Solution of Kashmir issue is vital for peace: Gilani

February 7, 2009

ISLAMABAD (APP) -- Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani while stressing the need to resolve lingering Kashmir dispute said Thursday this dispute is central to Pakistan-India relations and holds the key not only to regional but also to global peace.

“The world powers have, once again, reiterated their concern on the centrality of this festering dispute to the peace efforts and called for its early resolution. We fully support, and indeed encourage, international efforts to this end.
“We also believe that no solution of the issue can be durable if it does not reflect the genuine aspirations and wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiris should therefore be associated with the dialogue process”, Gilani said while addressing the Kashmir Convention held here at PNCA auditorium in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Renowned Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik, Chairman Kashmir Committee Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman and President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Zulqarnain also addressed the convention.
Prime Minister Gilani said before the Mumbai incident, Pakistan was constructively engaged with India under the Composite Dialogue Process, with Kashmir issue a critical component of that dialogue.
He said a number of Kashmir related Confidence Building Measures had been agreed and implemented, which also included operating three crossing points across the Line of Control through bus services and the frequency of bus service between Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot increased from fortnightly to weekly.
The Prime Minister said with the keen interest of President Asif Ali Zardari intra Kashmir trade across the Line of Control commenced from May 21, 2008.
“These measures had been guided by our desire to reduce the sufferings of Kashmiris and help create an environment conducive for the settlement of this long standing dispute”, he added.
Prime Minister Gilani, however, regretted that the tragic Mumbai incident not only led to a pause on the Composite Dialogue but also cast a dark shadow on Pakistan-India relations and threatened the regional peace.
He said Pakistan has stressed the need for engagement and resumption of the Composite Dialogue, adding, “We have impressed upon India and the rest of the world that focus of the efforts of the two countries should remain on countering terrorism which is the real issue.”
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has been affected by terrorism and is therefore determined to deal with it unilaterally, bilaterally, regionally and globally.
“We have further stressed that counter-terrorism requires pragmatic cooperation rather than resorting to hostile propaganda or threat of use of force”, he added.
Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan has demonstrated its readiness to engage constructively with India to resolve this longstanding dispute.
He hoped that the peace process would resume soon and become result oriented in addressing all outstanding issues including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Prime Minister said Feb 5 has a special significance for the people of Pakistan.
“It is not a mere ritualistic expression of moral, political and diplomatic
support for the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a reaffirmation of our unwavering commitment to the right of the people of Kashmir to determine their own destiny,” he added.
He said they take pride that they started to observe this day in 1990 during the premiership of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
He said resolution of Kashmir dispute is the realization of the right of self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir which is enshrined in the UNO’s Charter. This right was promised to the people of Kashmir by the international community more than six decades ago.
“Regrettably this fundamental right continues to be denied to the people of Kashmir even today. The norms of justice, international law and the UN Security Council resolutions have been violated. Blatant human rights violations by the Indian security forces continue unabated. These forces are armed not only with deadly arsenal but also with draconian laws,” he added.
Gilani said generations of Kashmiri people have rendered countless sacrifices for this just cause which remains unrealized. Over 92,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives.
Countless others have suffered all kinds of atrocities. There is no let up in the oppressive military presence. Torture, extra judicial killings, rape, arbitrary detentions and fake encounters remain the order of the day, he added.
He said the indigenous uprising in Kashmir fuelled by the Amarnath Shrine land issue last year has added another sad chapter to the sufferings of the Kashmiri people.
He lamented that Kashmiris were subjected to a prolonged economic blockade and their lives and properties were attacked by the extremists.
Many Kashmiris were martyred in a ruthless show of naked force including Shaikh Abdul Aziz, a prominent Hurriyat leader. These brutalities have been condemned by all peace loving people of the world, including the Organization of the Islamic Conference, he added.
He said in this hour of trial, suffering and struggle of the Kashmiri people, the government and the people of Pakistan stood firmly with their Kashmiri brethren.
The top leadership of Pakistan, in several statements, condemned the brutal use of force by the Indians, and demanded them to respect the human rights of the people of Kashmir, he said adding the parliament of Pakistan passed resolutions expressing the solidarity of the people of Pakistan with their Kashmiri brethren. These statements and resolutions are a true reflection of the sentiments of the entire Pakistani nation.
The Prime Minister said the observance of 5th February as Solidarity Day is a singular reaffirmation of our commitment of solidarity with the people of Kashmir and we would continue to observe this day till such time that the heroic struggle of the Kashmiris to achieve their right to self-determination reaches its logical conclusion.
“Our presence here today is a manifestation of that commitment. I would like to assure my Kashmiri brothers and sisters that Pakistan will continue to support the cause of Kashmir through peaceful political means.
He expressed the hope that the future generations of the Kashmiris will be spared from the anguish of brutality and of foreign occupation.
“We hope that we shall live to see the dawn of lasting peace and security in Kashmir and in the region.”
Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Qamar Zaman Kaira assured that Pakistan would continue its wholehearted support till the Kashmir issue was resolved according to the aspirations of Kashmiris.
He said Pakistan wants to renew the composite dialogue with India so that all issues including the core dispute of Kashmir can be resolved peacefully.
Renowned Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik urged that political parties in Pakistan should get united and speak with one voice on the Kashmir issue.
He acknowledged the efforts of successive governments in initiating a dialogue with India on Kashmir and emphasized the need to find a way to settle the dispute peacefully.
Chairman NA Kashmir Committee Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman said Kashmir issue is always in the minds and hearts of Pakistanis.
He said the Kashmir Committee will take forward the issue during the upcoming meetings of OIC contact group on Kashmir. The veteran parliamentarian said he will lobby for formation of a contact group on Kashmir in the European Union.
President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Zulqarnain also addressed the convention and narrated events which kept the Kashmir issue unresolved and created a tragic history.