Plebiscite is only solution to Kashmir dispute – says Turkey Kashmir Conference

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(Turkey, Ankara) : –     A plebiscite under the UN resolutions and auspicious is the only solution to the Kashmir issue and justice to Kashmiri people suffering from for decades by the Indian occupied forces. This was a message given to the world community by the International Conference titles ‘Kashmir Turmoil: Emerging Threats to Peace and Role of International Community’ being held in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.

The two-day conference was jointly organized by the Lahore Center for Peace and Research (LCPR) and Turkish Think Tank, Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE). Delegates from 25 countries are participating in the conference.

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan, attended the conference as the special guest. In his keynote address, Sardar Masood Khan called upon the world community, especially the world’s major powers, to prevent the impending risk of genocide in the Indian occupied Kashmir and also to save the region from the scourge of war.

“Another India-Pakistan conflict on Kashmir could quickly escalate into a nuclear war with consequences of unimaginable magnitude,” he warned.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in his message to the conference reiterated his country’s principled position on Kashmir as enunciated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the 74th Session of UN General Assembly, calling for an early solution of the 72-year old issue through dialogue and engagement on the basis of justice and equity. He also called for an end to the virtual blockade of the eight million people being kept under siege in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

In his message to the Conference, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted the gravity of the Kashmir situation. “International community should take notice of the aggravating human rights situation in Indian-held Kashmir”, he said. “India is trying to change Kashmir’s disputed status as well as its demographic composition,” he added.

Other eminent participants includes Vice President of Turkey Mr. Fuat Oktay, Pakistan’s Senator Sherry Rehman, Member of UK Parliament Lord Nazir Ahmed, Chief Justice of Turkey Mr Ismail Rustu Cirit, Member of Turkish Parliament Erkan Akcay, member of Turkish Parliament Sureyya Sadi Bilgic, Chairman Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Coordinator, Self-Determination Council Mr. Ranjit Singh, President Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights Syed Nazir Gillani, Scholar-Historian and Author on Kashmir Prof Victoria Schofield, and CNN Anchor and Analyst Mrs. Kimberly Dozier.

Eminent speakers from participating countries including Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Russia, Germany, Netherland, United Kingdom and United States participated in the Conference which was co-chaired by LCPR Chairman, Pakistan’s Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad and President of Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) Muhammet Sawas Kafkasyali. The Conference was attended by a distinguished audience consisting of parliamentarians, academia, members of the diplomatic corps, journalists, members of think tank community and students.

“The Conference reviewed the historical, legal, political and humanitarian dimensions of the current crisis in Kashmir where India is not only seeking to change the demographic reality of the occupied territories but also taking arbitrary measures in utter disregard of normal life through frequent curfews, arrests, detentions and sometimes disappearances of innocent civilians”, the conference observed.

A statement issued on the first day of the conference deplored the complete military lockdown keeps the people of Kashmir deprived of basic rights and liberties including access to the outside world. The continued wholesale incarceration of Kashmiri political leadership, including the erstwhile pro-India leaders, has resulted in a political vacuum that carries the danger of hijacking of the resistance movement by extremist elements, the statement added.

The Conference noted with concern the possibility of looming genocide in Indian-occupied Kashmir if the current military crackdown continues unabated. Besides the human rights abuses in Indian-held Kashmir, the basic dispute over the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir remains unaddressed.

India and Pakistan have fought wars and still remain locked in a conflictual mode. Major Powers and the United Nations have an obligation to prevent any new conflict between India-Pakistan over Kashmir, the conference urged.

The conference said the Kashmir conflict is one of the oldest unresolved international conflicts; this is a somber reminder to the world that it cannot continue to ignore the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people. A solution has to be found in conformity with the wishes of the Kashmiri people as called for in UN Security Council resolutions.

There was consensus at the Conference that no matter what India claims, the situation in Kashmir today is highly worrisome requiring urgent intervention by the international community. The world community also needs to rush relief supplies to the beleaguered people in the Indian occupied Kashmir, the conference demanded.

The conference was of the view that beyond UNSC resolutions, there is no compact formula or tailor-made solution to the problem. The conference demanded to fulfill the UN-led solution as the issue is now magnified to a level where the region has become nuclear flashpoint and the consequences will be beyond the region.

The conference further urged the UN Secretary-General to consider appointing an eminent person of international standing from the list of World’s Elders as his special envoy on Kashmir to monitor the situation in Kashmir. The special envoy should also monitor human rights situations and other illegal measures being taken by India to change the demographic reality of the occupied territory.

The UN’s human rights agencies, notably the Human Rights Council, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as other international agencies including ICRC, Amnesty International, and International Crisis Group must remain engaged to monitor the on-ground situation in Indian-held Kashmir, the conference hoped.

The conference also demanded to establish a commission of inquiry recommended by United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights in their two successive reports, to carry out an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

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