Washington, D.C. 27 May 1999. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), today condemned India's ongoing bombing and artillery campaign in the Kargil region of Indian occupied Kashmir. The expected three-month Indian military assault in Kargil has been predictably blamed on unidentified infiltrators supported by Pakistan to detract attention from the universal wrath native Kashmiris feel toward India's oppressive rule and defiance of 52-year-old United Nations Security Council resolutions prescribing a plebiscite under United Nations auspices fashioned and agreed to by India itself. Alien rulers invariably seek scapegoats for the strife their repression provokes among the ruled, and India is no exception. Even in times of so-called "peace" in Kashmir, India deploys 600,000 to 700,000 military and paramilitary forces to contain indigenous unrest, a testament to its recognition that the people of Kashmir do not accept the legitimacy of its colonial rule.

Dr. Fai observed that India's latest escalation of warfare in Kashmir proves the bankruptcy of the recent Lahore Declaration issued jointly by the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India. It conspicuously dodged the chief bone of contention between the two nations that has caused estrangement, tensions, and two wars namely, the determination of Kashmir's future through a self-determination mechanism satisfactory to the Kashmiri people.

That resolution, Dr. Fai added, will never be reached in bilateral negotiations between Pakistan and India because India has proved unmovable for more than half a century with such an equation. To jump start progress on ending the Kashmir conflict and with its daily extrajudicial killings and harrowing human rights violations require both third party mediation and the participation of the genuine voice of the Kashmiri people - the All-Parties Hurriyet Conference.

Fai emphasized that the Kargil fighting featuring war planes, helicopters, and artillery and an intrusion into Pakistani territory represented the most serious escalation in the Kashmir conflict in more than two decades. It is also coupled with India's soaring nuclear and missile ambitions (a hydrogen bomb test seems imminent as does a successor to its Agni II missile), its resistance to initialing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the choice of the muscular Hindu fundamentalist BJP party to celebrate a mushroom cloud as a prime campaign plank.
If the United States and the United Nations Security Council neglect to inject urgency into resolving the Kashmir conflict, nuclear war in South Asia may ensue either by accident or design. Isn't such a potential catastrophe too important to be left to only India and Pakistan?