June 2001 News

Hizb to halt hostilities if India, Pak act realistic

3 June 2001
The Asian Age
Sumir Kaul

Srinagar: The Hizbul Mujahideen has said that it will halt all militant operations in Jammu and Kashmir if India and Pakistan adopt a “realistic approach” to solve the Kashmir issue. “Our activities will lessen in proportion to both countries giving up their rigid stand to solve the Kashmir problem in a realistic approach,” chief commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Abdul Majid Dar, told PTI in an exclusive interview after the group withdrew its ceasefire in August last year. By the same realistic yardstick, the 46-year-old Dar admits that a solution to the Kashmir problem cannot emerge in only one meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf. “We know there cannot be miracles overnight. Our judgement criteria will be the joint statement issued after the meeting between the two leaders. If we feel that both are agreeing to solve the problem and in principle agree that this is a dispute and want to solve it according to the wishes of the people, we will react accordingly,” said Mr Dar, who came into prominence in July last year when he suddenly announced unilateral ceasefire. Asked why the Hizbul Mujahideen had stepped up its activities even after the second initiative of the Prime Minister in inviting Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf for talks, Mr Dar said, “the initiative of Vajpayee was abrupt and we never knew he will take such a stand.” Referring to the recent visit of the Centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir, Mr K.C. Pant, the Hizbul chief said “it is also a confused move. Last year we announced a ceasefire. If the government would have announced that the Hurriyat Conference and Hizbul Mujahideen are invited for talks and then simultaneously engaged in a dialogue with Pakistan, a solution would have probably emerged by now.” “Even if the government had announced similar measures during the Ramzan ceasefire, it could have helped in confidence building in the state,” said Mr Dar. He said “such uncoordinated efforts are likely to bear no fruits.” Outlining the action plan of the Hizbul Mujahideen in the present scenario, Mr Dar said “we welcome the Vajpayee-Musharraf meeting. Though it is late but it is a positive step.” He said, “if both the countries move away from their beaten tracks, we will be most happy and we will cooperate.” Mr Dar made it clear that the Hizbul Mujahideen would not be a “hurdle” in any peace moves. “We will never create hurdles because we know our people are dying. Some fools alone will allow this blood-shed to continue.” “Now what remains to be seen is that whether the step has been taken only to score some diplomatic points or there is some seriousness,” Mr Dar said. When asked about the difference between the ceasefire initiated by the Hizbul Mujahideen and the government, the Hizbul Mujahideen chief said, “though our ceasefire worked for only 15 days, it was a real one. Though there were violations by security forces our boys did not violate it.” “When the government announced the ceasefire, there was some peace for first few days but the entire initiative was sabotaged due to internal rifts between the state and central agencies working in the state,” Mr Dar said. “The counter-insurgency unit of the state police never enforced the ceasefire. Custodial killings continued. If this was the ceasefire then what is war,” asked the Hizbul Mujahideen chief. He also alleged that the Centre lacked sincerity. “The Prime Minister, home minister and the then defence minister made contradictory statements. Though we were providing an opportunity for the government, they lacked sincerity,” he said. “We never asked for tripartite talks. We only wanted an assurance that Pakistan should be involved in talks,” Mr Dar said, adding “now they have done the same thing. If this had been done at that time, our initiative would not have failed at all.” Referring to Kashmiri Pandit migrants, the Hizbul chief said “we want that they should return. In fact all those who even fled to Pakistan. But who will guarantee their stay? Even some government agencies could attack them to tarnish the image of militants.” Asked about the reported rift between him and Pakistan- based commander-in-chief of Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Sallahuddin, Dar said “there are no problems. The decision to implement the ceasefire and subsequently withdraw it was taken after proper consultations between me and Syed Sallahuddin.” He blamed the media for projecting a fight between him and Sallahuddin and said “press persons have a habit of making a mountain out of molehill.” Asked about the role of the Hurriyat Conference, Dar said “Hurriyat conference is a political conglomerate but neither they can dictate anything to us nor do we. Whatsoever we feel doing we do it irrespective of whether Hurriyat likes it or not.” Admitting that there were some differences last year during the ceasefire announced by the Hizbul Mujahideen, Dar said “as long as they continue on right path, we will cooperate.” Asked whether not talking to Pant was a “right step” by the Hurriyat, the Hizbul chief said “I will not comment on this because they know it better.”


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