A political, not religious issue, says Jamat-e-Islami
11 March 2001
Srinagar: In a significant development, the Jamat-e-Islami, an important constituent of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, declared Kashmir as "a humanitarian and political issue" rather than a religious problem. A specially convened meeting of Jamat's highest decision making body, the Majlish-e-Shoura, in its day-long session on Saturday, reiterated that there could be no military solution to the Kashmir issue. The development, first of its kind after the Prime Minister's announcement of unilateral cease-fire, is being seen as a significant shift. The Majlish-e-Shoura meeting was chaired by Jamat Ameer (chief) Gulam Mohammad Bhat. All 24 members, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, were present in the meeting. "Kashmir is a human and political issue. Its continued non-resolution is directly or indirectly affecting both the majority and minority community," the statement released after the Shoura meeting said. "There is no possibility of a military solution to this political dispute. The vexed issue can be settled either by holding a tripartite dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris or giving the people here a right to self-determination," the statement added. Jamat's decision is quite contrary to the views of Syed Shah Geelani, former Hurriyat Conference chairman and Jamat's representative in the conglomerate. Geelani has been propagating that the issue is purely religious and could be solved only by waging a Jehad against India. He even openly supports the presence of foreign militants in the State. His statements have often been contested by various Hurriyat leaders, including chairman Ghani and executive member Abdul Ghani Lone. Even Jamat Ameer Gulam Mohammad Bhat did not support Geelani over the issue. The Shoura, in its meeting, appealed for restoration of peace in Kashmir: "Kashmiris are craving for peace as it is a must for propagation of religion and imparting moral values in the society." The statement further said that Jamat-e-Islami had welcomed the ceasefire when it was announced in the month of Ramzan. "However, after the announcement and its subsequent extensions, no concrete steps were taken". Describing the peace initiative as an illusion, the Jamat criticised the Union Government for "deliberately delaying the issuance of travel documents to Hurriyat leaders for their proposed visit to Pakistan". "Relations between India and Pakistan could be normalised only if Kashmir tangle is resolved. As long as the issue continues to remain hanging and unresolved, it will trigger a nuclear war in South Asia which will engulf the whole world," the statement cautioned. Despite the shift in the Jamat's stance, the Shoura decided to retain Syed Ali Geelani as representative in the Hurriyat Conference. Observers say, this is a typical Jamat double-speak. Another independent observer sough to link the issue to Mr Kofi Annan's current South Asia visit. Geelani under house arrest: Former Hurriyat Conference chairman and Jamat-e-Islami leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was on Sunday placed under house arrest. Meanwhile, two unidentified militants and an Army jawan were killed while another jawan injured in an encounter in Baramulla on Sunday afternoon. A group of militants fired on an Army patrol at Nadihal village around 1.30 pm, killing a soldier and wounding another. The troops immediately fired back and two militants were killed.