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I am honored by the opportunity to share my views with such an esteemed audience who are participating in the ‘United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’ at UN headquarters in New York. The issue of global sustainable development is the issue of the twenty-first century. Never before have so many suffered amidst liberty and luxury for the few. The wealth of single individuals exceeds the wealth of many nations. In highly developed countries, the number of persons living past 80 years is soaring. 

This is an opportunity to explore a vexing but significant topic in the field of human rights: self-determination. The right of self-determination has been celebrated for ages. It is a basic principle of the United Nation Charter which has been reaffirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and applied countless times to the settlement of international disputes. The concept played a significant part in the post-world war I settlement, leading for example to plebiscite in a number of disputed border areas, even though no reference was made to self-determination in the League of Nations Covenant.

Friday, 18 April 2014 19:59

Global Donors Forum, 2014

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Global Donors Forum, 2014

Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland
April 13-16, 2014

International Conflicts & the Role of Media

Cihangir Isbilir
Coordinator, UNIW & International Rabaa Platform, Istanbul, Turkey

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen. I greet you all respectfully. I hope and pray for the success of the Global Donors Forum of 2014.

Syria: I was at the Turkey-Syrian border last week. I wanted to make an assessment of the life condition of the people in the region. Especially, I wanted to observe personally the situation of Turkmens and Armenians who have been the subject of the media recently. I was deeply moved during my visit to the area. The people there are asking: "How can this happen in today's World and that too in 2014?" Why the death of one hundred sixty thousand innocent people cannot shake the conscience of the humanity? Millions of people had to abandon their country because of the grim condition. The World powers have remained passive to this barbaric situation. They ask, why?

11th April, 2014:  Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai or "Dr. Fai" as he is known by many people across the world visited Northern California recently and addressed gatherings in the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey and Sacramento. This writer was able to hear his address to a get together at the Kabob and Chutney Restaurant in California's Capital on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, an event jointly put together by the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and The Pakistan-American Democratic Forum (PADF) whose leader Dr. Agha Saeed was very much present here. Dr. Fai was recently released early from a minimum security facility after being sentenced for activities related to the Kashmiri-American Council (KAC). The details of the case are widely available on the internet and will not be discussed here, but the organizers of his visit had introduced him both as "The Most Distinguished Kashmiri-American Thinker" and "The Recently Released Political Prisoner", a voice of an oppressed people.

Monterey, California. March 31, 2014. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of the ‘World Kashmir Awareness’ highlighted eight areas to create an atmosphere for communal harmony that will ultimately lead the people of Jammu & Kashmir to a meaningful and purposeful dialogue. He was speaking at a Kashmir event near Naval Lodge Monterey, organized by the American Muslim Alliance which is headed by Dr. Agha Saeed, an eminent political scientist

San Francisco. March 29, 2014. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of "World Kashmir Awareness" has announced a six point agenda to set a stage for the resolution of Kashmir issue. He was addressing a well represented seminar entitled "Kashmir: A reminder to the American policy makers," here at Fremont, California. The event was sponsored by the American Muslim Alliance and Pakistani American Democratic Forum which are headed by a well-known political scientist, Dr. Agha Saeed. Mr. Mike Gravel, former member of the U.S Senate, Mr. Naeem Baig, President of Islamic Circle of North America and Dr. Hatem Bazian - a prominent Arab American leader spoke on the event.

March 17, 2014

Sir Nigel Rodley
UN Human Rights Committee
Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: (41 22) 917 90 11
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I am grateful for the opportunity to submit this testimony on the state of human rights in Kashmir to the 110th session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee being held in Geneva, Switzerland, this week until March 28, 2014. Much to my chagrin in light of the warming of diplomacy between India and Pakistan and incipient dialogue between India and Kashmiri leaders, the state of human rights in the disputed territory is chilling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.

Indiscriminate killings:

The best estimate of extrajudicial killings in Kashmir since 1989 approaches a staggering 100,000. That number dwarfs the killings in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Bosnia, Kosovo and Southern Sudan which have brought the world to tears and revulsion. The 100,000 corpses also tops the death toll for United States forces in Vietnam over 10 years.

Arundhati Roy, an Indian novelist, essayist, the Booker Prize and Sydney Peace Prize winner said that "Caught in the middle are the people of Kashmir. More than 100,000 people, mostly innocent civilians, have died in the 20-year conflict."

Saturday, 15 February 2014 05:11

Kashmir Event Held in Washington, D.C.

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Washington, D.C. February 15, 2104. "Our efforts should be to persuade the world community including the United States to urge both India and Pakistan to include the leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in the negotiations to peacefully resolve the dispute over Kashmir. When we talk of Kashmir, we talk of the sentiments and enormous sacrifices made by the Kashmiri people during the past 67 years for a cause dear to all inhabitants, be they Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists. It is time that both India and Pakistan realize that until the Kashmiri leadership is included in the peace process, these negotiations between India and Pakistan may not lead them to any logical conclusion," said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai at a seminar, held at Holiday Inn Hotel and organized by Kashmir Form, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. February 6, 20114. "The United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir were not resolutions in the routine sense of the term. Their provisions were negotiated in detail by the United Nations Commission with India and Pakistan and it was only after the consent of both Governments was explicitly obtained that they were endorsed by the Security Council. They thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute," said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai in a paper read during a seminar organized by Mohtaram Shabir Ahmed Shah Sahib in Srinagar entitled: Kashmir Dispute and the Role of the United Nations.

When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-1948, the world powers championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The United States, Great Britain and France were principal sponsors of the resolution which was adopted by the Security Council on April 21, 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle. The basic formula for settlement was incorporated in the resolutions of the U.N. Commission adopted on August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949.

The Security Council discussed the question exhaustively from January to April 1948. Since both India and Pakistan desired that the question of final settlement should be decided through an impartial plebiscite, the Council developed proposals based on the common ground between them. The Indian point of view was unambiguously clarified by its Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru when he said: "If, after a proper plebiscite, the people of Kashmir said, 'we do not want to be with India'; we are committed to accept it though it might pain us. We will not send an army against them. We will accept that however hurt we might feel about it. W e will change the constitution, if necessary."

These were not resolutions in the routine sense of the term. Their provisions were negotiated in detail by the Commission with India and Pakistan and it was only after the consent of both Governments was explicitly obtained that they were endorsed by the Security Council. They thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Much is being made of the fact that six decades have passed since the principled solution was formulated by the United Nations with almost universal support. Mere passage of time or the flight from realities cannot alter the fact that these resolutions remain unimplemented until today. The United Nations resolutions can never become obsolete, or over taken by events or changed circumstances. The passage of time cannot invalidate an enduring and irreplaceable principle – the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. If passage of time were allowed to extinguish solemn international agreements, then the United Nations Charter should suffer the same fate as the resolutions on Kashmir. If non-implementation were to render an agreement defunct, then the Geneva Convention in twenty-first century in many countries is in no better state than these resolutions.

The right of self-determination, by definition, is an unrestricted right. By entering into the agreement, India and Pakistan excluded, and rendered inadmissible, each other's claim to the State until that claim was accepted by the people through a vote taken under an impartial authority. They did not, as they could not, decide what options the people would wish to consider. They could not tell the people of Kashmir that they can choose independently but they cannot choose independence. It would make a mockery of democratic norms. No agreement between two parties can affect the rights of a third: this is an elementary principle of law and justice which no international agreement, if legitimate, can possibly flout.

It is not the inherent difficulties of a solution, but the lack of the will to implement a solution, that has caused the prolonged deadlock over the Kashmir dispute. The deadlock has meant indescribable agony for the people of Kashmir and incalculable loss for both India and Pakistan. If the new world order is not to be an order of unreason, injustice and terror and thus a permitted anarchy, that agony should be brought to an end and that loss repaired. The peace that has eluded the South Asian subcontinent, should be made secure.

The persistence of this problem has been a source of weakness for both India and Pakistan. It has diminished both these neighboring countries. The world powers draw great satisfaction from India's striking economic progress which will enable India to play its rightful role as a great power. That kind of role can only be hobbled by a festering problem. India's adversaries -- if there are none, whoever does not wish India to play the role of a major power in one context or another – will try their utmost to take advantage of it. A great power cannot afford disputed boundaries if it wishes to maintain or enhance its prestige and influence; a small or even a medium power can live with them indefinitely.

One of the indications of the passivity of the people of Kashmir is that the world powers remain content with urging India and Pakistan to enter into a dialogue. Nobody would suggest that they should not do so but when a basis for talks is not defined and the two parties remain entrenched in their respective positions, to call upon them to enter into dialogue is as good as asking them to square the circle. In effect, it has proved to be a formula for endless stalemate.

The contention that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan is designed to negate the jurisdiction of the Untied Nations over the dispute, on the one hand, and, on the other, to eliminate the party most concerned and most deeply affected, i.e., the people of Kashmir.

There is no way Kashmir dispute can be settled once and for all except in harmony with the people's will, and there is no way the people's will can be ascertained except through an impartial vote. Secondly, there are no insuperable obstacles to the setting up of a plebiscite administration in Kashmir under the aegis of the United Nations. The world organization has proved its ability, even in the most forbidding circumstances, to institute an electoral process under its supervision and control and with the help of a neutral peace‑keeping force. The striking example of this is Namibia and East Timor, which were peacefully brought to independence after decades of occupation and control by South Africa and Indonesia respectively. Thirdly, as Sir Owen Dixon, the United Nations Representative, envisaged six decades ago, the plebiscite can be so regionalized that none of the different zones of the state will be forced to accept an outcome contrary to its wishes.

It is high time that we try to make a constructive departure. The best point for doing so is to restore the focus where it originally belonged and where it still rests logically viz: the rights and interests of the people of Kashmir itself.

What should be the procedure for putting the dispute on the road to a settlement? The better way would be to ask the Secretary General of the United Nations, with the concurrence of the Security Council, to engage himself, directly or through a representative of high international standing, in a sustained effort of facilitation which should (a) ensure that the position of the people of Kashmir is fully taken into account and (b) aim at a settlement within a reasonable time-frame, providing for a transitional period, if necessary, for a calming effect.

No sleight of hand is required, no subtle concepts are to be deployed, and no ingenious deal needs to be struck between an Indian and a Pakistani leader with the endorsement of the more pliable Kashmiri figure. All that is needed is going back --- yes, going back --- to the point of agreement which historically existed beyond doubt between India and Pakistan and jointly resolving to retrieve it with such modifications as proposed by the Kashmir leadership – the tripartite negotiations between India & Pakistan and the genuine leadership of the people of Kashmir.

If sincerity is brought to the process in place of cheap trickery, the dawn of peace will glow as never before over the subcontinent – the home to one-fifth of total human race.

Dr. Fai can be reached at: Tel: 1-202-607-6435
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. OR This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday, 26 January 2014 10:21

Kashmir Dispute: A Way Forward

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The dispute over the status of Kashmir can be settled only in accordance with the will of the people which can be ascertained through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, internationally supervised. This was the common ground taken by all the three parties to the dispute - viz.: the people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan. It was supported without any dissent by the United Nations Security Council - and prominently championed by the United States, Britain and France.

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