February 2001 News

Hizb: Declare J&K disputed, we"ll end fight

25 February 2001
The Asian Age
Yusuf Jameel

Jammu: Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Sala-huddin said on Sunday that his insurgent group and its allies will suspend all their military activities in Jammu and Kashmir if the Parliament passes a resolution saying that the state is a disputed territory. In a statement faxed to vernacular newspapers in Srinagar from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Salahuddin, who is also the chairman the United Jihad Council, an the alliance of 14 major right-wing insurgent groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, said that if the Indian government was serious in its peace initiative it should accept the offer. “The ball is now in India’s court,” he said, adding that after the Parliament passes the resolution declaring Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory, New Delhi must take required tangible steps towards achieving lasting peace in the state. The Hizb chief said that if this happens, he would ask the other mujahideen groups in the UJC to suspend their military activities as well to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire. Salahuddin was actually endorsing what firebrand Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had promised earlier. Mr Geelani, while addressing a rally in Kashmir’s northwestern town of Baramulla on Friday, said that if the Centre was serious in resolving the issue then the Parliament which is presently in session should adopt a resolution declaring Kashmir as a disputed territory and agreeing to its resolution after taking into account its “historical background.” However, reports from Islamabad said that the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba had warned Mr Geelani not to interfere in “militants’ affairs” by issuing such statements. Mr Geelani during an interview to The Asian Age said that he and other secessionist leaders would urge the militants to reciprocate if New Delhi accepted Kashmir as a disputed area. “We fully endorse what Geelani sahib has said and if India accepts the conditions laid down by him and takes the required follow up steps the Hizb and its allies would suspend their all military activities to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire on the ground as a prelude to resolving the dispute amicably,” Salahuddin said. Describing Mr Geelani’s offer as “rational and opportune,” the Hizb supreme commander said that “the ball is now in India’s court,” and that “the stage has come when its real intentions are at test.”


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