Published On: Mon, May 12th, 2014

Subjects of Quran – Islamabad

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

I am here in the Capital city of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) and the Capital city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Srinagar is 179 kilometers from here. I may be one of the few residents in the city who has switched on his laptop and an activity of this kind at so earlier a time has its own consequences. One of them may be raving interest of many souls. Last week has been full of activity and at least two events remain very significant. I shall have to change the order in which the two events took place.

Subjects of Quran

On Wednesday 7 May, 2014 Hotel Marriott in Islamabad became a venue for international audience and attracted a galaxy of religious scholars, foreign diplomats, jurists and notables from all walks of life. The occasion was graced by H. E. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain President Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It was a sobering and inspiring occasion. Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan Observer and Gauhar Zahid Malik Executive Editor of Pakistan Observer were the hosts.

Zahid Malik undoubtedly an extraordinary soul, known for his devotion to hard work and faith in human abilities had compiled the French and German Editions of Subjects of Quran. The Urdu Edition came in the market in early 1980s. President of Pakistan was there to launch the two Editions.

It was a gripping occasion to see Muslim scholars, diplomats (people of Book) and others highlight the need of such a grand effort aimed at simplifying the message of Quran for other faith people and people of no faith. Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Chairman, Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Senator S M Zafar, former law minister, H.E.Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mr. Monsieur Philippe Thiebaud, Ambassador of the French Republic, H. E. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Mr. Rodolfo J Martin-Saravia, Ambassador of Argentine & Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and H. E. Mr. Mamoon Hussain, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan spoke on the occasion.

Zahid Malik introduced his work in his unique style and diction. A down to earth and unassuming introduction. He was introducing a scholarly work to the international audience yet remained measured and economical in all manner. This endeared him to the audience and to those who had known him from early 1980s. My friendship with him dates back to early 1979 when he was the Resident Editor of Pakistan’s leading Urdu daily Nawa-i-Waqt in Rawalpindi.

A striking feature of the launch ceremony was a very original and thought provoking contribution by Muslim scholars, jurists and the European Ambassadors. Merits of such a great contribution to simplify the Quranic Message for German and French speaking Muslims and non-Muslims were highlighted. The European Ambassadors expressed a special interest in the work because Germany and France have a large Muslim population. French is also spoken in North African countries.

All speakers highlighted the message of Quran and how it tailors human behavior in the family, in the country and at the international level. Justice and Equality among people came up as the principal features of Quranic teachings. Zahid Malik who remains at the heart of a serious work on Quran has plans to bring the Quranic message in 10 other foreign languages. He has already started working on Spanish edition. The other highlight of the occasion was that the Seerat University which is part of the Foundation’s work is to assume activity very soon.

Kashmir

Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Chairman, Ruet-e-Hilal Committee in his speech defined terrorism and very ably differentiated between struggle for independence and terrorism. He did not fail to bring in the question of the people of Palestine and Kashmir. The occasion was so enormous that one could squeeze in any subject and any issue. Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman did not fail to bring in Kashmir.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry

Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry was in the audience and this was his first public appearance after his retirement. Zahid Malik had not failed to remain mindful of the services of a person who has changed the political and judicial map of the country. Chief Justice Choudhry was recognized from the audience as the only notable person who was presented the German and French Editions of the Book by the President of Pakistan and Zahid Malik.

International Kashmir Conference

On Monday 5 May, 2014 an international conference on Kashmir, titled: “Is Kashmir, an Issue of Election or Self-determination” was held at Islamabad Hotel in G/6 Islamabad. It was organized by Washington based Kashmir American Council. Its Chairman Dr. Imtiaz Khan and Chairman Advisory Council Sardar Zulfiqar Khan had travelled all the way from States for the conference. Dr. Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai could not travel for want of travel document, a consequence of his conviction and recent release.

The invitation had assured us that the Conference is going to have “Ministers, Parliamentarians, The parties in opposition, Prominent Think tanks, Scholars, leading activists besides the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan administered Kashmir”.

The invitation also set out that The Conference had following objectives:

· To highlight the Kashmir issue in the backdrop of elections in Indian administered Kashmir and India vis-à-vis few political changes in the sub-continent.

· To provide a common platform and to pool the collective efforts in the right perspective where Kashmir issue can be seen and dealt with.

· To discuss and debate the various peaceful options to strengthen the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people.

· To explore various possibilities to settle the long standing conflict of Kashmir to the satisfaction of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

Any pooling of opinions and get together on Kashmir is welcome and needs to be encouraged. Unfortunately the Conference did not have any international participation except the two members of KAC. Dr. Waleed Rasool worked hard to put together the local arrangements and turn it into a forum of exchange. The Conference did not attract any special contribution and turned into a routine rhetoric, without any regard for the aims of the Conference. It had occasions of serious embarrassment when ex-President of PaK General Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan raised an objection on the banner of KAC, displaying Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai and Quaid-e-Azam. Chairman Kashmir Committee Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman similarly was very critical of KAC logo and said that there was nothing Kashmiri about it.

The issues listed in the invitation were not discussed. The discussion remained routine and mediocre. There was no resolution addressed to Government of Pakistan in regard to its assumed duties in PaK under UNCIP Resolutions, as a party to the dispute and as a member nation of UN. No resolution was addressed to India in regard to the role (provisional) of its armed forces in J&K and the restraints placed by the UN on the number, behavior and location of these forces in Kashmir and in regard to a temporary presence of India in Kashmir to create conditions for Plebiscite under the UN mechanism. Similarly the UN, European Union, Commonwealth and OIC were not addressed and no proper recommendations were made and put to vote. There was no reaching out to the people of India and people of Pakistan.

Is Kashmir, an Issue of Election or Self Determination?

The organizers of the Conference seemed to have put very little thought into the purposes of the Conference. The issue of Elections and Self-Determination has been settled by the UN Security Council in its Resolution of 30 March, 1951. It has cautioned the J & K Assembly that it is elected from only a part of the State and that no Election would be a substitute for Self-Determination. The future of the State would be determined in accordance with UN mechanism on Kashmir.

The Conference has been a misdirection of wisdom, efforts and resources. In addition to this J & K Constitution regards the Assembly as incomplete at present. Therefore election could not override the principle of self-determination.

Plebiscite Advisor

Ex-President of PaK General Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan proposed in the Conference that it was high time to undertake the constitutional duty to appoint a Plebiscite Advisor on Kashmir. He was very kind to name the author (Syed Nazir Gilani) as the appropriate person to take up this constitutional role, should he volunteer to do so. He made this proposal to the present President.

It was in October 2002 (Dawn 21 October 2002) that the author had advised the then President of PaK General Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan to adhere to his constitutional duty on the question of Plebiscite and that PaK Government was a provisional (interim) establishment, set up to provide for better government and administration until the status of Kashmir is determined under the UN mechanism, through freely expressed will of the people of the State. Government of Pakistan has assented to this position in PaK Constitution.


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