ISLAMABAD: Peace, democracy and human rights are closely linked to each other. Peace can only be achieved and lost if you have respect for human rights and respect of democracy, otherwise sooner or later a violent uprising may occur. This was stated by Oslo Centre for Peace, Democracy & Human Rights Founder & Chairman and former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik during a roundtable discussion at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS) on Monday.The agenda for the session was based on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and human rights violations in Indian-Held Kashmir. Participants included ambassadors, journalists and policy makers. Former Norwegian PM Kjell Magne Bondevik talked about how the Oslo centre which he had founded was working exclusively on the democracy project mainly in democracies that are relatively new and have no democratic traditions. Human rights have roots that transcend culture and religion so it is not specifically a western tradition. He went to say that the universal declaration of human rights says all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and human rights. In fact, the latter is a consequence of human dignity and any abuses of human rights are in fact encroachments on human dignity.He admitted that there have been occasions where the western world has represented a double standard that is not promoting peace. He also expressed concern over the current international system and lamented on the worsening security system. Kjell Magne Bondevik stated that though the Kashmir conflict has been there for 70 years, not enough focus has been attributed to it. He was in favour of increasing pressure by the international community to start a dialogue between India and Pakistan.“People in Kashmir deserve peace. They have suffered too much and the United Nations need to be more active in this regard. A peaceful solution must be a three-party dialogue where the leaders from Pakistan, India and Kashmir must all be present,” he said.Earlier, in his welcome remarks, ISS Board of Governors Chairman Ambassador (r) Khalid Mahmood highlighted the cordial ties between Pakistan and Norway. He highlighted the sizeable Pakistani Diaspora that exists in Norway. On the topic of Kashmir, he questioned whether a peaceful settlement to the dispute was possible and said that an early political solution to alleviate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people was very much needed.Concluding the session, ISSI BoG Chairman Khalid Mahmood said that pressure needs to be mounted on India to come to the negotiating table so that a sustainable solution can be reached over Kashmir.Published in Daily Times, November 27th 2018.