Pakistan's Kashmir Conference

Pakistan sponsored international conference  on Kashmir held at the UK parliament on Tuesday  adopted a resolution calling  for the settlement of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions of Kashmir. The resolution  urged the International Community including the United Nations "to take immediate and effective measures to address the human rights situation in Kashmir". The conference was addressed by Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Member British House of Lords, Sayeeda Warsi, shadow British Foreign Minister Debbie Abrahams, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake and ex-Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevick. Bondevick's presence was important as he recently visited both sides of divided Kashmir to hold dialogue with the political and civil society groups. In Srinagar, he held meeting with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.  He was among the major speakers at the conference and is reported to have highlighted the prevailing humanitarian situation in the state. The resolution  adopted by the participants condemned the human rights violations and loss of innocent lives through the use of pellet guns and disproportionate use of force in  Kashmir. 

Pakistan has been observing Kashmir Solidarity Day with great fanfare since 1990. The day is generally marked by the protest rallies and the solidarity speeches in the country. However, this time round, Pakistan chose to do something markedly different, holding a high profile conference at UK Parliament to try and draw the global attention towards Kashmir. By that yardstick, the conference can boast of some success as it was participated by  Debbie Abrahams,  Tom Brake and   Bondevick. And more importantly, it got the participants to  call for  the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions which call for holding of UN-supervised plebiscite to let Kashmiris choose between India and Pakistan.Pakistan  also made an effort to leverage the recent United Nations human rights report on Kashmir which detailed the atrocities perpetrated in the state over the past many several years. 

However,  Pakistan's efforts over the past many years to internationalize Kashmir have hardly borne any fruit. World doesn't seem to care much about what is happening in the state. New Delhi effectively controls the way the world looks at Kashmir. In fact, the world is now more partial towards India's point of view on the state. Kashmir is still largely seen more as an issue between India and Pakistan than a movement led by the people of the state. This  depressing state of affairs has led to perpetuation of the bloodshed in Kashmir and undermined chances of a settlement in the foreseeable future. Only ray of hope is for India and Pakistan to talk and sort the issue between themselves. Here's hoping that after the election India does respond positively to Pakistan's overtures for dialogue and seriously seeks to arrive at a solution to the festering issue.

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