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Evening Seminar: A Solution to Kashmir? (Litteraturhuset, Oslo, 23 April 2018)
Oslo Center in collaboration with Embassy of Pakistan, Oslo, Norway, organized a seminar and discussion entitled ‘A Solution to Kashmir?’, with Mushaal Hussain Mullick, peace activist and wife of Yasin Malik, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), and Sten Widmalm, professor of Political Science at Uppsala University, Sweden on 23 April 2018 at the Litteraturhuset, Oslo. President of Oslo Center and former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik moderated the session.
The speakers/ panelists talked about the current political situation in Kashmir and possible solutions to the protracted 70-year old conflict which has determined the political narrative and security relations between Pakistan and India. The panelists agreed that the Kashmir conflict has curiously been missing from media and public attention and has long been treated as a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India rather than a political and humanitarian issue.
Professor Widmalm observed that despite lapse of 70 years, the fate of Kashmir conflict evaded all signs of resolution. A solution could only be imagined if the significance of borders in the region could be reduced as done by European and Nordic countries. He added that a referendum on self determination would be extremely complex and prone to maneuvering due to diverse demographic composition of Kashmir and surrounding areas. He underscored that economic and strategic stability in the region, coupled with political will and foresight were crucial for the resolution of Kashmir conflict.
Ms. Mullick emphasized that global powers had a vital role to play for resolution of Kashmir conflict. A negotiated settlement should be preceded by demilitarization in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), fixation of time frame for conclusion of negotiations and guarantees by the UN and global powers. The outcome should be based on the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir. Ms. Mullick recounted her personal experiences while visiting her imprisoned husband in central prison. She narrated stories of women and young Kashmiri girls, including Asifa and Insha, who are subjected to rape, torture and daily humiliation by Indian security officials. Thousands of Kashmiri men had been missing, arrested or killed. She appealed to the international community to help the cause of peace and security in Kashmir, which could be achieved only if the Kashmiris were allowed to exercise their right of self determination.