July 2000 News

JKLF chief attacks Harkat, Lashkar

8 July 2000
The Asian Age
Seema Mustafa

New Delhi: JKLF leader Amanullah Khan has attacked the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, the Harkat-ul-Ansar and other terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan for giving the indigenous struggle of the people of Kashmir a bad name. In an interview with The Asian Age in Islamabad, Amanullah Khan, who has international warrants of arrest out for him, said, ''We thank them (terrorist groups) for sacrificing their lives but their non-Kashmiri presence in Kashmir takes away from the identity of the Kashmiri movement. Our image is defaced. They turn our movement into terrorism. The result is that Kashmiri identity has been diffused and because of the influence of these outsiders people are accusing us of terrorism.'' Mr Khan was a visible figure at a South Asian editors'' meet organised by the News in Islamabad. He had a couple of disinterested men handling his briefcase and admitted that his was a ''lone voice'' for the JKLF in Pakistan. He was very critical of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, saying that the absence of an undisputed leader ''like Yasser Arafat'' had prevented it from playing an effective role despite all the support from Pakistan. ''Pakistanis cannot digest their food unless the APHC appears on Pakistan television,'' he said. The JKLF man said the Hurriyat leaders spoke in different voices. ''Geelani says remove Kashmir, but if you remove Kashmiriyat, what does it mean? Butt says, ''I don''t like azadi'' What are we fighting for then,'' he asked. The APHC wants the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir even though these negate the very principle of self-determination, he added. Mr Amanullah Khan was particularly critical of JKLF leader in Kashmir Yaseen Malik. ''We have parted with each other,'' he said. ''I have been following this ideology for the past 40 years, he has made three ideological U-turns in four years.'' He said that basically Malik was from a National Conference family. ''He went on to join the Jamaat-e-Islami''s Students League, then he joined us, after coming out of jail in 1995 he was no longer ours, he had an agreement with the Indian government and attacked the APHC, now he is again with them.'' He was very supportive of the autonomy resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. ''It is a step forward, in fact it is a big leap forward based on the rights of the people. We believe in reunification and complete independence of the state, and this resolution will be a step towards this end,'' he said. This was before the resolution was rejected by the Union Cabinet here. By the same token, the JKLF leader was opposed to the proposed trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. ''I certainly do not approve of it. The entire state of Azad Kashmir is an indivisible ppolitical entity. It should be a federal state with five provinces, Jammu, Valley, Ladakh, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit. Srinagar should be the headquarters,'' he said. He said the Musharraf government was using Kashmir to gain popularity and play on the sentiments of the people. He was critical of both India and Pakistan even as he admitted that both countries regard him as an agent of the other. He claimed that both the countries were least concerned about the sentiments of the people of Kashmir with India using ''guns and suppression'' and Pakistan parroting the UN resolutions which ''deprive our people of the right to independence.'' He said independent Kashmir should be like Switzerland, with guarantees from all sides. He suggested a committee of 11 members from international bodies like the OIC, UN, and NAM. As for being a lone voice, ''It is a phase, it will pass but I do not know when and how long it will take.''


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