Kashmir Solidarity Day Conference.

Kashmir Solidarity Day Conference.

‘Promotion and protection of human rights is a global responsibility which the international community has failed to discharge in respect of the Kashmiri people.’ This was a unanimous view expressed at a Conference in Lahore today (February 5 2020) organized by Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) to affirm Pakistan’s solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir who have been under siege since India’s illegal abrogation of Article 370/35A on August 5, 2019.

The Conference was attended by a cross section of the public with a panel of 20 eminent speakers which included Former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Former Senator S. M. Zafar, Kashmiri leaders Mishal Malik and Nazir Gilani, Justice Nasira Javed, reputed media personalities Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami, Sohail Wariach, Salman Ghani, Sajid Mir, Irshad Arif, Qayum Nizami, Habib Akram, and former Ambassadors Shaukat Umar, Iqbal Ahmad Khan, Shahid Malik and Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan.

The Conference noted with concern that Kashmir Valley today was the scene of the biggest, bloodiest and perhaps the most obscure military occupation in the world. India’s illegal and unilateral steps seeking to change the status of Jammu & Kashmir through its 5 August 2019 actions in contravention of international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions have once again brought the entire region to the brink of another India-Pakistan conflict.

The Conference declared that use of force is not and has never been the answer to peoples’ quest for freedom. Popular movements cannot be suppressed by force. The only durable solution to the Kashmir dispute lies in allowing the Kashmiris to choose their own destiny as pledged to them by the international community in UN Security Council resolutions. There is no justification whatsoever for denying the inalienable right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Specific recommendations emerging from the Conference were as follows:

 UN’s human rights agencies, notably the Human Rights Council, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as other international agencies including ICRC, Amnesty International and International Crisis Group must remain engaged to monitor the on-ground situation in Indian-held Kashmir.

 Over the years, Kashmir has magnified manifold becoming today a veritable nuclear flash point. The United Nations must fulfill its responsibility to prevent the Kashmir issue from erupting into another India-Pakistan conflict with perilous consequences for the region and the world at large.

 The world powers, including the United States should facilitate a fair and lasting settlement of the Kashmir dispute. India must restore normalcy in the occupied Kashmir by ending human rights abuses and its illegal actions to change the nature of the disputed territory through demographic engineering in Kashmir.

 India must avoid intimidation and hurling of threats against Pakistan. The world’s major powers, especially the five permanent members of the UNSC owe it to the world not to let the impending risk of genocide in the Indian occupied Kashmir become reality.

 The UN Security Council must mandate UNMOGIP to expand and strengthen its monitoring mechanisms on both sides of the LOC and to promptly report all violations to the Council.

 The UN General Assembly should also play its due role in advancing the cause of peace and justice in Kashmir. One effective modality available to the Assembly in this regard is to invite the ICJ for its Advisory Opinion on the illegality of India’s recent actions seeking to alter the status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

 UN Secretary-General must appoint without further delay an eminent person of an international standing as his special envoy on Kashmir to monitor the situation in Kashmir including the human rights situation.

 It is also time for world’s living Nobel Peace Laureates to wake up and smell the gunpowder in the streets of Indian occupied Kashmir. Pakistan must mobilise their moral weight behind the Kashmir cause.

1st Intra-Afghan Roundtable; Islamabad

1st Intra-Afghan Roundtable; Islamabad

As part of the ‘Lahore Process’, Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) organized an intra-Afghan dialogue roundtable at Serena Hotel Islamabad on January 14, 2020.

The Lahore Process for Intra-Afghan dialogue involving the leaders of the Afghan political parties and factions was initiated in June 2019 at Bhurban.
The Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) offers a unique platform for political leaders, policy makers and civil society leaders from around the world to share ideas and to work together in the cause of peace.

The Islamabad roundtable was attended by a 13 member Afghan delegation led by Haji Muhammad Mohaqiq, Head of Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan. This was the first in a series of the similar intra-Afghan roundtables proposed to be held providing a platform to other Afghan political parties and groups to facilitate their mutual discussions on Afghanistan’s long awaited transition to peace.

During the Islamabad roundtable, the leaders from Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan agreed that Afghans alone are the final arbiters of their destiny and that an afghan led and afghan owned reconciliation was necessary to ensure smooth and orderly peace transition in Afghanistan. They also agreed that the process of intra-Afghan dialogue needs to be accelerated to sustain the peace momentum generated in recent months.

The Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan leaders appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating the Afghan Peace Process and thanked the LCPR for providing them with a friendly forum to pursue intra-Afghan dialogue.

Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR),
Islamabad.

International Conference On Kashmir Ankara (Turkey)

International Conference On Kashmir Ankara (Turkey)

“There is but one fair, just, legal and moral solution to Kashmir, which was provided by the United Nations acknowledging the right of the people of Kashmir to determine their own future through an impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices.” This was the message that came out loud and clear from a two-day international conference on Kashmir titled, “Kashmir Turmoil: Emerging Threats to Peace and the Role of International Community” organized by Lahore Center for Peace Research in collaboration with Turkish Think Tank “Institute of Strategic Thinking” (SDE) on 20-21 November 2019, in Ankara, Turkey.

The Conference was attended as special guests by President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan, Vice President of Turkey Mr. Fuat Oktay, Pakistan’s Senator Sherry Rehman, Member of UK Parliament Lord Nazir Ahmed, Chief Justice of Turkey Mr Ismail Rustu Cirit, Member of Turkish Parliament Erkan Akcay, member of Turkish Parliament Sureyya Sadi Bilgic, Chairman Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Coordinator, Self-Determination Council Mr. Ranjit Singh, President Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights Syed Nazir Gillani, Scholar-Historian and Author on Kashmir Prof Victoria Schofield, and CNN Anchor and Analyst Mrs. Kimberly Dozier.

Eminent speakers from several countries including Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Russia, Germany, Netherland, United Kingdom and United States participated in the Conference which was co-chaired by LCPR Chairman, Pakistan’s Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad and President of Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) Muhammet Sawas Kafkasyali. The Conference was attended by a distinguished audience consisting of parliamentarians, academia, members of the diplomatic corps, journalists, members of think tank community and students.

The Conference reviewed the historical, legal, political and humanitarian dimensions of the current crisis in Kashmir where India is not only seeking to change the demographic reality of its occupied territories but also taking arbitrary measures in utter disregard of normal life through frequent curfews, arrests, detentions and sometimes disappearances of innocent civilians. A complete military lockdown keeps the people of Kashmir deprived of basic liberties including access to the outside world. The continued wholesale incarceration of Kashmiri political leadership including the erstwhile pro-India leaders has resulted in a political vacuum which carries the danger of hijacking of the resistance movement by extremist elements.

The Conference noted with concern the prospect of a genocide in Indian-occupied Kashmir, if the current military crackdown continues unabated. Besides the human rights abuses in Indian-held Kashmir, the basic dispute over the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir remains unaddressed. India and Pakistan have fought wars and still remain locked in a conflictual mode. Major powers and the United Nations have an obligation to prevent any new conflict between India-Pakistan over Kashmir.

As one of the oldest unresolved international conflicts, Kashmir today is a sombre reminder to the world that it cannot continue to ignore the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people. A solution has to be found in conformity with the wishes of the Kashmiri people as called for in UN Security Council resolutions. There was consensus at the Conference that no matter what India claims, the situation in Kashmir today is highly worrisome requiring urgent intervention by the international community. The world community also needs to rush relief supplies to the beleaguered people in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

Specific recommendations emerging from the Conference include:

  • Kashmir is a question involving the fundamental right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people, pledged to them by the international community as well as by both India and Pakistan in UN Security Council resolutions. Beyond UNSC resolutions, there is no compact formula or tailor-made solution available for addressing this long outstanding issue.
  • Over the years, Kashmir has turned into a global issue of peace and security. It has magnified manifold becoming today a veritable nuclear flash point. The United Nations must fulfill its responsibility to prevent the Kashmir issue from erupting into another India-Pakistan conflict with perilous consequences for the region and beyond.
  • The world powers, including the United States should also facilitate these efforts to achieve a fair and lasting settlement of the dispute, fair to the people most immediately involved and fair to their own commitments to freedom and human rights. They must stand on the side of justice and legality. It will earn the gratitude of generations in Kashmir, in Pakistan and even in India itself.
  • To start with, India must restore normalcy in Kashmir by ending human rights abuses and its ill-motivated efforts to change the nature of the disputed territory through demographic engineering in Kashmir. Revocation of these illegal Indian actions and release of political and civilian prisoners followed by resumption of a political dialogue between the parties concerned could set the stage for a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue. Meanwhile India must avoid intimidation and hurling of threats against Pakistan.
  • The UN Secretary-General must also consider appointing an eminent person of an international standing from the list of World’s Elders as his special envoy on Kashmir to monitor the situation in Kashmir including the human rights situation and other illegal measures being taken by India to change the demographic reality of the occupied territory.
  • UN’s human rights agencies, notably the Human Rights Council, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as other international agencies including ICRC, Amnesty International and International Crisis Group must remain engaged to monitor the on-ground situation in Indian-held Kashmir.
  • As recommended by United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights in their two successive reports, a commission of enquiry should be established to carry out independent investigation into human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

The Conference placed on record its gratitude to the Turkish Government for its cooperation and hospitality and also expressed appreciation to all the distinguished participants for their valuable contribution in making the Conference a great success.

Ankara (Turkey) November 22, 2019

2nd International Conference on Global Peace (IGCP)

2nd International Conference on Global Peace (IGCP)

Conference Theme: “Emergence of Inter-Regional Cooperation: shaping path of stability and prosperity”.

Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) organized 2nd International Conference on Global Peace (IGCP) in collaboration with Turkish think-tank, Center for Strategic Studies of South Asia (GASAM) in Istanbul. The conference brought together many scholars, international experts, and diplomats in the city.

Chairman LCPR Mr. Shamshad A. Khan said, peace and development go hand in hand, and nothing can pave the way for peace and security more than economic development by adopting inter-regional cooperation. He said CPEC is not just a developmental project of bilateral level, adopting an approach of inter-regional cooperation Afghanistan, Central Asian land locked states, Iran and India can be beneficiary of CPEC. He highlighted the significance of vigorous campaigns at global level to resolve the long-standing questions of Palestine and Kashmir in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions.

The Conference participants emphasized that Asia must capitalize on its own resources and reclaim its role as a balancing factor in the world affairs by carving out a new niche for itself in the global geo-political matrix. Asian states must rise above the sub-regional mode and concentrate on a common Asian cause by concerting their policies on issues of global relevance. It is about time to rise above their differences and resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy and built a legacy of peace for future generations.

Afghan Peace Conference, the “Lahore Process”

Afghan Peace Conference, the “Lahore Process”

Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) organized one day conference on June 22, 2019 at PC Bhurban on Afghan Peace Process termed as the “Lahore Process”. The theme of the conference as mentioned by the Chairman, LCPR, Mr. Shamshad A. Khan was “listening to our Afghan brothers”.

In his inaugural address, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan His Excellency Mr. Shah Mehmood Quraishi said that: “Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan is clear; we support an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbours”. Significant Afghan political, religious and tribal leaders including Gulbadin Hikmatyar, Hanif Atmar, Muhammad Karim Khalilii, Pir Syed Hamid Gillani and Fawzia Koofi, graced the event with their participation.

The conference participants acknowledged that Pakistan has been contributing as a facilitator for the peace of Afghanistan. There was a consensus among all 59 representatives of the various Afghan organizations that the war needs to end now and intra-Afghan dialogue is the key for Afghanistan long-lasting peace. The Afghan guest speakers also urged Pakistan to extend cooperation to explore more opportunities of economic engagement and cultural integration for the greater good of both the states and consequently for the regional stability.

The Afghan dignitaries pointed out that peace is the greatest desire of today’s Afghanistan. For a long lasting peace structural changes are required and the emphasis must be given on domestic concerns for a broad-based political solution to the Afghanistan. Thus, a sociological transformation grounded on civil rights in general and women rights in particular is the pivot point for the structural change.

Mr. Shaharyar Afridi, the Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), in his concluding remarks appreciated the efforts of LCPR for organizing the conference on Afghan Peace Process. He urged the Afghan brothers to resolve all their differences indigenously as Afghanistan is an independent and sovereign state and its leadership should take all decisions without any external intervention to achieve lasting peace under Afghan peace process.