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Friday, October 20, 2017

March 17, 2014

Sir Nigel Rodley
Chairperson
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
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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.

Washington, January 5, 2104. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, lamented today's 65th anniversary of the non‑implementation of the January 5, 1949, United Nations resolution which says that the future of Jammu and Kashmir shall be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite; there shall be no threat, coercion or intimidation, bribery or other undue influence on the voters in the plebiscite; no restrictions should be placed on legitimate political activity throughout the State; all subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste or party, shall be safe and free in expressing their views; and there shall be freedom of the Press, speech and assembly.

Monday, 30 December 2013 03:00

Kashmir Event Held in Brooklyn, New York

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New York, December 29, 2013. "The period of incarceration provided me an opportunity for introspection. It was also an opportunity to reflect and to learn from the past and re-focus on the future. This process of self-examination undoubtedly strengthened my inner self and beliefs. It also opened the doors of understanding and growth" said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai at a reception organized in his honor by Sardar Sawar Khan, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir. The reception was held at Pakeeza restaurant, Brooklyn, New York and was jointly sponsored by Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conferences; Peoples Party of Pakistan, Azad Kashmir; Jammu Kashmir Muslim League; Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Jamaat-e-Islamic Azad Kashmir; Jammu Kashmir Liberation League; Jamait-e-Ulama-e-Islam, Azad Kashmir.

Washington, D.C. December 10, 2013. 

 

“We need to applaud the 1948 ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, which stands as a moral reproach to wrongdoing nations that may facilitate reforms, even though its lofty provisions safeguarding fundamental human rights remain dishonored in many parts of the world,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Day.

I want to tell you a little story that touched my life in a very personal way in 1979. It is important to consider, I assure you, because of its historic significance, not only in having an impact in a very real way upon my own survival and the personal vision I came to adopt for the rest of my life, but how it came to shape the very destiny of Kashmir itself. My own life became inextricably linked just as intimately as a man and woman united in marriage. Each detail of this story is integral to understanding who I was then, who I am now, and the process that formed my calling and the rest of my life.
 
I was in my late 20s then with a driving zeal, as is in every young man's heart in Kashmir, to make a significant impact somewhere and somehow on life's stage. At this particular time, I had been placed in charge of the international section of a major conference being held in the Capitol of Kashmir, Srinagar. I was inspired to invite a speaker of an international stature whose presence could be used to energize and internationalize the issue of Kashmir on the right of self-determination.
Friday, 29 November 2013 15:19

Thank you

Written by

November 29, 2013

 
Dear all,
 
I am thankful to Allah (s.w.t.) for an early release from the Federal Prison Camp in Cumberland, Maryland. Upon receiving the order from Judge O’Grady, the prison authorities gave me just 10 minutes to pack my belongings and to leave from the premises of the Federal Prison Camp. I am pleased to be home with my family and friends since Friday, November 22, 2013.
 
At the beginning, the notion of imprisonment weighed very heavily on my conscience. I was mindful that some of my friends wanted to know the conditions I was living in. The conditions at the Camp in Cumberland were propitious and the avenues available were favorable to all the inmates.

The Kashmiri leaders on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) welcomed the US court order for the release of Kashmiri lobbyist and Executive Director of the US-based Kashmir American Council (KAC) Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai.

“This is the victory of justice and every Kashmiri hails the decision of American court,” said Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majeed while talking to The Express Tribune.

Dr Fai is the ambassador of Kashmiris right to self-determination who has sacrificed a lot for the promotion of Kashmir cause, he said.

The Federal Court Eastern Virginia in its release orders issued Friday said Dr Fai exhibited good morals during his imprisonment and he has been working for the cause of Kashmiri nation.

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