Barrister Sultan Mahmood visits Kashmir Centre Brussels
Brussels: The ICHR Kashmir Centre.EU hosted a luncheon debate on Thursday with Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, former Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir as the keynote speaker.
Attendees included members of the European Parliament, NGO representatives, staff of the European Commission, journalists, and other interested parties. Opening remarks were made by Frank Schwalba-Hoth, former MEP and political strategist.
Barrister A. Majid Tramboo thanked the former Prime Minister for taking the time to attend the event at the Kashmir Centre.EU. He went on to discuss the many ways in which the European Union can assist in finding a resolution to the Kashmir conflict and aid the people of Kashmir achieving their right to self-determination.
He said that the EU/India Free Trade Agreement was a positive step for both the European Union and India on the condition that a stipulation be made calling for respect for human rights by the Government of India in Indian Held Kashmir. He noted that it would be a contradiction should the EU, with its fundamental principles being based on human rights, to enter into such an agreement with a nation that is so flagrantly breaking the most serious of international human rights norms. Praising the European Parliament for passing its EU/FTA resolution, which included a strong reference to the need for a cessation in human rights abuses in Indian Held Kashmir, Barrister Tramboo called upon the European Commission to ensure that the request was included in any final document.
Referring to mass graves Barrister Tramboo called upon all of those present to assist the Kashmir Centre.EU in its pursuit of an investigation which would result in the identification of the over eight thousand bodies that have been discovered at this time. Praising the European Parliament Resolution on Mass Graves in Kashmir (August 2008) he regretted that the Indian Government had failed to undertake the impartial investigation as called for by the European Union.
Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, former Prime Minister of AJK, congratulated the successes of the Kashmir Centre.EU over its almost 10 year existence noting that the people of Kashmir see KCEU as their legitimate representatives in the European Union. The former PM said that he supported dialogue between India and Pakistan, that it was not prudent to leave two powerful nations toe to toe. He said that he had no objection to the Government of Pakistan Declaring MFN status to India but that it should not have been undertaken whilst human rights abuses were still ongoing in Indian Held Kashmir.
Barrister Mehmood went on to say that if the tensions between India and Pakistan are to be resolved, which is in the interest of each nation, then a resolution of the Kashmir conflict would be a necessary prelude.
Referring to the Indian bid for a seat on the security council the former Prime Minister said that there is a definite need and regional benefit to have a South Asian country on the security council. However, he asked how the Government of India can expect to sit on the council when it still fails to respect a number of resolutions that it passed regarding Kashmir.
Mr. P. J. Mir, Presenter of Q&A on the ARY TV News Network, highlighted how a resolution to the Kashmir conflict could usher in a new era of prosperity for all of the countries in the region. Like the previous speakers Mr. Mir offered his steadfast belief the road to peace in South Asia runs through Kashmir.