2009: Fai Pitches for Special Envoy on Kashmir

“India said no to President Obama’s initiative to appoint a special envoy on Kashmir. The amazing thing was not the rejection of India to President Obama’s initiative but that the United States took the ‘NO’ of India as an answer,” Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the then Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center during a lecture titled “The Role of the United States in Resolving the Kashmir Dispute” at the Rumi Forum in Washington.

“The Kashmiri resistance, which is indigenous, spontaneous, peaceful and popular, involves the life and future of 15 million people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Because of its impact on relations between India and Pakistan, however, it directly affects the peace and stability of the South-Asian subcontinent. The denial of this right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir has brought these two neighboring countries to the brink of nuclear catastrophe,” Dr Fai said.

“There has always been bipartisan expression of support for the U.S. position toward Kashmir. It is apparent from: When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947- 48, the United States championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The U.S. was a principal sponsor of the resolution which was adopted by the Security Council on 21 April 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle,” he said

Dr. Fai said that the US position was in full conformity with the position taken by India at the UN. He quoted  N. Gopalaswami, Indian delegate to the UN who said at the Security Council on January 15, 1948: “The question of the future status of Kashmir vis-à-vis her neighbours and the world at large, and a further question, namely, whether she should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent, with a right to claim admission as a Member of the United Nations – all this we have recognized to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir, after normal life is restored to them.”

Dr. Fai suggested that a sincere and serious effort towards a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute must squarely deal with the realities of the situation and fully respond to the people’s rights involved in it.

“A peace process mounted on a fragile platform is bound to collapse. Indeed, any process that ignores the wishes of the people of Kashmir and is designed to sidetrack the United Nations will not only prove to be an exercise in futility but can also cause incalculable human and political damage,” he said.

Dr. Fai outlined the following “urgent” necessities:

(i) the appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir which would go a long way to hasten the progress of peace and reconciliation in the region of South Asia, particularly India, Pakistan & Afghanistan; and

(ii) the inclusion of the genuine leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in all future negotiations with India and Pakistan.