Geelani calls for Obama to focus on Kashmir - Pakistan Today

Geelani calls for Obama to focus on Kashmir

SRINAGAR: A top separatist in Indian-held Kashmir on Sunday urged the US to intervene in the disputed region, saying Washington could eliminate its “trust-deficit” in the Muslim world.
Syed Ali Geelani said in a statement directed at President Barack Obama, who is visiting India, “Resolution of the (Kashmir) problem with American assistance will go a long way in eradicating the trust deficit between the US and the Muslim world.”
Congratulating Obama on his three-day visit to India, the hardline separatist said “we hope and expect you to use all your influence to restore the right of self-determination to the people of the state”. Kashmir is divided between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, but both countries claim it in full.
It has sparked two of three wars between the neighbours since the division of the subcontinent in 1947. Decades-old UN resolutions call for a referendum in Kashmir to determine the status of the territory, but New Delhi views them as obsolete and is staunchly opposed to any outside intervention in the conflict.
Obama provoked an angry response in India before he took office by suggesting that the US could mediate in Kashmir. The statement by Geelani came on the second day of a three-day strike called by separatists to draw the attention of Obama. The region has been hit by rolling protests since June 11, when a 17-year-old student was killed by a police tear gas shell, leading to an almost total economic shutdown and severe hardship for local people.
Since then, security forces have been accused of killing a total of 111 people, mostly teenagers and students. Peace in South Asia cannot be achieved “without a resolution of core issue of Kashmir”, Geelani said.

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