November 1998 News


APHC moots "Ireland type settlement" in Kashmir

25th November 1998

SRINAGAR: All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) today said it has kept various options including "Ireland type settlement", open to solve the Kashmir imbroglio. It also said that New Delhi based ambassadors of OIC member countries would visit Kashmir in March next year to asses the situation.

The disclosures were made by the Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq, former chairman of Hurriyat Conference while addressing his first press conference here today after two months tour of America and Saudi Arabia. Mirwaiz said various theories were being floated by different international bodies for the settlement of the "vexed" Kashmir problem.

"We have kept various options open. And Ireland type settlement is one among them. Earlier we had pledged that bilateral dialogue is not the solution for this problem. Only UN resolution or tripartite talks can be a viable option to solve this problem. But international bodies are coming up with different theories. So we have not ruled out any option for the settlement of this problem", Molvi Umar said. Giving details about his two months tour to America and Saudi Arabia, former Hurriyat chairman said the OIC contact group on Kashmir formed to gather support for the struggle of Kashmiris, has decided to sent Islamic countries’ ambassadors to Valley in March next year to take on the spot view of situation in the valley.

"During the meeting of OIC foreign ministers in New York on September 27 last, we submitted number of proposals including a fact finding mission should be sent to Kashmir to have on the spot view of the situation. The contact group accepted our demand and has decided to sent all ambassadors of member countries to the valley to gather the facts about the situation", he said. "Besides, other proposals like asking India to reduce forces in the valley and put an end to the human rights violations were also accepted. OIC expressed its concern over the plight of Kashmiris and supported their struggle in toto".

Molvi Umar further maintained that India’s stand that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan has been rejected by the world community and Kashmir is now on international agenda. "Post-nuclear tests have changed the whole scenario. And Kashmir is now regarded as flash point in the sub-continent. And it is being felt that if this imbroglio is not solved at the earliest the worse can happen between India and Pakistan", he observed.

The former chairman said he has requested the US National Security Council (NSC) to appoint a special representative for Kashmir akin to other representatives looking after various international issues, Bosnia, middle east and Afghanistan. "We have already suggested three names which can act as special representatives. These include former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, former US president Jimmy Carter and South African president Nelson Mandela", Molvi Umar said. " It is necessary to select a representative who can work out modalities with all the factions and work for the settlement of this problem which has reached a climax", he added.

Elaborating further former APHC chairman said he urged the US to issue guidelines to both India and Pakistan that bilateral dialogue should be a time bound. "Otherwise the issue will linger on and there will be no settlement, if the process of dialogue will continue without any time bound programme", Molvi Umar said.

About his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Main Nawaz Sharif in New York, he said that prime minister pledged his country’s moral and political support to the struggle of Kashmir. "Premier Sharif agreed that Kashmiri representative i.e APHC should be engaged in the process of dialogue. He said when the dialogue will start yielding results, it will be his wish that Kashmir representatives should be engaged into the process of dialogue to settle this issue", Molvi Umar said.

Regarding his meeting with Saudi government, Molvi Umar disclosed that it has pledged whole hearted support for the Kashmir cause. "During my meeting with various Saudi dignitaries, it was unanimously resolved that Kashmir is a disputed issue and it needs to be settled according to the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiri people", he said. "I also asked to build pressure on India as it contributes to the economy of India so that Kashmir issue will be settled once for all. But at the same time we do not want that innocent Indian people should suffer". Former Hurriyat chairman also said he visited four U.S universities-Stanford, Rice, Harvard and Houston, and organized seminars and debates over the Kashmir issue."

"I kept Hurriyat stand before students and think tank of US and apprised about the realities of the Kashmir imbroglio. The response was overwhelming. Besides, I also put forth our stand before Asian society and Center of International strategic studies, the two highest think tanks in US. They also supported our cause and pledged to settle the issue", he said, adding " a group of students known as Kashmir group was set-up in various universities which will work for the cause of Kashmir struggle and will apprise the American people about the reality and genesis of problem".

Among others, APHC chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was also preset in the press conference


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