Shujaat advocates independence to held valley
17 June 2001
The News International
LAHORE: Former Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Sunday said (Pakistan's) conventional stance on Kashmir and United Nations" resolutions on the issue have not served any purpose, therefore, giving independence to the Indian-occupied valley should actively be considered and debated."The UN resolutions on Kashmir calling for a plebiscite in the valley have lost usefulness. They have, in fact, lost appeal and become a useless piece of paper," opined Shujaat, also a prominent leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam group).Talking to newsmen at a reception arranged by the party's senior vice-president for Punjab Humayun Akhtar Khan at his residence, he said Jammu and Laddakh should be handed over to India and valley should be given an independent status, while the Azad Kashmir should remain with Pakistan. He, however, clarified that those were his personal views and if his party adopted a different line after a debate, he would abide by the decision. "I will definitely put the suggestion to debate before the forthcoming central working committee meeting," he added.Party's central president Mian Muhammad Azhar, central vice-president Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, JUI's president Maulana Ajmal Qadri, Arshad Khan Lodhi, Kamil Ali Agha, Pir Binyamin Rizvi, Ch Akhtar Rasool, Mian Fazle Haq, Mian Muhammad Munir, Ashiq Dial, Khawaja Riaz Mahmood, Khawaja Tahir Zia and others were also present on the occasion. Shujaat opined that they should adjust themselves with the changing realities.About Kashmiri people's reaction to his formula, he said despite Kashmiri parties" different stance, people wanted freedom and they would agree to any acceptable formula for a meaningful solution to the problem. He said the country needed a fresh initiative on the issue as conventional point of view had failed to deliver. "We should change our priorities according to our needs. And Pakistan should do it for the collective good of all of us," he said.Shujaat said he was the first politician who advocated General Musharraf's meetings with the politicians for consultations on the Pakistan-India talks. Referring to his meeting with Col Moammar Qadaffi as Pakistan's interior minister during the second PML government, Shujaat said the Libyan leader was very straightforward in telling him that the UN resolutions on Kashmir dispute had lost their significance.Shujaat stressed upon an open debate on country's stance on the Kashmir issue adding, "We should change our strategy if required." Humayun Akhtar Khan said he had not declared his candidacy for the slot of chief Nazim of the city but could seriously consider the offer if the party asked him to do so after the polls. He said he was active in city's politics for the last decade or so despite resistance of his former party bosses."My constituency was changed every time I contested the elections. And in 1997, they sent me to Rahim Yar Khan, but I refused. I bounced back in Lahore after the October 1999 coup. I worked hard, approached people and workers and proved that the workers also response to anyone who approaches them sincerely." Humayun said he also contacted the city traders who later formed the Qaumi Tajir Ittehad.He said now the party has reached an understanding and struck an alliance with the Qaumi Tajir Ittehad at the local bodies level. He said that a person deeply involved in Lahore politics and having understanding of the people and culture of the city should be made Nazim of the city.He dispelled the impression that only a Kashmiri or Arain could become the Lahore Nazim on Bradari basis. "Electoral history of the city tells that it were the party leaders who shaped the elections, and all the people carry equal weight and respect." He said the party would concentrate on poor areas of the city and build roads, schools and other infrastructure after winning the elections.