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IKA discuss Kashmir with US

In the meeting, apart from the Director of South Asia, there were officials from India and Pakistan sections.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 19:48 IST
UK Bureau
UK Bureau

Leaders of International Kashmir Alliance, Mumtaz Khan and Dr Shabir Choudhry had a detailed meeting on the Kashmir dispute with State Department officials from the Bureau of South Asia.

In the meeting, apart from the Director of South Asia, there were officials from India and Pakistan sections.

Khan and Choudhry, while appreciating the role of USA and other international agencies in the relief work, emphasised that more needs to be done to help people uprooted from the earthquake disaster.

They said we all need to ensure that aid designated for the earthquake victims should reach to the affected people; and that it is not diverted for some other purposes.

They also said that violence had to end before substantial progress on the dispute of Kashmir could be made. They emphasised that the Kashmir dispute is not a territorial dispute and that it could not be resolved bilaterally no matter how many rounds of composite dialogue they have.

While appreciating the confidence building measures, including bus service and people to people contacts, IKA leaders said they were means to end, and not end in themselves.

We need to move beyond that and work out a mechanism to involve people of Jammu and Kashmir in the peace process, as they are the principal party to the dispute. Without their active participation in the peace progress there will not be any peace or resolution of the dispute.

The two believe that APHC does not represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir and meetings with them must not be taken as participation of Kashmiris in the peace process.

They said leaders from all zones of Jammu and Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, Ladakh, Jammu and the Valley should be made part of the peace process; and the process of consultation which is different to a place on the negotiating table, should not be the Valley centric.

IKA leaders also insisted that America could do more to support the peace process,and President Bush's forthcoming visit to India and Pakistan could be used to make some progress in this matter.

If Kashmir dispute is resolved through a process of negotiations involving all three parties to the dispute, then that will be a major set -back to people who encourage violence and thrive on gains of terrorism.

IKA leaders said this will be a major victory in a war against terrorism; as some powerful people don't want peaceful resolution of this dispute; and they want to encourage more violence and communalism to ensure that status quo continues which breeds more violence and hatred.

State Department officials gave details of USA input in the earthquake relief work.

They shared IKA leaders concern about aid to earthquake victims, and fight against violence and terrorism.

They explained role of America in encouraging and supporting the peace process, but emphasised that USA could not act as a mediator. It is dispute which has to be resolved by the parties concerned, by involving people of Jammu and Kashmir in the process.

They agreed that bus service and people to contact and social and economic relationship could help to create appropriate environment in which difficult decisions could be taken by the governments of India and Pakistan.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 19:48 IST