[Pages S8825-S8826]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


       SENATE RESOLUTION 138--RELATIVE TO THE CONFLICT IN KASHMIR

  Mr. HELMS (for himself, Mr. Leahy, and Mr. Reid) submitted the 
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign 
Relations:

                              S. Res. 138

       Whereas U.S. policy calls for a solution to the conflict in 
     Kashmir through negotiations between India and Pakistan 
     taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people to 
     choose legitimate representatives to negotiate on their 
     behalf;
       Whereas India and Pakistan have fought two wars over 
     Kashmir and tensions in the region remain high;
       Whereas both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons 
     programs and possess sophisticated means to deliver such 
     weapons;
       Whereas reports indicate widespread human rights abuses in 
     Kashmir, resulting from the excessive use of force by Indian 
     military and paramilitary forces and acts of violence by 
     Kashmiri militants;
       Whereas the Indian parliament did not renew the Terrorists 
     and Disruptive Activities Act, thereby improving prospects 
     for the rule of law in Kashmir;
       Whereas the All Parties Hurriyet (Freedom) Conference was 
     organized to engage in negotiations with Indian and Pakistani 
     authorities without precondition;
       Whereas in January 1994 the United States Institute of 
     Peace (USIP) brought together representatives from India, 
     Pakistan and Kashmir to engage in a dialogue for peace;
       Whereas the USIP concluded that, ``It is essential that 
     people of Jammu and Kashmir be central participants in this 
     political process, along with the governments and citizens of 
     India and Pakistan.''
       Whereas the recent destruction of the mosque and the razing 
     of the town of Charar-i-Sharief in Kashmir have reinforced 
     the urgent need for such a dialogue;
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) condemns the use of excessive force by Indian military 
     and paramilitary forces in Kashmir and similarly condemns 
     acts of violence by Kashmiri militants;
       (2) welcomes the release from detention of Kashmiri 
     political leaders and urges that the government of India take 
     further steps to respond to human rights concerns, including:
       Prosecuting security personnel involved in abuses of human 
     rights;
       Permitting international human rights groups such as 
     Amnesty International access to Kashmir; and
       Permitting international humanitarian groups access to 
     detention and interrogation centers in Kashmir;
       (3) welcomes the expiration of the Terrorist and Disruptive 
     Activities Act and urges the government of India to take 
     further steps to safeguard the Kashmiri people's right to due 
     process;
       (4) welcomes steps taken by the government of Pakistan to 
     reduce its support for Kashmiri militants, and urges the 
     government of Pakistan to take further steps, including using 
     its influence with private Pakistani sources, to stop the 
     acts of intimidation and violence by Kashmiri militants;
       (5) calls on the governments of India and Pakistan to enter 
     into negotiations with legitimate representatives of the 
     people of Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the conflict 
     peacefully;
       (6) urges the Administration to work to facilitate 
     negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in 
     Kashmir.

  Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, I send a resolution to the desk for 
appropriate referral. It addresses the precarious situation growing out 
of two nuclear-armed nations facing each other on the South Asian 
subcontinent. During the past 50 years, the two nations have gone to 
war twice, and barely avoided doing so again in 1990.
  The dispute over the State of Kashmir continues to fester, and India 
and Pakistan are nowhere near resolving their differences. Kashmir 
could easily ignite a nuclear conflagration, and it would be difficult 
to imagine a greater interest by the United States than preventing such 
a terrifying tragedy.
  Mr. President, exacerbating the tensions in the region is a pattern 
of gross violations of the Kashmiri people's basic human rights. More 
than 20,000 Kashmiris have been killed in the past 6 years, and the 
people of Kashmir continue to endure daily abuses, most often at the 
hands of the Indian Army and security forces. The State Department's 
1994 Report on Human Rights lists ``extrajudicial executions, torture 
and reprisal killings'' as common tactics used by Indian Government 
forces.
  Only last month, Mr. President, a battle between militants and Indian 
troops in the town of Charar-i-Sharief started a fire that destroyed 
1,000 homes, and a 600-year-old mosque that is Kashmir's most important 
Moslem shrine. The blaze also displaced nearly 25,000 people.
  The resolution Senator Leahy, Reid, and I are offering speaks 
directly to the very serious issues that confront the people of 
Kashmir. It decries human rights abuses perpetrated by both Indian 
security forces and Moslem militants. It also speaks to the root of the 
threat to South Asia and to the United States--the failure to negotiate 
a settlement to the Kashmiri dispute.
  Since 1972, India and Pakistan have worked through the Simla 
framework: bilateral negotiations to resolve bilateral problems, 
including Kashmir. After 23 years, it is time to admit failure. 
Negotiations will not succeed without the involvement of the Kashmiri 
people. The resolution that Senator Leahy and I are introducing today 
asks that the Kashmiri people, through the peaceful voice of their 
Hurriyet Council, be represented in any negotiations on the future of 
Kashmir.
  Kashmir must not be ignored; it will come back to haunt us all. I 
urge Senators to support not only this resolution, but more 
importantly, this cause.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I rise in support of the resolution on 
Kashmir submitted today by Senator Helms, which I am cosponsoring along 
with Senator Reid.
  The situation in Kashmir has been a continuing concern of mine for 
many years. I am a friend of India, a country of nearly a billion 
people with great cultural and religious diversity and a myriad of 
problems. I have long believed that the United States and India have a 
tremendous amount to gain from closer relations. But I have been very 
disturbed by the excessive use of force by India's security forces in 
Kashmir, which has resulted in the detention, torture, and death of 
thousands of civilians. I am also very disturbed by the Pakistan 
Government's continuing assistance to the Kashmiri militants who have 
also been guilty of atrocities.
  I am cosponsoring this resolution because I believe it is balanced, 
and because I believe the recommendations it contains are in the 
interests of India and Pakistan, and the Kashmiri people. It condemns 
acts of violence by both the Indian security forces and Kashmiri 
militants, and it welcomes the decision of the Indian Government to 
release Kashmiri political leaders who had been imprisoned.
  Further, it urges the Indian Government to respond to continuing 
human [[Page S 8826]] rights violations in Kashmir. Specifically, the 
resolution calls for prosecution of those responsible for human rights 
violations, since far too often those implicated in abuses have gone 
unpunished, and it requests the Indian Government to permit 
international human rights and humanitarian groups access to Kashmir. 
This is long overdue.
  In addition, the resolution recognizes the Pakistani Government's 
efforts to reduce its support for Kashmiri militants, and calls on the 
Pakistani Government to take further steps including using its 
influence with private Pakistani sources to stop the acts of 
intimidation and violence by Kashmiri militants. A recent report by the 
Arms Project of Human Rights Watch described the flow of military 
assistance from Pakistan that has contributed to the violence and 
bloodshed in Kashmir.
  The resolution does not express a position on what the future status 
of Kashmir should be. Rather, we urge the Indian and Pakistani 
Governments to enter into negotiations with legitimate representatives 
of Jammu and Kashmir in order to resolve the conflict in a peaceful 
manner. It is widely recognized that there is no military solution to 
the Kashmir conflict. It is long past time that the various parties 
with an interest in the future of Kashmir engaged in a serious dialogue 
to end the violence.
  Mr. President, this is a balanced resolution that seeks to encourage 
and support a search for peace in Kashmir, and I want to thank the 
Senator from South Carolina, the chairman of the Foreign Relations 
Committee, for the constructive role he played in the drafting of the 
resolution. Our goal is to diffuse tensions in a dangerous region and 
to help resolve a bloody conflict that has caused enormous suffering 
over many years. The resolution should pass unanimously.


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