WELCOME REMARKS – Interactive session with Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES)

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Interactive session with
Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES)

Peaceful Settlemet of Kashmir Dispute is an International Obligation

26 March 2019

Welcome Remarks by the Director General

May I extend a very warm welcome to the delegation of Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), especially its President Honorable Dr. Werner Fasslabend. Dr Fasslabend is also the president of the political academy of the Austrian Peoples Party. Having served as the Minister of Defense in Austria for nearly a decade, Dr Fasslabend has the first hand knowledge of issues affecting global and European security. From his wide experience we would like to benefit today on how he sees the situation arising out of the non-resolution of the longstanding pending dispute over Jammu and Kashmir that is still pending on the books of the United Nations despite several decades and scores of failed attempts to resolve this dispute.

I would also welcome the other members of the Austrian delegation, Mr. Peter Haider, President of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Austria. One notable feature of Dr Haider’s work is that he initiated the inauguration of the ‘International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace’ and the ‘Inter-religious Association for Peace and Development’ in Austria.

A warm welcome to Brig Walter Feichtinger, who is heading the Institute for Peacekeeping and Conflict Management at the National Defense Academy in Vienna.

Special thanks to all our Pakistani friends who have spared their time to exchange views with the Austrian colleagues on the situation in Kashmir, particularly how a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute, which is an international obligation, can help bring peace and stability to South Asia.

The Institute warmly welcomes:

  • Ambassador Inam ul Haq, former Minister for Foreign Affairs,
  • Senator Mushahid Hussain who has a decades long political career and has served at key positions in the government of Pakistan and in the Senate of Pakistan,
  • Senator Abdul Qayyum, who has served as a three star general in Pakistan Army and is now a well recognized defense analyst,
  • Honorable Sardar Attique Ahamd Khan, former Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir,
  • our Kashmiri friends, especially Mishal Malik, whose husband Yasin Malik has been facing the wrath of Indian security forces for years.

All these eminent persons are most familiar with different facets of the Kashmir cause, and have travelled far and wide to convey the narrative of the Kashmiris.

I understand the delegation is visiting different parts of the country including AJK and is well versed with the contours of the Kashmir dispute. As they would have noted, the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir is a matter of continuing concern. The people of Kashmir have waited for seven decades to have the dispute resolved as promised to them by UNSC resolutions. However, the Indian government has always frustrated any attempts to find a solution.

Every now and then, the dispute brings relations between India and Pakistan to sharp international focus. Most recently following the Pulwama incident the Indian government led by Prime Minster Modi decided to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and airspace. They found their match in Pakistani Air Force and ended up losing two planes that had entered our airspace. India has wrongly been trying to project Kashmir dispute as a manifestation of terrorism. Unfortunately, the Indian leadership has failed to read correctly the resolve of the Kashmiri people to secure their right to self determine their destiny.

The option of brutal use of force that BJP government has chosen to suppress the people of Kashmir is not working. The attempts being made by Modi government to change demography of Jammu and Kashmir is another move that is being stiffly resisted by the people of Kashmir.

A serious situation has arisen with regard to the human rights of the people of Kashmir which are being violated with no regard for international law or human values.

The July 2018 report by UN HC for HR says it all. It documents how systematically the human rights of the Kashmiris have been violated. The report also calls for a Commission of Inquiry. As always, the Indian government was quick to reject the report and has even denied access to the occupied Kashmir, where it is continuing to unleash atrocities on the innocent people.

At this session, we will talk about these issues. The order of the day is that I would first invite Dr Fasslabend to share his thoughts and observations. After that we would briefly hear other members of the group about their impressions. Then we would open the floor for interactive discussions and questions and answers.

May I now invite Dr Fasslabend to kindly share his thoughts with us.

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