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NEW YORK, Apr 22 (APP): A prominent Kashmiri leader has appealed to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take urgent steps to enable Kashmiri people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, as pledged to them in the 1948 UN Security Council resolution, in a bid to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

In a statement marking the 73rd anniversary of the resolution number 47, which stipulated a UN-supervised plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, an advocacy group, warned that the decades-old dispute would persist as long as India continues to occupy the region.

Resolution 47 of 21 April 1948 was the first UN Security Council resolution to outline measures for a free and impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. The resolution provided for the appointment of a Plebiscite Administrator to carry out the task.

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Subsequent resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 elaborated on the guidelines provided by Resolution 47.

“They (the resolutions) thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute,” Fai said.

“We appeal to the United Nations Secretary General – the custodian of the human rights – to provide the leadership in protecting the human and political rights of the people of Kashmir; and use his influence to enable them to exercise their inherent right to self-determination.”

Fai warned that Kashmir cannot be ignored, for no other reason than that the conflict there has gone on for 73 years and seems destined to continue as long as the Indian armed forces continue to occupy the region.

“The potential for genocide is very real and massive killings have already occurred in the past,” he said. The tens of thousands of people who have been killed along with vast human rights abuses seem to go on without end, he added, noting that the UN high Commissioner on Human Rights has recommended an independent, impartial and international mission to visit Kashmir.

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“Of course,” Fai said, “The Indian government continues to ignore such calls for investigation, because it believes that such ruthless tactics are the only way to deal with opposition to its policies.

“But such policies are almost a guarantee that yet another great tragedy in the UN’s history will occur.”

The Kashmir issue, he added, had caused agony to the Kashmiri people as well as to Pakistan and India itself, and underscored the need for the resolution of Kashmir dispute on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions.