LAHORE - India should end killings in Held Kashmir to bring peace to the region, British scholar on South Asia Dibyesh Anand said.

“Delhi holds elections in the Occupied Valley just to legalizing their ‘control’ on Kashmir,” he said while speaking at a session on ‘Self-determination in Kashmir’ in a two-day Thinkfest Saturday.

Federal Education and National Heritage Minister Shafqat Mahmood opened the event organised by International Technology University at Alhamra.  .

Dibyesh is Head of School Social Sciences at University of Westminster.  The first day spanned 15 such sessions.

“If India is a real democracy, it should allow plebiscite in Kashmir instead of using force to kill up to three people daily,” Prof Dibyesh said.

He continued: “There is no value of human life in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and India as a state must acknowledge the struggle for self-determination. And there is an urgent need to resolve the issue.

“India managed to crush their cause through force. And Indian media censored debate on Kashmir. India is towing dived in rule policy in the Valley.”  “The killings of Muslims in Gujarat were justified in India by hate-mongers. They work on justifying such killings instead of resolving the public issues”

In another session titled ‘Indian Elections and the Possibility of South Asian Peace’ panelists including ex FM Khurshid Kasuri, Moeed Yusuf from the US and Prof Dibyesh spoke.  Najam Sethi moderated the session.

Also, Moeed Yusuf’s book ‘Breaking Peace in Nuclear Environments: US crises Management in South Asia” was launched.

The former FM said next elections in India are likely to win by the opposition parties and their alliance. “If there is a good form of alliance in the May general elections in India, it indicates opposition would win the polls and post-elections government would have no other option but to start peace dialogue with Pakistan.”

He recalled: “It took three years to build possible Kashmir solution formula during my tenure as foreign minister and what I have claimed were never contradicted by any person in India till date. Except Syed Ali Shah Geelani all the JKLF leadership agreed on it.”

He laid stress on following democratic norms. Moeed Yusuf said both countries need to restart dialogue over the matter.

Dibyesh said that electoral instability was much better than fascist ideology and peace without justice is unethical.

He added: “Prime Minister Modi is destroying India and even failed to provide jobs his people and I see BJB defeat in general elections.”

Discussing the ‘Future of Democracy in Pakistan’ Aqil Shah from Oklahoma University USA said that democracy ensured freedom of expression, enables to peacefully accommodate constitutional amendment to make normal prosperous Pakistan.

In ‘Types of Populism Nationalism, Demography and Authoritarianism’ Dr Christophe Jaffrelot from Paris said that parliaments have lost their powers and role of media was the only space for free debate. Hussain Nadim from Sydney discussed the Economists Democracy Index, which revealed that only 19 countries considered democratic, 57 with flawed democracy including US, 39 Hybrid regimes and 52 autorotation regimes. 

Food and book stalls were also set up at Alhamra. Organizer of Thinkfest Dr Yaqoob Bangesh told The Nation that it was encouraging that students of various disciplines have been participating in the festival. He said Indian government did not allow Professor Happyman Yacob from Jawaharlal Nehru University to participate in the event despite issuing of visa from Pakistan.

In the inaugural session Shafqat Mehmood listed his government feats to improve literacy rate from 58 percent to 70 percent and working on uniform curriculum.