By: Asif Mehmood | Published: June 12, 2011
LONDON – British parliamentarian George Galloway has said the Kashmiris simply want plebiscite which was promised to them by the UN and former prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
While addressing the seminar at the UN in Geneva “Defending the Democratic Processes”, the veteran campaigner on Kashmir said due to crime committed by the British empire the sufferings of the Kashmiris were greater than the Palestinians.
Some 80,000 had died in the more than 20 years freedom struggle, uncountable numbers had been wounded and maimed, Galloway said. Mass imprisonment and exile and even the use of rape as a tool of occupation had been the lot of the Kashmiris, he added. And yet, he said, the only demand of the occupied people of Kashmir was for the right to vote. The same right the West claims to support in the Arab spring for the Libyans and the Syrians, he said. Galloway hailed Indian author Arundhati Roy who was crying out for justice for the people of occupied Kashmir and said that Kashmir was never the part of India.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Kashmiri American Council Kashmir Center Executive Director, said the year of 2011 had proved one of the most dramatic periods in recent history. The citizens in a number of countries (Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen) had protested long-entrenched oppressive regimes and toppled them for restoring democracy.
Fai said there were several situations where protest against long-standing occupation and oppression remained frustrated in spite of the rights inherent with the right to self-determination and the will of people as the basis of political power. A major case of this was the situation in Kashmir, where the citizenry protested peacefully against the occupying Indian forces to no avail, in spite of UN Security Council resolutions giving them the right to a plebiscite under UN auspices.
Dr Fai quoted President Obama who said in the Indian Parliament on November 10, 2010, that India should not shy away from taking a hard position on human rights violations in Myanmar. But unfortunately, Obama did shy away from taking a hard position on human rights violations in Kashmir, despite the fact the United States was the principle sponsor of the resolution which was adopted by the United Nations Security Council on April 21, 1948. This resolution clearly states that the future of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and the will of the people. Dr Fai said on one hand the world powers denounced Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait as it was against the norms and the principles of international relations. But they were silent over the occupation of Kashmir by India which was a share violation of international norms and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Dr Karen Parker, IED delegate to the United Nations, said the United Nations had determined many years ago that the Kashmiri people had the right to self-determination and also set up a plan for materialising the same. The Kashmir situation continued to haunt the world powers, especially when India and Pakistan had been declared nuclear powers. The Kashmiri people continue to suffer from serious human rights and humanitarian laws violations in the course of India’s military actions against them, he added. Parker said review of the current situation of the Kashmiri peoples’ right to self-determination showed it had been reduced to political rhetoric or was even absent from discussions. However, ignoring the right could not annul it. Altaf Wani, Representative of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, said the practice of self-determination usually requires a democratic process to determine the choice of a people when exercising that right.