July 2000 News

I’m willing to return if cases are withdrawn: Amanullah

4 July 2000
Hindustan Times
Bharat Bhushan

Islamabad: THE CHAIRMAN of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Mr Amanullah Khan, has said that he is willing to return to India to help resolve the Kashmir issue. The JKLF chairman, who is currently based in Rawalpindi, said, “Let the government of India withdraw all the cases against me and I will come to India and try to play an active role for a peaceful, equitable and permanent solution to the Kashmir issue based on the will of the Kashmiri people.” He claims that even the Indian government knows that the cases against him, including murder charges, are “fake”. In a message, Mr Amanullah Khan told the Kashmiri people “not to import masters for themselves”. The only solution to the Kashmir issue, he said, was “the reunification and complete independence of the whole state with friendly relations with India and Pakistan”. He called upon the people of the state to work towards this “just cause”. The JKLF leader said that the ultimate solution to the Kashmir issue should be one that could be reached “without hurting the national egos of India and Pakistan, without damaging their national ideologies — in particular India’s secularism — and the legitimate national interests of both the countries”. He felt that the solution should be such that “it does not cause additional bloodshed, mass migration and communal or ethnic disturbances. And above all, it should be based on the national aspirations and the unfettered will of the Kashmiri people”. While welcoming the autonomy resolution passed by the J&K Assembly, Mr Amanullah Khan said, “This is a step forward.” According to him, India should realise that the resolution has been passed by a two-thirds majority of an institution “which India itself has been presenting to the world as the sole representative body of the Kashmiris”. He asked Pakistan and the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) not to oppose the autonomy resolution “just because it has been passed by the National Conference”. As far as the JKLF was concerned, Mr Amanullah Khan said that his organisation would do whatever it could to strengthen the “autonomy movement”. When asked what his organisation was doing in J&K, he replied, “We are already working there. Dr Hyder Ijazi is there. We have also formed an alliance — the Qaumi Mashawarti Council (National Advisory Council) comprising six or seven pro-independence groups. It is headed by Mr Azam Inquilabi of Mahaz-e-Azadi and includes Mr G.M. Shah, a former Chief Minister, and groups like the Political Conference, the Liberation Council and one section of the Peoples’ League.” The JKLF is not a potent force in Kashmir as of now. However, it is one of the rare secular organisations in J&K and Mr Khan is confident that the support of his organisation will grow over time. “We will come up again. Insha Allah, we will be in good strength soon,” the JKLF chairman said. Commenting on Mr Yasin Malik of the JKLF joining the APHC, Mr Amanullah Khan said, “Yasin has sunk himself into the hotchpotch of the APHC. The Hurriyat Conference is a mixture of opposites. The chairman of the Hurriyat, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, says that he does not believe in the concept of Kashmiriyat. However, its spokesman, Abdul Ghani Butt says that he does not believe in Azadi. A leader should have one’s own vision. He should lead and not be led by what others say.” At a time when the internal dynamic of Kashmir was changing on the Indian side, what was he doing in Rawalpindi? Mr Amanullah Khan said that if needed, he would not hesitate to go to India but that he could not do so easily because of the arrest warrants against him in India. “I would be sent straight to prison.” However, if the charges were withdrawn, he said, he would return to India. “I am asking my people to go to India and work. They are already there in Kashmir,” he said. Was he willing to make an appeal to the Kashmiri youth to abjure violence? “If India moves forward on autonomy or on our programme, I would be the first one to appeal to the people of Kashmir to give up arms. But right now I don’t want to say anything,” the JKLF leader replied. (To be continued)


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