Chairman Mushahid Hussain Addresses at Harvard University
Source : Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) Date : 14-02-2017
In what is the first ever such event held at Harvard University, the top American university witnessed a debate on the Kashmir dispute before a 400-plus audience of professors, scholars and students where representatives of Pakistan, India, and the All Parties Hurryiat Conference (APHC) spoke. Pakistan was represented by Senator Mushahid Hussain, while APHC leader, Mir Waiz Omar Farooq spoke by video from Srinagar, and India was represented by Air Marshal (r) Kapil Kak and Omar Abdullah, former Indian Occupied Kashmir chief minister.
The discussion was part of the annual India Conference 2017, and this is the first time in 15 years that a Pakistani was invited to speak and that too on Kashmir, along with the APHC leader.
Senator Mushahid Hussain termed the popular, spontaneous, widespread and indigenous upsurge in occupied Kashmir since the July 2016 as a 'de facto plebiscite where Kashmiris, their eyes deformed and destroyed by pellets, have voted for Azadi'. He said Kashmir is the only dispute in the world whose outcome solution is agreed by both India and Pakistan through successive United Nations resolutions, is the oldest ceasefire line since World War 2 and he added, for Pakistan, 'Kashmir issue is not about territory, but Kashmir issue for Pakistan is about Kashmiris, the people of Kashmir'.
Senator Mushahid Hussain gave a list of 5-points to break the impasse :
i) India should accept Kashmir as a political dispute based on denial of rights of the people of Kashmir, and accept there are three parties to the dispute: Kashmiris, Pakistan & India;
ii) the fact-finding report of Yashwant Sinha, former Foreign Minister of India, issued in January 2017, which clearly states that 'Kashmiris have lost fear of India' and. 'Kashmiris want to join CPEC' should be accepted by the Indian government as a good starting point for ending sufferings of Kashmiris by the Indian state;
iii) India and Pakistan immediately start back channel talks by appointing their respective representatives for such talks;
iv) India must immediately end human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir;
v) India must withdraw opposition to SAARC Summit in Pakistan, agree on a new date for SAARC Summit and Prime Minister Modi come to Pakistan to participate in the SAARC Summit.
Concluding, Senator Mushahid Hussain also said that the present global and regional scenario presents a golden opportunity for 'Asian hands to determine the destiny of Asia' when regionalism driven by energy and economy, ports and pipelines, roads and railways, was bringing countries closer, especially CPEC, where Pakistan is the pivot of regional connectivity and corridors. He quoted from the Morgan Stanley report regarding the 'quiet rise of South Asia', with Pakistan as the flag bearer of positive change, adding that the 'ball is now in the court of India' whether it wishes to contribute to the rise of South Asia by helping a Kashmir solution or retarding rise of South Asia through blocking a Kashmir settlement. Senator Mushahid Hussain said there is no constituency in Pakistan that seeks a confrontation with India, and peace in South Asia can only be restored once Kashmir is resolved.