Press Release, August 26
Peace activists disturbed over Kashmir violence
A meeting held by leading human rights activists at Lahore on 26th August, 2008, expressed serious concerns at the developments taking place in Srinagar and Jummu. The participants denounced the arrest of Kashmiri leaders Mr. Yasin Malik, Mir waiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Gilani. They called for their immediate release. In addition the participant endorsed the Washington Declaration signed by peace activists concerned with the region. They called upon South Asian human rights activists to play a role in reaching reconciliation and rights in the region.
The participants unanimously endorsed the following.
- That the people of Jammu and Kashmir are central to the India-Pakistan peace process and representative dialogue and affirms that a sustainable and just solution of the Kashmir dispute can be achieved only through democratically established procedures for ascertaining the will of the people of the state (as existing on 14/15 August 1947).
- That, in the context of the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh’s pledge for zero tolerance of human rights abuses, an independent and credible investigative commission should be set up to probe human rights abuses including the issue of mass graves recently discovered in the state.
- That the pace of India-Pakistan dialogue, particularly in relation to Jammu and Kashmir should be accelerated and given a realistic time frame. The dialogue should be inclusive and Kashmiris should be an integral part of this process.
- Urges that more Kashmir specific confidence buildings measures should be adopted, which will help in conquering fear and creating a congenial environment for a positive forward movement.
- Demand that all political prisoners languishing in jails, interrogation centres and detained under emergency laws should be immediately released.
- Demand that all draconian laws should be withdrawn and peoples’ fundamental freedoms and basic rights should be restored.
- Urges that all those elements who have tried to vitiate and communalize the state’s polity need to be identified and punished. While welcoming the withdrawal of the order to transfer land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, the conference condemns all efforts to communalize the situation.
- Demands that all internally and externally displaced people of Jammu and Kashmir, including Kashmiri Pandits, should be facilitated to return to their homes in safety and dignity.
Dr. Mubashir Hasan
Mr. I.A. Rehman
Dr. Mehdi Hasan
Mr. Hassain Naqi