Nyla Ali Khan, a University of Oklahoma professor, was guest speaker of the Tyner Cornbread and Beans Luncheon on July 22. Khan spoke about “Peace and Conflict in South Asia” concerning Kashmir.
Khan is a native of Kashmir and the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, the former first prime minister of Kashmir and chief minister of the Indian’s Kashmir from 1974 until his death on Sept. 8, 1982.
Khan promoted the cause of an autonomous, democratic and united Kashmir, which had been divided since 1948 between India (Jammu and Kashmir), Pakistan (Northern Areas and Kashmir) and China (Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract).
Khan said even if the election is organized every six years to elect the legislators of the Jammu and Kashmir, the process of the election is questionable.
Khan is disappointed to still see media from Asia and Occident talking on the Kashmir conflict as a problem between India and Pakistan for the control of the Indus River and as a religious problem between Muslims and other minorities.
“Such obliteration obliterates the legitimacy of regional political aspirations across party, religious, cultural and linguistic lines,” Khan said.
Khan also condemns the military occupation of Kashmir by Pakistan and India, which led to more violence, corruption, poverty and factionalism and has resulted in the fragmentation of the Kashmir society.
Even if the situation of the Kashmir today seems complicated, due principally to the lack of determination of Pakistan and India, Khan believed it is possible to create a self-determined politicized society by empowering Kashmir citizens.
“It is essential to create either conceptual frameworks or political and sociocultural discourses in which the young people of today would be energized and persuaded to actively participate,” Khan said.