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4500 People Worldwide Petition Obama to Intervene in Kashmir

November 6, 2010

Obama in New Delhi can say six things: Stop military action against civilians in Kashmir, withdraw soldiers from towns and villages, dismantle bunkers, watch towers and barricades, release prisoners, end shoot-at-sight orders, and restore basic rights of Kashmiris to move and assemble.

By GHULAM NABI FAI | Saturday | 30 October 2010 | Kashmir American Council

WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM

Washington, D.C.—“The visit to India by President Barack Obama may well prove truly historic if it begins to move the Kashmir dispute towards a genuine settlement.

India has exploited American statements on US neutrality in the dispute since the start of the resistance in 1989. Pronouncements to the effect that India and Pakistan must settle the dispute bilaterally have been taken by Indian policy-makers as endorsement of their stand. This is why the Kashmir American Council releases today this petition titled, “Tragic Situation in Kashmir Demands the Urgent Attention of President Obama”.

The petition has been signed by more than 4,500 people all over the world so far. And more are coming.

Dr. Fai said that Kashmiri Americans have faith that, under the leadership of President Obama, the United States policy towards Kashmir will be shaped not by the relative strategic value to the U.S. of India or Pakistan but by the principles of a just and durable peace. We also hope that the United States will not endorse any attempt to ignore the wishes of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and bypass the expression of those sentiments.

“We, the undersigned, have been deeply moved,” reads the petition, “by reports of almost the entire population of major towns in Kashmir coming out in the streets and staging demonstrations (…) We take this massive, spontaneous, indigenous and peaceful upsurge as an unmistakable expression of resentment by Kashmiris against the neglect of the human tragedy caused by the international community’s failure to resolve the dispute.”

Whatever is the level of violence committed by over 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces, the far more important and poignant aspect of the situation is the acute suffering of the whole population caused by frequent curfews, disruption of normal life, arrest and detention of innocent civilians by the occupation authority. This is a situation without precedent in the South Asian subcontinent.

Far from seeking to rectify its atrocious human rights record, India has legalized its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. It has given its forces powers to shoot to kill and the license to abuse the people of Kashmir in whatever ways they like in order to suppress the popular movement for basic human rights and human dignity. Words can only cheapen the acute grief and afflictions experienced by the entire Kashmiri population. Every person has one or more tales of weeping and sobbing to recount. And their pain is compounded by the silence and indifference of the international community. Despite the faint murmur of protest by the international community and an occasional report in the world press, India has felt no pressure whatsoever to desist from its genocidal campaign. As long as the international community allows India to hide its atrocities in Kashmir, there would be no end to the ever-increasing gross and consist violations of human rights in that unfortunate land.

If a response to the gravity of the situation is intended, we firmly believe that the following measures are essential:

This can be done by:

  • The immediate and complete cessation of military and paramilitary actions against the civilian population in Jammu & Kashmir;
  • Withdrawal of the military presence from towns and villages;
  • Dismantling of bunkers, watch towers and barricades;
  • Releasing of all political prisoners;
  • Annulling various special repressive laws; and
  • Restoring the rights of peaceful association, assembly and demonstrations.

We trust that your personal involvement in this matter will bring its influence to bear on both India and Pakistan to initiate a peace with which the United Nations as well as the people of Jammu & Kashmir will be associated so as to ensure that settlement arrived at will be based on the principles of justice.

We also believe that an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir will go a long way to hasten the prospect of peace and prosperity in the region of South Asia.

Dr. Fai leads the Kashmir American Council. Reach him at kac@kashmiri.com

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