Birmingham: Kashmir Voice International (KVI) organized a seminar at Birmingham on 21st January 2018 on its first anniversary. The theme of the seminar was “Kashmir Issue-Support at International Level, an Analysis”.  People who spoke were from Pakistan, J & K and UK.

Justice Shraief Hussain Bokhari from Lahore Pakistan said, ‘military operations or militancy cannot solve Kashmir dispute’.  While feeling the need for international support he said, ‘it is the responsibility of the people of J & K wherever they live to convince the international community that Kashmir is the issue of life and honor of 20 million people”.

Addressing the seminar Prof. Sidiq Wahid Ex.Vice Chancellor from Srinagar said that after Simla Agreement Kashmir is considered a bilateral issue and India now considers it an internal issue. Election of 1987 was rigged which angered the youth and Pakistan fished in the troubled water. Indian economic power and political influence at international level is increasing and support for Kashmir has gradually gone down. In reply to a question he said people in Kashmir have realized that there is lack of international support. In response to another question, whether Kashmir has been projected as religious issue he categorially said YES.

Dr. Irshad Ahmed Shah Head Department of political Science University of Kashmir said Hurriyat Conference could not articulate and plead the case and influence the international opinion. Kashmiris should stand up and decide for themselves. They should think how the bloodshed is stopped. There are issues more important than Azadi. A political issue has been projected as a religious issue resulting into our failure in motivating the world community for support.

Ravinder Pandita a Kashmiri Pandit from Delhi a well-known Kashmiri heritage lover said borders may have divided Kashmiris physically but not their hearts. Our KASHMIRYAT has been destroyed. Religious tourism between two parts should be encouraged and Kashmiris Pandits should be free to visit SHRADA and people across the border to HAZRATBAL and CHARI-SHARIEF shrines. People to people contact should be encouraged before thinking about political issues for support at national or international level.

Khurshaid Nehami an IT engineer and an academician from Srinagar based in UK said economic and political power of India has increased and Kashmir is losing support at international level, more so as it has been projected as a religious issue. Kashmir leadership does not appreciate the value of social media and has not even set up a website to tell the people world over what they want. There is confusion in political behavior of the leadership who have failed to project the issue in the right perspective.

Azmat Khan representing JKLF said Pakistan has discouraged our initiatives to project Kashmir at international level ourselves. Valley leadership has failed to influence international opinion resulting in the decrease of support. There is a need to work in India and build a constituency of supporters.

Prof. Faheem Iqbal from Srinagar convey the following points about the theme.

  1. Bilateral agreements have diluted the position of Kashmir issue at international level.

  2. Muslim countries are not united to put up a strong voice for the solution of Kashmir problem.

  3. Kashmiri leaders have not attainted that political status where they can influence the international opinion.

  4. The present movement is the result of 1987 election rig which angered the youth who resorted to the armed struggle.

  5. Kashmiri leaders have no blue print for the movement and have failed to create advocates, supporters and sympathizers at international level.

Dr. Misfer Hussain of J & K Liberation League said, “This uprising never had any political strategy in place to project atrocities committed by Indian forces around the world.

Even the large number of Diaspora residing in UK from Pak administered Kashmir were not prepared enough to raise the issue in a unified manner and the clan politics from back home seeped into it and the unity was never seen on this important issue at international level”.

Mirza Sidiq President J & K Plebiscite Front said instead of making a reference to the support at international level we wish India and Pakistan to understand the aspirations of Kashmiris from both sides of LOC. We wish good neighborly relations and progress of both the countries. Kashmir is a multi-religious state its diversity should be respected and preserved. All the state subjects should join hands and explore a solution together which should be respected and accepted by both the countries.

Besides, these four lady speakers Rana Shama Nazir, Sumara Farooq, Dr. Nighat Iftikar and Rifat Mughal addressed the seminar and advocated that Kashmiris be left free to explore a solution without any interference from India and Pakistan. Sajad Raja representative of all Parties Independence Alliance also addressed the seminar.

While concluding the seminar KVI Chairman Prof. M.A.Raina said that the speakers were unanimous regarding the lack of required support for Kashmir issue at international level. Their opinion was that Kashmiris around the world have failed to unite and follow a common program. He said a false hope is being created that international community is seriously engaged with India and Pakistan to settle Kashmir issue. He questioned the utility of demonstrations by Kashmiri groups which he said, he believes is a wastage of resources and has not helped in anyway in stopping human rights violations or resolution of the issue.

He said that J & K is a multi-cultural and multi-religious state and any solution explored should be acceptable to the people of all the sections and regions of the state. Based on the seventy years history, he further said that KVI does not see any prospects in future also for the implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir and advocated that the best way for resolving Kashmir is that all communities join their heads together and explore an achievable solution acceptable to the people of J & K. In this connection he referred to the KVI Agenda and the Way Forward.

At the end Vice Chair KVI Advocate Irshad Malik thanked the participants and said, “This seminar was intended to know our position at international scenario.  We hope this seminar has increased awareness of Kashmiri Diaspora of their duties towards their people on both sides of LOC. We hope this awareness also should lead to a united effort to seek an end to the miseries in which Kashmiris are caught. KVI would expect that all of us will join heads to explore an achievable solution for Kashmir problem acceptable to our people.