (R) Younis Khan, Dr. Muhammad Khan, Prof. Dr. Sulcuk Colakoglu (from Turkey through Video Link), Amb (R) Amir A Shadani and Dr. Yasir Malik.

Speakers further said that Middle East is burning and even if the colonial powers are responsible for creating the artificial existing borders, the Arab Leaders accepted those decisions. Today Muslims are responsible for fuelling the sectarian, political and ethnic differences in the region. Although the region has become a battleground for proxy warfare amongst world powers, the responsibility nonetheless lies with regional countries who have invited and facilitated the international players for such warfare.

Speakers highlighted contributing factors to the issue i.e. sectarian divide, Saudi-Iran Scenario, growing ethnicity, effects of Iran-Iraq war, Arab Spring, and the fight for the resources, especially for oil. US is gaining each day due to petro-dollar influence. Palestine issue is the most fundamental to the current turmoil of Middle East. There will be no durable peace in the region unless the Palestine issue is resolved.

We have to realise that these conflicts will result in a defeat for the Muslim Ummah as a whole. World powers are fighting to reshape politics and geography of the region for their own interests. In this situation, Arab leaders need to realise that regional interests are different from that of international players. The solution lies in regional harmony while analysing the situation in broader perspective. Continued turmoil in Middle East will ultimately be a loss for Muslims.

Plight of refugees is critical. Islamic countries should establish a fund to help countries hosting refugees and support them in providing refugees with basic necessities of life. Domestic and regional integration is inevitable for peace in the Middle East. Pakistan should stick to its policy of non-intervention. Sincerity of Muslim leadership and adoption of Islamic economic system is the only way forward for the solution of this burning issue. Pakistan government should invite gulf countries while allowing them to share their potential in China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC). Economic cooperation among regional countries and interdependency can bring peace in the region.

Emerging challenges require the need that we should promote moderate and peaceful image of Islam. Although, UN charter prohibits foreign interference yet we should be ready to counter foreign interference in any form. In this respect, our focus should be on our younger generation if we want to secure our future. Youth should think and act independently.

mukalma-with-qudsiya-mashhadi-kashmir-right-to-self-determination-5th-jan

‘Mukalma’ with Qudsiya Mashhadi – Kashmir Right to Self-Determination

Mukalma Episode 3 – Kashmir Right to Self-Determination – 05-01-2017
Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi in conversation with Kashmiri Activists Shaista Safi and Zaman Bajwa.
A Voice of East presentation.

کشمیری ایکٹوسٹ شائستہ صفی اور زمان باجوہ سے کشمیر کے حقِ خود ارادیت پر پروگرام ‘مکالمہ’ میں قدسیہ مشہدی کی گفتگو

promises-are-meant-to-be-broken-kashmir

Promises Are Meant To Be Broken – Proven Right For Kashmir At UN

By Zaman Bajwa

It was a historic day, when two leaders sat together for humanity. President of United States of America, Mr Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister of United Kingdom Mr Winston Churchill signed Atlantic Charter on 14, Aug, 1941. According to charter the nations, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.

Right after seven years of this charter, the Asian Sub-continent was divided into two countries, Pakistan and India, but the state of Jammu & Kashmir remains disputed between these two countries. A United Nations commission obtained acceptance on January 5, 1949 by both parties for a peace plan involving a cease fire, demilitarization of the state and referendum under the supervision of a United Nations appointed administrator. The Security Council recommended that the people of Jammu & Kashmir will have the right of self-determination to decide the future status of state. This resolution was negotiated with both India and Pakistan and accepted by five members of the commission.  The ceasefire was effective accordingly but the plan of demilitarization failed due to Indian stubbornness.

India disavowed from its commitment which was made in UN. Also forgot the promise of her Prime Minister Nehru with people of Kashmir on 2 Nov, 1947. Mr Nehru said, “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by people of Kashmir. That pledge we have given and the Maharaja supported it, not only to the people of Kashmir but to the World. We will not and can’t back out of it.”

India still occupies Kashmir with its 700,000 army and supportive agencies. The people of Kashmir are under continuous occupation and torture from the last 68 years. India is suppressing the voices of Kashmiris by different draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA.

During this time period, people of Kashmir tried different ways to convey their message. World witnessed uprisings in Kashmir in 2008, 2010 and latest one in 2016. Extra-judicial killing of social media activist Burhan Wani gave a new face to this movement. People are on streets for their basic human right of freedom.

India is using different inhumane ways to crush peaceful protesters who are demanding their right of freedom. Hundreds of people got injured and arrested by Indian occupation army. India is blinding people by using pellet guns and PAVA shells. Use of brutal force and inhuman acts forced human rights organization to speak about it. Major newspapers and media houses are talking about the situation in Kashmir. Physicians for Human Rights organization published a report on pellet guns and they declared India responsible for it.

Now the office of United Nations is handed over to a new Secretary General, Mr António Guterres, who gave a special message of peace on arrival of New Year. Mr António Guterres declared 2017 as year of peace in his message. People of Jammu and Kashmir are looking towards him and hoping that he will play his role to fulfil the promise of self-determination by India at United Nations.

mukalma-with-qudsiya-mashhadi-year-2016-in-review

‘Mukalma’ with Qudsiya Mashhadi – Year 2016 In Review

Mukalma Episode 2 – Year 2016 In Review – 31-12-2016
Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi in conversation with Tariq Ismail Sagar.
A Voice of East presentation.

پاکستان کے نامور تجزیہ نگار طارق اسماعیل ساگر سے 2016 میں ہونے والے اہم واقعات پر پروگرام ‘مکالمہ’ میں قدسیہ مشہدی کی گفتگو

You can order Tariq Ismail Sagar’s books by calling 0300-9468248

the-quest-for-peace-in-south-asia

The Quest For Peace In South Asia

By Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai

           “Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable.” John F. Kennedy
Peace has eluded Kashmir for more than 69 years, every since British sovereignty lapsed on August 15, 1947. The Government of India holds the decisive cards to end Kashmir’s convulsions and carnage on a genocidal scale. No peace formula worth its salt, however, depends on altruism or unselfishness sentiments to succeed. India will accede to the steps necessary for peace, i.e., permitting Kashmir’s sovereignty to be determined by the voice of its 20 million people (13 million in IOK), only if it perceives that such a bow to self-determination and international law and morality will strengthen its national and economic security.  That advocacy task is not fanciful, but can prevail if pursued with deftness and soft diplomacy.
           
Kashmir has been plagued by conflict since 1947 for a simple reason:  the denial of self-determination that has been enjoyed by countless other peoples in comparable circumstances, most recently in East Timor, Eritrea, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Southern Sudan.
           
In the meantime, life for Kashmiris has oscillated between grisly and gruesome.  Approximately 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces occupy Kashmir and de facto impose martial law as it has been now under curfew for more  than five months.
 
A free and fair plebiscite would show a commanding majority of the Kashmiri people in favor of independence. No impartial observer disputes that fact. In fact it was confirmed by a survey that was conducted by London-based Chatham House in May 2010.  If India believed its rule in Kashmir was by consent rather than by coercion, it would hold a plebiscite with alacrity, just as the United States routinely permits the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to vote for independence. In the latter case, independence has never garnered more than 4% of the ballots.  The converse would be true in Kashmir.  Accession to India would capture at most 4% of a plebiscite vote in the Vale of Kashmir.
           
Kashmir’s legal and moral case for self-determination is equal or greater than that of the United States when it declared independence in 1776 with a population of but 3 – 4 million. The American grievances against King George III were but trifles compared to the human rights inferno which afflicts Kashmir. The Declaration of Independence protests the maintenance of standing armies, the obstruction of beneficent laws, the denial of trial by jury, and for making the military superior to the civil power. Kashmiris, in contrast, suffer from those same grievances, plus the gruesome human rights violations amplified above. In sum, every American who defends the Revolutionary War against Great Britain is compelled by legal and human rights principles to champion self-determination in Kashmir.
           
Peace in Kashmir rides on two seemingly conflicting realities. Kashmir will be chronically convulsed until its sovereignty is determined in accord with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. A plebiscite conducted by the United Nations is one option on that score. Indeed, United Nations Security Council resolutions contemplate that method of self-determination. Contrary to what some have said, Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India. And it is not a dispute provoked by foreign infiltrators or extremists.  It is not a struggle between theocracy and secularism. Kashmir is every bit as much about self-determination as was East Timor or Southern Sudan in 1999 and 2011 respectively.
           
The second reality is that India holds 99% or more of the political and military cards in Kashmir.  No outside influence has exerted more than trivial direct influence over India’s Kashmir rule or diplomacy. For more than 69 years, the United Nations Security Council has not lifted a finger to enforce its plebiscite resolutions concerning Kashmir. Neither the United States nor NATO would risk a single soldier for Kashmiri self-determination.  Pakistan is no military match for India. Its alluring economy, nuclear arsenal, and importance in the war against international terrorism deter moral or other sanctions for India’s aggression and misrule of Kashmir. India’s superpower status in South Asia and global stature explains why progress towards peace in Kashmir has been zero for more than 69 years. All the periodic dancing and jousting between India and Pakistan have been at best sound and fury signifying nothing.
           
India will never budge from its intransigence over Kashmir, say some experts, until it perceives that its national and economic security would be strengthened, not weakened, by acceding to self-determination. That task of persuasion is no fool’s errand. An independent Kashmir would not create military or terrorist vulnerabilities for India. The Kashmir’s constitution might contain a no-war clause as in Article 9 of the Japanese constitution. It might prohibit a Kashmiri army, as in Costa Rica.  It could prohibit any foreign military bases or alliances, i.e., insist on permanent neutrality, as in the 1955 Austrian State Treaty. It could require Kashmir’s adherence to all international counter-terrorism conventions, including a corresponding extradition treaty with both India and Pakistan. These safeguards would make India more, not less secure from Kashmir dangers.
           
More important, Kashmir self-determination would eliminate the chief cause of India’s national security vulnerability. War with Pakistan would become fanciful and its military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir could be redeployed to the northeast or elsewhere to confront local secession. An independent Kashmir would not create a cascading dismembering of India. Its legal history is unique. And it speaks volumes that self-determination in East Timor, Eritrea, and Czechoslovakia did not occasion a spiralling disintegration of Indonesia, Ethiopia, or the Czech and Slovak republics.
           
India’s economy would also be uplifted by self-determination for Kashmir. Investment would climb because of greater political stability. India would save billions in slashed military expense. A free trade accord could be fashioned between India and an independent Kashmir to spur growth.
           
India would also be a candidate for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council if it acceded to a free and fair plebiscite on Kashmir. Its international stature would rise, like that of the United States after yielding the Panama Canal back to Panama. And Pakistan could offer a non-aggression guarantee if India permitted self-determination 13 million of Kashmir, a speck among India’s population of more than 1 billion.
           
In sum, a strong case can be made and should be made to India by the President-elect Trump that its security and stature would jump rather than fall by accepting a Kashmir plebiscite with reasonable constitutional safeguards. As President-elect has said that he would be honored to play a mediating role in addressing a ‘very, very hot tinderbox’ of Kashmir. It cannot be expected that India would act against its own perceived self-interests in Kashmir since no other country in the world has ever done so. 
           
During the time needed to persuade India of its enormous benefits from Kashmir self-determination, it should embrace measures calculated to alleviate the misery of Kashmiris and to diminish extremism. India should slash the number of its military and security personnel posted in Kashmir. Forces should be withdrawn completely from civilian inhabited areas, and bunkers there should be dismantled.  A seething siege mentality must be lifted from Kashmir to reduce bitterness and conflict.
           
Emergency legislation that places the civilian Kashmiri population at the disposal of India’s staggering military and paramilitary personnel should be repealed.  Illustrative are the Jammu & Kashmir Disturbed Area Act of 1990 and the Armed Forces Jammu & Kashmir Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1990.
           
All torture and extra-judicial killings by Indian forces should be unswervingly denounced and punished. All political prisoners should be released. As suggested by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on September 13, 2016, a UN fact finding mission should be granted access to Jammu and Kashmir to monitor and document the human rights landscape. All restrictions on peaceful political dissent or protest should be lifted. 
           
Kashmiri leadership who disavow violence in favor of a negotiated settlement should be permitted to travel abroad without hindrance. The Diaspora Kashmiri leadership should enjoy access and visas to visit Jammu and Kashmir.  Further, direct talks over the future of Kashmir should be commenced with all parties concerned – India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership – with a pledge that the final status of the territory will not diverge from the wishes of the Kashmiri people and an exploration of what dispensation in the territory would scrupulously honor India’s national security and economic needs. And India should renounce any intent to build a Berlin-like wall along the Cease-fire Line.
           
These unilateral gestures would not represent appeasement, but an enlightened understanding of India’s best interests in Kashmir. They would give heart to the peaceful forces in Kashmir, who believe that Kashmir is a political issue and needs to be resolved through peaceful negotiations.
           
The time for delusions over peace in Kashmir has long since expired.  All advocacy and intellectual energies must be directed towards showing India that its self-interests are allied to self-determination in Kashmir; and, that India’s acceding to self-determination would enable India to play its rightful role in the international diplomacy.
 
Dr. Fai is the Secretary General of World Kashmir Awareness. He can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435   or  gnfai2003@yahoo.com