I.P.O. Information Service


Global Discourse on Kashmir at the European Parliament


Brussels, European Parliament, 3 April 2008/RE/20928c-is

In a keynote address on "The Kashmir Problem between Law and Realpolitik," delivered at the Global Discourse on Kashmir 2008, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, called upon the governments of India and Pakistan to follow up on the pledges made earlier and enter into constructive negotiations for a just and peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. In his lecture at the European Parliament before delegates from both parts along the Line of Control in Kashmir, as well as from India and Pakistan, and from the European Parliament, Dr. Koechler said that, so far, in spite of all the declarations of goodwill and a readiness to negotiate, both governments have been rather timid in moving forward. "What is needed in this historical constellation are bold steps to lead both countries away from the traditional enemy stereotypes and the attitude of deep mistrust." Concluding his comprehensive analysis of the basic requirements of a just and durable solution, the President of the I.P.O. emphasized that "reconciliation and mutual recognition of rights (especially when those include the right to self-determination on the one hand and the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity on the other) cannot be imposed through pressure from outside. International actors – whether governmental or non-governmental – may, under specific circumstances, be facilitators of dialogue. However, a just and lasting solution can only be achieved on the basis of a tripartite agreement between the people of Kashmir and the states of India and Pakistan."

The two-day meeting (1-2 April) was jointly organized by the All-Party Group for Kashmir (APGK) in the European Parliament and the International Council for Human Rights / Kashmir Centre. It dealt with the changing perceptions on Kashmir in India and Pakistan and discussed some of the main points of the Parliament's 2007 resolution on Kashmir. The sessions were chaired by members of the European Parliament, among them Mr. James Elles, Chairman of the All-Party Group for Kashmir; Mr. Gary Titley, Leader of the Labour Party in the European Parliament; Ms. Elizabeth Lynne, Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs; Mr. Robert Avon, Chairman of the South Asia Delegation of the European Parliament; Ms. Neena Gill, Chairwoman of the Delegation for Relations with India; Mr. Jo Leinen, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs; and Mr. Çem Özdemir, member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Among the speakers from the region were Mr. Vijay Bakaya, former Chief Secretary of the State of Jammu & Kashmir; Mr. Farooq Siddiqui, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (R); Mr. Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of the Pakistan Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Major General (rtd.) Ashok Kumar Mehta (India); and members of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC). On the second day of the meeting, the discourse was continued via satellite video link with participants in Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capitals of Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir respectively. This teleconference provided for the first time an opportunity to Kashmiris from both sides of the border to interact with members of the European Parliament.

In a declaration adopted at the end of the meeting, the participants welcomed the progress made in confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan and reaffirmed their commitment to a settlement of the Kashmir dispute by peaceful means. They expressed the hope that future meetings will also be held in India and Pakistan, and established a follow-up committee for that purpose. The participants further stated that they were shocked at the recently found unidentified graves in Kashmir and called for an independent investigation.

  • Keynote Speech by Hans Koechler

  • Kashmir resolution of the European Parliament, 24 May 2007

International Progress Organization 
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