Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center Observed Anniversary of Sheikh Abdul Aziz
WASHINGTON, DC. August 11, 2009. The Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center is honored to pay homage today to a giant of a man who gave that last full measure of devotion in unflagging pursuit of a just and noble cause. The anniversary of Sheikh Abdul Aziz is celebrated all over the world to remind the Indian leadership that the mission of Sheikh Abdul Aziz – the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir - never dies.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center said that Sheikh Abdul Aziz was a popular leader who was assassinated at the age of 52 when he was leading a peaceful procession in order to cross the Ceasefire Line – a line that is in fact a line of conflict. Sheikh Sahib was gunned down by Indian soldiers along with 9 innocent Kashmiris because he wanted to remind the world about the right of self-determination that was agreed upon by both India and Pakistan, and championed by the democratic powers, including the United States.
Dr. Fai emphasized that in sharp contrast to many political giants, Sheikh Sahib was self effacing, not self aggrandizing. He taught unity and compromise with the wisdom that if we do not all hang together, we will assuredly all hang separately. It was his spectacular success in unifying various ranks that frightened the enemy into plotting his dastardly death in 2008.
The charismatic Sheikh Sahib was also imprisoned scores of times for the sole "crime" of speaking out the truth, never compromising his principles and calling for justice, said Fai.
The Executive Director warned that Kashmir problem has caused immense hardships to the people of the region of South Asia; the people of Kashmir in particular have been subjected to the worst kind of barbarous and inhuman treatment. Government of India should see the reason and take steps to resolve this question by accepting the APHC’s demand of tripartite talks - Governments of India and Pakistan and the leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir - without further delay. Government of India should also listen to India’s prominent personalities, like Vir Sanghvi who wrote in Hindustan Times, “If you believe in democracy, then giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination is the correct thing to do.”
The people of Kashmir will never forget the selfless contribution and the tireless efforts of Sheikh Abdul Aziz. His efforts will remain forever a milestone in the history of the freedom struggle of Kashmir. Let us all rededicate ourselves to the vision of the Sheikh Abdul Aziz and continue our struggle in unity with full faith in truthfulness and fairness of the cause of Kashmir, Fai concluded.
I have worked in South Asian human security, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction for the past five years. I have traveled extensively in India Jammu Kashmir, and worked as a mediator on the ground between sectarian groups, political organizations and military officials from both India and Pakistan. I have spoken on many panels in Washington DC, New York and New Delhi regarding the situation in Kashmir alongside Ambassadors (India, Pakistan and US), Journalists, Members of Parliament (India and Pakistan), US State Dept., Supreme Court Justices (India) and academics. Finally, I also advise US Congressmen/women, Senators and US Government officials on the security situation in South Asia.