June 2001 News

Pak govt can rein in Jehadis: Jamiat Chief

28 June 2001
The Hindustan Times
Mubashir Zaidi

Islamabad: MAULANA FAZLUR Rehman, chief of Pakistan's Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, says the jehadis fighting in Kashmir will hold their fire only if the Pakistan government, under whose influence they are, asks them to do so, and his call for a ceasefire by the ultras and the Indian Army was only a personal initiative taken with "national interest" in mind. After he met the President, General Pervez Musharraf, along with leaders of other political and religious parties on Wednesday, Rehman said the jehadi groups had been carried away by emotion in strongly opposing his call for a temporary ceasefire to facilitate a cordial atmosphere for the forthcoming India-Pakistan summit. "Any reasonable suggestion in this emotional atmosphere is always taken in the wrong context. I made an appeal to the jehadi groups because in my opinion any ceasefire by them can make the summit atmosphere very cordial and both India and Pakistan can take one step forward for resolution of the Kashmir dispute," he said. Reacting to Rehman's call, the Milli Yekjehti Council, an alliance of jehadi groups, vowed to step up its activities in Kashmir and criticised him for his ceasefire proposal. Peeved by this, the Maulana said since the government enjoyed more influence over the jehadi groups than him or any other religious leader, he could only appeal to them rather than convince them to hold their fire. 'since they are under government influence, they will only observe ceasefire when the government asks them," he said. The Maulana said he did not discuss his ceasefire proposal with Musharraf in the meeting. 'since we, the religious parties were represented by Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani, he discussed the consensus view of the religious parties that Kashmir dispute should be resolved in line with the United Nations resolutions," he said. Asked if he had tried to convince the other religious parties about his proposal, Rehman said it was his personal view and it was not necessary for the other parties to agree with him. But, he added, he had made the suggestion in national interest.


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