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Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Published at 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK

Kashmir: Time for peace?

Talking Point ON AIR is broadcast live on BBC News Online and BBC World Service Radio on Sundays at 1405GMT.

Read our debate on the prospects for peace in Kashmir.

Your Reaction:

Your comments since the programme

Kashmir is the part of India thanks to respected Sardar Patel. Pakistan should stop the proxy war with India to claim Kashmir. The terrorists trained from Pakistan kills innocent Kashmiri people. The tourism industry has suffered a lot due to terrorism. I hope that Pakistan will learn the lesson from Kargil conflict and divert its attention to solve internal problems. Pakistan's economy is getting worse and worse everyday.
Bhavesh, USA

Their would be no "infiltration" if India lets the Kashmiri people decide their own fate. This brutal oppression of Kashmiri Muslims has gone on too long, its about time the sleepy heads of this unjust world are turning. The message has been very clear from the Mujahideens - Kashmir will not become another Kosova!
Furqan Mehmood, USA

It's strange and shameful that the so called leaders of the world ... who call Kashmir a conflict between two of the world's poorest countries and view it as a "barren" piece of land. The Fact is that we the Muslims are fighting to liberate Kashmir, to liberate our Muslim brothers, because it's our belief, it's our religion and it's our faith.
Haider, Pakistan

It's a fact that both India and Pakistan cannot afford a war. Islamic militants talk about jihad, and today half of the world's unrest and wars are due to these people. They should ask themselves what they have done to improve the lives of the Islamic population in the world. I wish the founding fathers of the independent India had decided to ask all the Muslim people to leave the country and go to Pakistan. Both Hindus and Muslims would have lived in peace. Half of India's problems would have been solved.
Sandeep Singh, USA

The Kashmir problem was generated not today but fifty years before. So nobody should analyse the problem on today's basis. Everyone should analyse the problem after going to the origin. If we go to fifty years before we can see there were both the Hindu Pandits and the Muslims in both POK and IOK. Several Hindus had been killed and forcibly driven out from their place and the issue has been made on religion basis. If we see fifty years before there was peace, no fighting was there. Thing is Kashmir is not only for Muslims , its for Hindus , Tibetans and other minorities. So peace will come only then when there will be no provocation from outside and there will be a negotiation meeting with the Kashmiri people and Indian Govt.
Kausik, India

There has been no evidence so far that the people of Kashmir have been singled out for misery or affliction by the Govt. of India for the past 50+ years. They suffer along with the impoverished people of other Indian states. People who are so concerned about their right of self-determination should advocate for the same right for people in provinces in Pakistan like Punjab or Sind.
Seema Aslam, USA

It's really unfortunate that despite similar culture, we haven't been able to resolve this long standing issue of Kashmir. Instead of spending on defence both of us must look towards the development of the region. Pakistan has paid heavily for its misadventure on Kargil but its appreciable that Sharif has avoided a possible war with India.
Vivas Chawala, Finland

Lot of comments have been made about the independence of Kashmir by the Muslim populace of Kashmir. What they want to justify is that they were brutally murdered and raped by the Indian forces. What about the thousands of Kashmiri Hindus who were brutally assaulted, murdered and raped by the so called Kashmiri freedom fighters. Why did they kill the Kashmiri Hindus?
Adesh Dhar, India

There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. I come from a the state of Kerala in India where there are Muslim majority districts. If it is religion, that is the ground on which Kashmir should be separated from India, how about these Muslim majority districts like Malappurum in Kerala? Also if one follows the logic of partition, shall we kick all Muslims out of India?. India is a secular nation of all Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. It is a democratic country where the will of the majority will prevail over that of the minority.
Dileep Sankar, Australia

Kashmir is nothing to do with Pakistan. Why can they not leave us to sort out our own problems?
Mahat Machoos, India

It is ironic (but not surprising given the history of civilisations everywhere) that two peoples (Indians and Pakistanis) can see things so differently with regard to Kashmir. Most Indians see Pakistanis as "meddling" in India's affairs and threatening their security whereas most Pakistanis see Indian "oppression" in Kashmir and their support for the "freedom fighters" as a holy cause. Seems that a situation like this cannot be resolved bilaterally but would invariably need the help of the United Nations.
Kishore Pamadi, USA

Kashmir Conflict
With Nuclear & Space technology at its fingertips, a battle-hardened Armed Forces that ranks amongst the best in the world, a vibrant economy, and a intellectually advanced populace India is a regional superpower in the Asia-Pacific. Pakistan is a retrogressive medieval society decayed at the core. To discuss these two countries together is laughable.
Islam Ahmed, USA

Talking Point - On Air

President Bill Clinton, it's your turn now, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani Nation has honoured the commitment made with you. It was a real tough decision to take, however, since it was committed by our Prime Minister, we all stand by with him. Now the Kashmiri and Pakistani people are looking towards the American President to use his personal influence to solve the outstanding Kashmir dispute.
The Kashmiris are under inordinate occupation of brutal Indian forces for the last 52 years and suffering humiliation, torture, abduction, killings and their mothers, sisters and wives are being raped, just because they are demanding freedom, which is their innate right. How long the indifferent marble-hearted world will remain a silent observer to this cruelty. Mr. President it's your turn now to intervene and stop the running sore once forever.
Bilal B, Pakistan

I feel that both the countries are filled with fanatic people more interested in their personal pride and glory than the people of Kashmir who everybody tends to treat more as a piece of furniture than human beings. It is high time these countries act as mature adults than whimpering kids fighting over a piece of toy.
Shankar Krishnan, Melbourne

I know one thing that is if you are sincere than you can solve the problem of Kashmir issues otherwise we will fight with each other without any result. Being a Pakistani I must say that we can not afford a war at the cost of innocent people's life.
Iqbal Mahmood Ghani, Saudi Arabia

UN and G-8 countries must take interest to resolve the 50 years old Kashmir issue and why India is not willing to involve any third party to resolve the issue because they know that Kashmiris are in the right for their jihad for freedom.
Tariq Mahmood, Kuwait

I think that both Pakistan and Indian governments (not common people) are once again acting like puppets which is controlled by the hands of the USA and other hypocrite allies. Don't mention UN because it will only do what the USA asks it to do. There is a time now when other countries should realise the potentials and solidarity of the two nations and these two nations should act wisely using their own minds to resolve the crisis and let the "Human Beings" in the region live normally without any fears not in the era of tension and uncertainty.
I would also suggest the UN and the USA along with other so called strong allies that they should not interfere in the matters of the other countries (by rising tensions and creating political dramas).
Waqar Ahmed, UK

I am dumfounded to see two poor countries fighting over a piece of barren land and wasting their income procuring arms and ammunition from developed countries. Why don't we realise that we are perpetuating a bigger crime on our future generations by depriving them of basic education and health and giving our hard-earned money to an already rich west.
Sunil Sharma, India

I am dismayed listening to the rhetoric that the Kashmir problem be solved 'bilaterally'. Can you name any conflict of the magnitude of Kashmir which has ever been solved 'bilaterally'? India is just using this 'bilateralism' to perpetuate its occupation of Kashmir.
Jamil Mirza

Who wants peace? India, Pakistan, Kashmiris or the International community? Every country in the world has minorities. Are they ready to listen to the demand of every minority to form an independent state? Let peace prevail after a war.
Mukesh Garg, India

The need of the hour is to develop more understanding between the people of India and Pakistan and diffuse the environment of suspicion and distrust that prevails there. Even if the Kashmir-problem were to be solved, some other Kashmir-like problem would erupt in this continuing environment of distrust between the two peoples.
Rann, UK

Why isn't UN getting involved in this issue now? It only took them two days to decide on the fate of Kuwait and then to act upon it. It didn't take them that long to decide the fate of Bosnia and Kosovo. If someone has to be blamed, it should be the United Nations.

I think only the Kashmiri people can decide whether to join Pakistan or India or on another solution. This kind of war has no winner.
Reza, Iran

A good percentage of Pakistanis are living below subsistence level and the situation is the same in India. Why the hell do these two governments spend billions of dollars fighting an unnecessary war when the money they are spending on weapons and especially on nuclear weapons could be used to improve standards of living? I think the leaders of both Pakistan and India should be tried for war crimes and for deprivation of their peoples. I believe the peoples of both so called Indian Kashmir and Pakistani Kashmir should be granted full independence and both Pakistan and India should get out of all the territories of Kashmir.
Paul Michael, Lebanon

The solution of the Kashmir problem lies in a phased plan that involves the active participation of the UN. First, both Indian and Pakistani troops must be withdrawn from the Line of Control and replaced by UN peacekeepers. Second, India should withdraw its troops from Kashmir and replace them with a police force. Third, the whole of Kashmir be given to civilian rule and Kashmir be allowed to decide its fate in a popular vote. Kashmir rightfully belongs to Kashmiris, not to Pakistan or India. They should have the final say in what they want their future to be. Anything less than this will only be a temporary solution, which will inevitably erupt into a conflagration again in the future.
Dr. Wasiq M. Bokhari, USA

People had the opportunity to choose between India and Pakistan by re-location in 1947, as did my own parents. People voted with their feet. So there should be no dispute now. If free from outside interference from Pakistan, the whole area of Jammu and Kashmir stands to be prosperous for the local community. One should remember that the area is home to different and large communities including Buddhists, Hindus as well as Muslims and most people want to lead a simple peaceful life without becoming part of a political game.
R Kumar, Norway

Your comments during the programme

The fact that bilateralism has not worked in India Pakistan relations is evident. We need international mediation.
Tariq Shah, USA

Waqas Ahmed Khan Pitafi from Islamabad
I think this is time to settle the long held problem of Kashmir. That can only be fixed through Jihad. Let us do it and do it right now.
Waqas Ahmed Khan Pitafi, Islamabad

The real issue seems to be lost in the present situation. The issue is not about India or Pakistan's superiority over the region. The issue is the denial of self-determination of the Kashmiri People.
Farhat Rehman, Canada

Captain Shridhar Nivas
The UN should act as the world's policeman - the threat of economic and political isolation should suffice to settle the conflict without Kosovo-style military action.
Captain Shridhar Nivas, Aboard a ship in the Indian Ocean

A plebiscite at gun point by a vocal and fanatic minority can never be genuine. It would be like the British accepting a plebiscite in Northern Ireland when the IRA was at the height of its terrorism.
Vinod Dawda, UK

Just a few days ago, Indonesia showed a lot of courage by agreeing with the referendum given to East Timore by the UN. This made a way for the people of East Timore to decide their own fate. Can't India do the same to Kashmir and thus show that they are brave and sympathetic enough as a nation?
Shamsur Rahman, Bangladesh

The opinions in both India and Pakistan are so strong that no politician can ever take a risky decision without risking his political base. Neither country can win a war. As for the international community it will be too difficult for it to impose military or economic action to coerce either of the countries because of their size, geo-political and other technical considerations. The only way in which this problem can be solved is to make the people inter-dependent through economic and cultural co-operation which will reduce their mutual distrust. If the sides are not willing to co-operate then I am afraid there will be a nuclear war, talibanisation of Pakistan and both countries will receive the same treatment as Iraq.
N. Jambunathan, Madras

Dr. Asim Tahseen, Pakistani living in Moscow
I think it is time for peace but I think the UN should take a role in the solution. A referendum on self-determination is also necessary.
Asim Tahseen, Moscow

India dreads referendum in Kashmir because she knows the possible outcome. Yet referendum is the only way out of this problem.
Ruby Jabben and Maria Shah

Indians have been made to believe that Pakistan is responsible for all that has been happening in Kashmir recently. The truth is contrary to that. The uprising in Kashmir is absolutely indigenous and its the reason why the Indians do not allow UN observers to visit there. Not allowing UN to use the Srinigar airport is a case in point. Another event that the Indians are forgetting is the Siachen glaciers. Who was the aggressor there?
M Sohail, Pakistan

Vikas Dabeer from India
Terrorism is not the solution or the way to get freedom. Pakistan should categorically stop supporting the terrorists and only then can there be peace.
Vikas Dabeer, India

Your comments before we went ON AIR

The world is about to enter a new millennium, can we afford to be at war? Poverty is at its peak both in India and in Pakistan so nobody stands to gain from war except the politicians. They have always exploited the situation for the security of their political gains and this is at the cost of poor innocent people .
Shabbir Abdulla, Pakistan

The only dispute regarding Kashmir is that Pakistan has invaded it several times in the past 52 years and must withdraw all its forces from there. There is no other dispute. If Pakistan did not learn a lesson in 1971, it will learn a more bitter lesson in 1999.
Ravindra Rao, United Arab Emirates

Mediation and plebiscite are the only solutions for Kashmir.
Lucy, Pakistan

As a British Kashmiri I feel the only solution to the Kasmir issue is the one that includes the Kashmiris themselves. We all know that both India and Pakistan are playing power politics at the expense of Kashmiris. UN resolutions that were promised over 50 years ago clearly state Kashmir is neither part of India nor Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan should withdraw their forces as promised. India and Pakistan can have as many bilateral talks/agreements as they want. If Kashmiris are not involved in these talks then these agreements cannot be binding.
Sagir Ahmed, UK

If Israel and the Arabs can sit down together, so can the Indians and Pakistanis. Neither country can afford the continued arms race. Both are beggars seeking alms but armed to the teeth, an unacceptable and untenable situation in the long run for the billions living in India and Pakistan.
Babar Shameem, USA

Peace and dialogue are needed desperately, before Kashmiris are humiliated further and wiped out by the Indian military might and before the Afghan model of administration is thrust upon Kashmiris by Pakistan. Whilst the two (India and Pakistan) wrestle and fight for ridges and peaks it is time that Kashmiris themselves are asked to decide their future.
GR Mufti, UK

India should agree to the principle that a long lasting settlement of the Kashmir Issue can only be solved by the Kashimirs themselves. It is time that India respected the Kashmiris and arranged a general election to find out what the Kashmiris want and give it to them. If not, the same unwanted situation is going to prevail and peace will not be achieved for a long time to come.
Abdullah Yusuf, Bangladesh

Yes it is time for peace, but the question remains peace on what terms? Unless peace is founded on just grounds that take into account the wishes of the people of Kashmir, no peace is possible. The world knows India's position on this point and this is why India refuses to accept any mediation. The international community has a duty to get involved if it wants to save the region from an impending holocaust.
Dr. Shamsul Islam, Canada

Both countries are as beligerent as each other. It is time for international mediation and/or sanctions to get the Pakistani troops out of Kashmir and the Indian soldiers from burning Kashmiri villages.
Viqar Ahmad, UK

There can be no peace in the region unless Pakistan is tought a lesson. Pakistan has always been the agressor and India the victim but this is the first time the world has seen the truth beyond the politics. If the infiltrators do not leave voluntarily then they must be driven out by force before we can talk peace.
Ajeet Tailor, USA

India and Pakistan are wasting millions of dollars in deciding who should get control over how much of Kashmir. But these two countries have a million other problems to take care of. When many of their people are illiterate and living in proverty, the fight over Kashmir is a luxury for both countries. The international community should come forward in forging a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir problem.
Reza Monem, Australia

Peace is all very well. But India can only hope for peace if they show Pakistan they mean business. The "good guy" image will not work with Pakistan, as , unfortunately, they only recognise brute force.BR> Ved Shenag, India

It is time that Pakistan realises the futility of war and India realises that they need to come to terms with a well defined border.
Amrit Yegnanrayan, USA

It is high time that these political games are stopped and peace restored.
Vicmalloy, India

It is time for India to realise that Kashmir is a disputed territory and that it's future must be determined by the Kashmiris in accordance with UN resolutions.
M. I. Asghar, USA

Yes it is time for peace. But one thing to remember about the whole Kashmir issue is that Kashmir is one of three distinct regions in what is termed as the state of 'Jammu and Kashmir' by India and 'Azad Kashmir' by Pakistan. Kashmiris themselves fail to take into account that there are two other distinct regions, namely Jammu and Ladhakh in which the people have different languages and customs to those of Kashmir. These areas were only united into one under Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu in the mid 19th century. When Kashmiris speak of independence, do they speak of independence just for them or for the people of Ladhakh and Jammu as well? If they do, then on whose authority? The whole issue of an 'independent' Kashmir stems from the fact that some people still don't separate religion and politics. Throughout history, most wars have been fought because of this and Kashmir is no exception. Religion should not be forced onto people. It is a private personal issue to which everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In an independent Kashmir, what would be the fate of the Hindu Kashmiris?
Arvind, UK

The only solution I see to accept the line of control as an International border for Pakistan and India. Both countries should do more for the people living in Kashmir.
Dr. Swapan K. Datta, Philippines

Kashmiris are a people different from Indians. Why should they not be allowed independence if that is what the Kashmiris want. India is suffering from the common problem many big countries go through. The inability to give up territories which do not wish to remain in the nation. History has shown time and again that you cannot force a people to remain in a country. This is a war that India cannot win and can ill afford. Furthermore, India already has too many problems on its hands. The politicians should try helping the poor people in India first.
Adul, Malaysia

The world has to remember that India has more muslims than Pakistan and we cannot have every other region in India asking for self determination. Kashmir was acceded to India according to the original agreement during partition and thats that.
Paul RK Dominic, USA

Final Votes


Yes: 62% No: 38%

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