*Picture Source: Muslim Matters
A two-day international conference under the theme “Kashmir Turmoil: Emerging Threats to Peace and Role of International Community” was held in Ankara on 20-21 November jointly organised by Lahore Center for Peace Research and Institute of Strategic Thinking.
Leading scholars, parliamentarians, academicians, researchers, journalists and writers from across the world attended the event that discussed the historical, legal, political, security and human rights dimensions of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. These deliberations were followed up by a comprehensive ‘Strategic Thinking Workshop’ on the Kashmir dispute.
The inaugural session had high-level Turkish and international representation, including the President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan, Senator Ms Sherry Rehman from Pakistan, Lord Nazir Ahmad from the UK, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Turkey Ismail Rustu Cirit, President Religious Affairs of Turkey Prof. Dr. Ali Erbas, Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Surreya Sadi Bilgic, Deputy Chairman of Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Turkish Parliament Muhammet Emin Akbasoglu, Deputy Chairman of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in Turkish Parliament Erkan Akcay and parliamentarians from Indonesia, Egypt and Iran.
Dr. Abdul Razak Ahmad, as the Founding Director of Bait Al Amanah (House of Trust) was invited to give a presentation on Malaysia’s stand on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir at the seminar. Attached here below is the full transcript of Dr. Abdul Razak Ahmad’s presentation:
1. Assalamualaikum and good day to Mr. Ambassador Shamshad Ahmed, Dr. Muhammet Savas Kafkasyali, distinguished delegates, ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen.
2. It is a great honor for me to address the International Congress on Kashmir Turmoil: Emerging threats to Peace and the Role of International Community.
THE SITUATION IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Ladies and gentlemen,
3. 72 years ago, the region of Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India, as per the Instrument of Accession signed by the region’s first leader, Maharaja Hari Singh. Since then, wars have broken out between the Dominion of India and the Republic of Pakistan, resulting in a longstanding insurgency in the region.
4. Failed to identify and understand the cause of unrest, countries are pointing fingers at one another, absolving themselves of the responsibility. One accused the other of sparking terrorism while the other is being accused of infringement of human rights. Despite several UN Resolutions, refusal to adhere to the International Standards result in the complex situation that we see in the region.
5. 5th August 2019, the day where the autonomy of the region of Jammu and Kashmir was stripped off brings us to the discussion today. The 70-year long window of autonomy enjoyed by the Kashmiris is now closed, escalating tension in the region.
6. The revocation of Article 370 caused great resentment on the part of the Kashmiris. Stabilization in the former State of Jammu and Kashmir is now only a slogan vouched by India, but in no way representing the real state of the region.
7. Communications blackout, media outage, indefinite curfews and arrests of mainstream political leaders steer the boat further into the avalanche of human rights violations.
MALAYSIA’S STANCE ON THE ISSUE
Ladies and Gentlemen,
8. As the official religion of the State, Islam plays a crucial role in the development of Malaysia’s policy. It is a manifestation of our domestic policy and interplays in response to Malaysia’s foreign relations.
9. In the pursuit of global peace, Malaysia’s conduct continues to be guided by the principles of respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the affairs of other nations. We also believe in peaceful dispute settlements and co-existence.
10. Therefore, Malaysia respects the Dominion of India to revoke or modify its constitution. However, in ensuring peaceful settlements, consultations must be done with the subject affected, in this case, the People of Jammu and Kashmir.
11. Taking into account the argument by India in dealing with separatist groups trying to secede from the Dominion, it is imperative for India to redefine the concept of autonomy. Autonomy is not a two-state system. It is freedom granted which enables a State to self-govern. While India’s aspiration to integrate Jammu and Kashmir as part of the Dominion remains, the rights and needs of the Kashmiris shall not be forfeited. Rights and needs, viewed in this sense, is autonomy.
12. Unfortunately, the autonomy and freedom enshrined in Article 370, the most crucial article which safeguards everyone without disintegrating India, ended for the People of Kashmir.
13. As a member of the United Nations, Malaysia is concerned with the actions of the Dominion of India in handling the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. We stand in solidarity with the Muslims of Kashmir, and we are equally concerned with the alleged erosion of fundamental rights of the people. We believe the wishes of the People should be at the forefront of any policies.
14. Just a year ago Malaysia had a change of Government, and this was made possible because of our will to listen to the People. Jammu and Kashmir can too. Jammu and Kashmir has to.
15. The situation in the region can no longer be put on hold. The fact that people in power send hundreds of thousands of men throughout the years to fight questions not the patriotism needed but the necessity of fighting in the first place. The Kashmiris for years witnessed their best friends die in their arms, their wives and husbands raped, their homes decimated to ashes.
16. Now, ladies and gentlemen, let me ask you: Should the product of failed diplomacy be the lives of thousands?
17. This political conflict requires a permanent political solution, involving the international community. A mediation process brokered by countries close with both the Dominion of India and the Republic of Pakistan such as Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia and Iran can help facilitate the peace process.
18. As a country which holds important political power, it is crucial for the Dominion of India to observe its commitment to uphold the rule of law, humanitarian rights and adhere to the International commitment.
Ladies and gentlemen,
19. Like Turkey, Malaysia acknowledges the importance of a peaceful resolution for Jammu and Kashmir. In maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region, Malaysia supports all efforts and initiatives that are aimed at achieving a just and durable solution to this issue, one that will uphold the interest of all concerned parties, in particular those of the Kashmiris. In addition, we support the call by the United Nations for a free and impartial plebiscite in the region of Jammu and Kashmir.