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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

26th Anniversary of Maqbool Butt: Seminar in House of Lords, London

Seminar in House of Lords to Mark
26th Anniversary of Shaheed Maqbool Butt

London (10 Feb 2010)
In a seminar titled “India, Pakistan and Kashmir. A Way Forward” held in House of Lords in London on 9th February 2010; the speaker’s unanimously demanded that the true representation of Kashmiri people is necessary in the Indo-Pak dialog for the permanent and honorable solution to the Kashmir issue. It is the people of Kashmir who must decide their future. The speakers said that the only solution to the Kashmir issue lies with the people of Kashmir, their inclusion in talks as the main party of the dispute and restoration of national integrity and glory of the forcibly divided state of Jammu Kashmir.

The Seminar was organized by JKLF and was facilitated by the prominent labour peer Lord Nazir Ahmed at the house of Parliament. The seminar was held on the special occasion of 26th Martyrdom Anniversary of Shaheed Maqbool Butt. Delegates from UK based community organizations, British peers and intellectuals who participated in the seminar expressed deep concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir and continuous colonial approach towards the disputed region. The speakers and delegates at the seminar overall agreed and said that India and Pakistan should resolve their differences through dialogue but must involve Kashmiris in any kind of dialogue and let the Kashmiris make the final decision. Rich tributes were paid to the founder of the movement Shaheed Maqbool Butt on his 26th martyrdom anniversary.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, Chairman of All Parties Parliamentary Group of Kashmir (APPG) condemned the human rights violations and recent killings of Kashmiri youth in Srinagar by Indian armed forces in Kashmir. He said India must stop human rights abuses in Kashmir. He paid rich tributes to Maqbool Butt Shaheed on his 26th martyrdom anniversary. He called his sacrifice as the soul of the current freedom struggle and he said that it is our duty to carry forward his memories and spread his ideology in order to take the independence struggle to its logical end. Lord Nazir said that Kashmiris must unite to form consensus amongst themselves for the sake of the sacrifices given by Maqbool Butt Shaheed and many thousands after him.

Prof. Zafar Khan Head of JKLF’s diplomatic Committee, while speaking on this occasion pointed out that the Kashmir dispute concerned the inherent and inalienable right of the people of Jammu-Kashmiri to determine their political and constitutional future freely. He said that the history of bilateral talks between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is full of failures in their inability to resolve the Kashmir issue. of their inability to resolve this or any other issue. As principal party to the dispute representatives of Kashmiri people must be included in any dialogue over the future status of Jammu Kashmir. Elaborating further, Prof Zafar Khan said that Pakistan’s Kashmir policy must become people centric. He said that international community including Britain and other major nations have a moral obligation to play a pivotal role for a peaceful and lasting solution based on the democratic will of the people of Jammu Kashmir. He paid rich tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Maqbool Butt Shaheed and he said that the marking of his martyrdom anniversary is a reaffirmation of the political struggle which he and Mr. Amanullah Khan began over 50 years ago. Greatest tribute to leaders sacrifice would be to continue to this struggle for a just equitable solution of the Kashmir issue.

Prof. Shawl, Director of Justice Foundation UK, while paying tribute to Shaheed Maqbool Butt said that his sacrifice symbolizes the struggle of Kashmir for freedom and his sacrifice has became the focal point of the current resistance movement in Kashmir. While referring to book of Prem Nath Bazaz on Kashmir titled “Kashmir’s struggle for freedom”, he said that the author had rightly pointed out that ultimately the fate of Kashmir issue will be decided by its people. He said that bilateralism between India and Pakistan in subcontinent has failed. He further said now at the time when India and Pakistan are due to resume talks, the Kashmiri dimension must be included for the lasting solution of the dispute.

Patrick Smith, prominent leader of Liberal Democrats in Walthamforest borough of London and a prominent councilor said that ironically Kashmir issue has been ignored by international community including United Kingdom. He said that Liberal Democrat party talks about Kashmir quit often and called upon India and Pakistan to fulfill their pledges over Kashmir. He said that he will contact the top Liberal Democrat leadership and convey them we must play a role so that Kashmiris be given the chance to determine their future as promised by United Nations.

Senior leader of JKLF Malik Latif Khan said that Kashmiris should be considered as the first and final party to the dispute as they have suffered enormously over the decades. He said time is right for the international community to encourage both India and Pakistan for this, so that a just and peaceful solution can finally be achieved.

Councillor Qurban Hussain from Luton while speaking on this occasion emphasized the need to involve the British Parliamentarians and take them into confidence. He said Kashmir Committee in British Parliament has been disappointing so far and now we hope that under Lord Ahmed, Kashmir cause will get some momentum..

Rich Tributes were paid to Shaheed-E-Kashmir and other martyrs of Kashmir by the Lord Eric Avebury, Professor Shaihd Shahid Iqbal and Tracy Billiard. All of them sent special messages for the audiences. A poem written by Tracy Billiard was also read in the seminar which highlighted the recent killings of School children in Kashmir by Indian occupational forces.

Secretary of JKLF diplomatic Committee Zafar Sharif thanked the gathering for attending the seminar and extending their support and encouragement. Zafar Sharif also thanked Lord Nazir Ahmed for organizing this seminar on a short notice and commended his efforts to raise the Kashmir issue in international forums.

Other councilors, local community representatives and JKLF leaders who also spoke on this occasion and paid tributes to Shaheed Maqbool Butt include councilor Liaqat Ali, Mahmood Hussain, Tanvir Khan, Javaid Rashid, Sanowar Hussain, Mahmood Faiz, Maroof Faiz, Tehseen Gilani, and other prominent Kashmiri leaders.

Zafar Sharif
JKLF Diplomatic Committee


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