Srinagar: Senior pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani has urged the SAARC countries to intervene in resolving the Kashmir issue by encouraging India to stop the reign of terror in Jammu and Kashmir and initiating measures to build confidence among the people.
The octogenarian leader wrote a letter to SAARC head and Nepal president Arjun Bahadur Thapa on the occasion of the conference of interior ministers in Islamabad.
Geelani offered a 6-point charter to begin confidence building measures that would pave way for the resolution of Kashmir.
The charter included acceptance of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory, repeal of harsh laws, demilitarization and offering political space to the people advocating right to self-determination.
Geelani has detailed the happenings in Kashmir in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and has accused the Indian authorities of using live ammunition into protesters who had poured onto streets to express grief, anger and outrage through peaceful demonstrations across Kashmir.
“This has left 50 people dead and more than 4,000 wounded so far,” Geelani wrote.
He said that Indian forces have killed more than a hundred thousand people in Kashmir region and around half a million people in Jammu region, disappeared tens of thousands of people, maimed thousands, imprisoned and tortured hundreds of thousands since 1947.
“The Indian military has used rape and molestation as an instrument to demoralize the occupied people. This situation has not only destroyed the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also resulted in three wars and numerous confrontations between, now nuclear-armed states of India and Pakistan, whose meagre resources are being eaten up by an endless and fruitless arms race in a region plagued by abject poverty, hunger, disease and lack of basic amenities and opportunity,” Geelani wrote.
Geelani while highlighting the international dimension and disputability of Kashmir recognized by the UN security Council, has urged the SAARC head to urge India to take the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to begin a peace process.
He said that India must accept the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir and announce the acceptance of the people’s right to self-determination, announce rapid demilitarization process from Jammu and Kashmir under credible international monitoring, repeal draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) that provide the legal immunity to state perpetrators of crimes against humanity, release all the political prisoners, withdraw house arrest and restore their right to free political activity withdrawing all cases against them, allow UN Special Rapporteurs and all international human rights and humanitarian organizations to work in Jammu and Kashmir and announce/ ensure free political space in Jammu and Kashmir for those advocating peoples’ right to self-determination.
“If these steps are taken with a sense of urgency and responsibility, they can help in restoring calm and peace in an agitated population and pave way for the processes required for the final and just resolution of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir,” Geelani said in his letter.