WASHINGTON: Key US senators and congressmen now call on President Donald Trump to play a constructive role to help resolve Kashmir and other underlying disputes between Pakistan and India.
In a letter they sent to President Trump on Thursday afternoon, Senators Chris Van Hollen, Todd Young, Ben Cardin and Lindsay Graham also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Kashmir and urged him to use his influence to free People arrested after August. 5, when India annexed the occupied valley.
"We ask you to call Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) Modi to completely restore telecommunications and internet services, lift the blockade and curfew, and release the cashmerets detained in accordance with the revocation of India of Article 370" they wrote.
In another letter, the Indian-American congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, another US legislator, asked the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to press India to immediately end the blockade of communications in Kashmir and release the detainees .
"We wrote to express our concern regarding the situation in Kashmir, which has serious implications for democracy, human rights and regional stability," the four senators said in a letter they sent to President Trump.
"While we support your goal of working with the parties to help find a long-term solution for the state of Kashmir, we are now writing to urge you to immediately facilitate the end of the current humanitarian crisis there."
The signatories, which include one of Trump’s close advisers on South Asian affairs, Senator Graham and Karachi-born Senator Van Hollen, reminded Trump of his July 22 offer to play a mediating role to alleviate tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and other issues.
"Based on your offer of assistance in July, we believe that the United States' commitment to India will be critical in providing help to all the people of Kashmir," they wrote. "The United States has a vital role to play in facilitating a solution to this humanitarian crisis, and we urge you to act quickly."
Prime Minister Imran Khan also attended the White House briefing on July 22 where Trump announced his intention to mediate and immediately accepted the offer. India, however, rejected the suggestion and announced that it would never accept outside help to resolve its disputes with Pakistan.
The senators said that on August 5, the Indian government "unilaterally revoked article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir."
They also noted that shortly before revoking Article 370, India deployed tens of thousands of additional troops in the Kashmir Valley, imposed curfews on its residents and cut communications to the region, including access to the Internet and telephones.
"This blackout of information severely limited access to medical services, prevented families from contacting each other and disrupted the local economy," the senators wrote.
Referring to the press reports that at least 4,000 people were subsequently arrested in Kashmir and detained under the Public Security Law, US lawmakers noted that it was "a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charges or trial The detainees included local politicians, activists, academics and students, they added.
"With each passing day, the situation of the people of Kashmir becomes increasingly difficult," the senators reminded Trump as they urged him to use the influence to provide relief to these people.
"Pakistan must also end its support and safe haven for militant groups operating in its territory, including those targeting India, and refrain from taking measures that can further destabilize Kashmir," the senators added.
"Once the urgent humanitarian situation has been addressed, we hope that the United States can play a constructive role to help resolve the underlying disputes between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan," the four senators said as they reminded Trump why I needed to do it. Play a more active role in resolving the Kashmir crisis.
Another United States senator, Bob Casey, said that India's changes in the state of Jammu and Kashmir were a "drastic change" from decades of precedents and policies that increase the potential for a escalated conflict between India and Pakistan, and It raises serious concerns about the safety of people in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I am committed to promoting democracy, human rights and self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Consequently, both India and Pakistan should refrain from incendiary actions that undermine security and human rights in the region, ”said Mr. Casey.
"The fact that the Trump administration has not appointed a US ambassador to Pakistan or a deputy secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs has left the United States unprepared and ill equipped to participate meaningfully to guarantee rights and the safety of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, "Mr. Casey said.
In another statement, Congressman Eric Swalwell said the fight in Kashmir was not just about India and Pakistan, but a problem that has military, economic and moral consequences throughout the world.
"The United States must show patient diplomacy to reduce rhetoric and ensure that these two nuclear powers do not reach a point of no return," he said.
"This can be achieved progressively by starting with measures such as the immediate restoration of the ability of cashmere to communicate with their families and working to restore democratic governance," said Swalwell.
In his letter to Secretary Pompeo, Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman James P. McGovern said international media and independent human rights monitors should immediately enter Jammu and Kashmir to investigate reports of abuse.
"We urge you to work throughout the Administration to pressure the Indian government to put an immediate end to its Kashmir communications blackout, expedite the process of reviewing and releasing people & # 39; preventively & # 39; detained, ensuring that hospitals have access to life-saving medicines and protect the rights of the people of Kashmir to freedom of assembly and worship, "they wrote.
Posted on Dawn, September 14, 2019