ISLAMABAD: The executive Director of Oslo-based Kashmiri Scandinavian Council (KSC) Sardar Ali Shahnawaz Khan, is one of the most effective lobbyists playing an important role in highlighting the Kashmir issue on international level. Hailing from the scenic Rawlakot valley, Khan migrated to Norway in 1986. After his formal schooling, he got Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Norway, at the same time he got diploma in Information Technology. As a Norwegian citizen, he joined politics in 1992 and is a member of the Christian Peoples’ Party, one of the mainstream political parties of the country.
Owing to his efforts, the KSC was able to establish All Parties Group on Kashmir in the Norwegian parliament that has been painstakingly engaged in seeking public support in favour of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. In an interview with Greater Kashmir, Ali Shahnawaz Khan spoke on various aspects of Kashmir issue as well as on his engagements in Norway and other western countries. I along with my friends formed the Kashmiri-Scandinavian Council in January 1999. Since then, the KSC has been working effectively to draw the attention of the Government and the people of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland towards the plight of Kashmiris, he said.
The liberation struggle started in Kashmir in 1988. Because of my emotional attachment with the people of Kashmir, I was curious to know about them, their struggle and the way they were fighting for their cause. I had a great passion to do something for them. Until 1992, I had never talked to anyone from the Indian-administered Kashmir. The first person I spoke to was Dr. Ayoub Thakur. When I talked to him on telephone, I could not just control my emotions, I burst into tears. I cried, you know, I could not even speak at that moment. It was not just because of Dr. Thakur. Rather it was my innate emotional affiliation with Kashmiri people. So this over-enthusiastic attitude of mine left a huge impact on him as well, which is why he invited me to London, he said.
“I went to UK in 1993; Dr Thakur met me like a father and really encouraged me. A nuclear scientist, he was the only person working for the cause in Europe at that time. I was inspired by the way he was living in UK. His simple but sober life style and his personal contribution and sacrifices for Kashmir struggle inspired me a lot.“Being a Kashmiri, I thought if we cannot provide financial assistance to about seven million people in Kashmir, we must at least work for their legitimate cause. Therefore, we decided to launch a campaign in Norway to mobilize public opinion in favour of Kashmiris’ rights movement, he added.
To a question he said, the UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir are vital, well-founded, relevant and applicable. In fact, these distinguish Kashmir dispute from other issues of contemporary history. Otherwise, if you talk of basic human rights issues, thousands of people are victims of violence around the world. Like in Rwanda, Africa, Iraq and other parts of the world, people are terribly suffering. But, what makes Kashmir issue a different case are the Security Council resolutions that acknowledge Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and provide a strong basis to Kashmiri people to fight for their legitimate cause. I think this is the only weapon by which you can build pressure on India thereby seeking world body’s support.-SANA