Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri
New Age Islam News Bureau
Recently, progressive leaders from Pakistan and Kashmir came together to attend a seminar titled ‘No to religious terrorism, no to Talibanisaton, Kashmiris demand Peaceful Political Solution’ to explore the possibilities of a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue that has been a contentious issue between India and Pakistan. The seminar was organized by the United Kashmir Peoples National Party in London.
The leaders and spokespersons of the United Kashmir People’s National Party, Saraiki National Party, Awami Workers Party, and Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party participated in the seminar.
The speakers largely criticized the role of religious fundamentalist groups and extremists for fomenting trouble in Kashmir and making life difficult for the people of the state. They unanimously said that all the progressive parties of the region should unite to defeat the divisive forces. They jointly demanded a peaceful political solution to the unresolved issue of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan and home to 150 million Kashmiris. They also criticized the alleged wrong policies of the establishment and the intelligence agencies for the growth of religious fundamentalism, militarization and poverty in the region. They warned that the theo-fascist forces had penetrated deep into the society causing immense damage to it.
The President of Saraiki National Party, Abdul Mojeed Kanjo said that the people of Kashmir were fighting for their fundamental right --- independence of Kashmir -- and that they could not be held as slaves forever. He claimed that the progressive forces of Pakistan demanded an independent Kashmir.
The exiled Chairman of UKPNP Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri strongly asserted that his party was in favour of a peaceful and non-violent political solution to the Kashmir issue and that the UKPNP had always struggled against the forces backing militant fundamentalist groups on the one hand and on the other his party members were subjected to state repression for opposing and denouncing state sponsored terrorism.
Lamenting the ongoing geo-political scenario of the region Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said that due to Pakistan’s patronage and covert support to the extremist forces, democratic and peace process in the region was constantly under threat. Whenever the two countries came closer, such forces become active with the tacit support of the Pakistani army, Mr Kashmiri observed. He further said that the progressive and democratic forces of the region would have to stand against these troublemakers and war mongers.
Moreover, Mr Sardar Shaukat Kashmir also criticized China and Saudi Arabia for fighting a proxy war in Pakistan to safeguard and further their own respective political and economic interests in the country. He said that today there was no industry set up in Pakistan and there was little foreign investment because China did not want Pakistan to develop industrially. Pakistan also has a fragile economic relationship with Iran. Therefore, Pakistan has the plan to have complete control over the rivers of Kashmir. It is very disappointing that Kashmiri people who have been the owners of these natural resources have not only been marginalized but have also been kept out of the peace process. He iterated that without taking the legitimate Kashmiri leadership into confidence no solution to the Kashmir issue could be achieved. On the confidence building initiatives, Mr Kashmiri said, “We have time and again said that the government of Jammu & Kashmir should offer scholarships to the students of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to promote peace and harmony.”
He further said that without resolving the issue of Kashmir and accepting the basic rights of the nationalities and religious and cultural minorities of the region the goal of peace, prosperity, stability, and development of the region could not be achieved. He observed that Pakistan had become a safe haven for the extremist and fundamentalist groups causing bloodshed and mayhem there and the same religious groups were also operating in Gilgit Baltistan in order to divide the people on sectarian and ethnic lines.
The Awami Workers Party Spokesperson Nisar Shah Advocate said that the time had come for all the progressive forces of the region to decide whether they were going to unite or remain divided to face the repression of fundamentalists. He said that the role of the UKPNP should be recognised to expose the fundamentalist groups and their evil designs for the division of Kashmir on religious and sectarian lines. “We always extend our support to the struggle of UKPNP”, he said.
Others who spoke on the occasion were President of Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party, Liaquat Hayat and the Chairperson of Convening Committee of the United Kashmir People's National Party, Naila Khaneen.
Syed Tahir Shah Gardazi, Dr. Yahya and Azhar Kashar strongly condemned the conspiracy of the state actors to divide UKPNP. They also extended their full support and cooperation to the United Kashmir People's National Party and its exiled leader Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri.