August 2000 News

Peaceful Solution To Kashmir Crisis Inevitable

23 August 2000
The Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

Srinagar: Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) president Shabir Shah believes that time has come when peaceful solution to Kashmir crisis is ''inevitable''. ''It has to come'', he says in an interview with The Hindustan Times in his party headquarters that is at a stone''s throw from that of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, the secessionist combination that he parted ways with four years ago. ''What I said in 1994 is now turning out to be correct'', Shabir, who had talked of peaceful solution on his release from jail six years ago, said. Two decades in jail had won him the sobriquet of ''Prisoner of Conscience'' and '' Nelson Mandela of Kashmir''. That era of his drawing big crowds is over. The full-throated slogans of his supporters: ''Shah, Shah, Shabir Shah'' are rarely heard. But what he has got in compensation is the cadre and an organisation. Regarding the inevitability of peace winning in the subcontinent, Shabir Shah says he can feel it in the air. It is not merely the unilateral cease-fire announcement of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen or the talk of solution coming from Premier Vajpayee or Pak''s Chief Executive Musharraf that strengthens his belief. ''There is a pressure from the masses of the two countries (India and Pak) that want a solution to the crisis''. According to him, no establishment in Delhi or Islamabad could resist this pressure nor any leadership. ''Gun has played its role'', Shabir says and explains that ''internationalisation of the (Kashmir) issue was a must and that has been effectively done by gun. It is now time to talk peace and solutions''. To his mind, the solution should be such that is ''acceptable to India, Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir''. The parties concerned have to demonstrate the necessary will to do so. ''He said Majid Dar, Hizbul-Mujahideen chief commander, had met him before announcing the cease-fire. He, however, did not disclose the contents of the conversation.


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